"Our food is VERY SPICY," reads a warning at the top of Food & Wine Best New Chef Kris Yenbamroong's menu. Yenbamroong, who grew up in the traditional-style Thai restuarant his parents owned in LA, now brings his own bold, street-style versions of authentic Thai dishes to the city with his own restuarants, Night + Market and Night + Market Song. The warning is real: Some of the dishes are potent, topped with traditional Thai condiments like jaew, a northeastern Thai chile dip, or even something called "water bug relish." If you can't get to LA to try Yenbamroong's food for yourself, stock your pantry with his six must-have Thai condiments and use them to amp up your food—extreme heat optional.
Nam Jim Seafood
"This translates to 'dip for seafood' but is really useful for dipping just about anything. You make it by pounding garlic, bird's eye chili and salt in a mortar (use a food processor if you don't have a mortar and pestle), melting some coconut sugar into fish sauce and combining those with some fresh-squeezed lime juice. Taste and adjust. It should be sweet and sour, zesty and hot."
"I'm not a stickler when it comes to this awesome sauce. I'll gladly use either the original Thai-made one or the Huy Fong rooster sauce that's made in the USA. This is what you should be serving alongside your Thai omelette over steamed rice."