Kris Yenbamroong of L.A.’s Night + Market Song is a 2016 F&W Best New Chef
Where: Night + Market Song
3322 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-665-5899; nightmarketsong.com
Born: Los Angeles, 1982
Why Yenbamroong is amazing: He’s turned his bold version of Thai street food—in particular the potent Northern Thai dishes of his family’s homeland, many not seen in the US before—into one of the coolest, most vibrant cuisines in Los Angeles.
Education: NYU film school
Rèsumè: Talésai, his parent’s landmark, classic Thai restaurant in L.A. "I grew up in the restaurant and absorbed things. I picked up the vocabulary of Thai cooking. That food was "royal palace" cooking: more traditional and stereotypical Thai restaurant cooking. When I began cooking and made changes to the menu, I lost a ton of customers. So I said, ‘Let’s go back to the way it was.’ And that’s really when Night + Market happened, so I could do my own thing."
Quintessential dish: Grilled fatty pig neck ("It’s salty like bacon") with jaew, a northeastern Thai chile dip
First restaurant: Night + Market (in an annex of his parents’ restaurant), a spare, uncompromising, pork-centric place.
Cooking style: "In Thai, it's called aharn glam lao, which roughly translates to 'food to facilitate drinking' or 'booze food.' That's at the heart of what we do. We make food for drunkards." How Yenbamroong describes Night + Market Song: "It's where you have food, beers and hang out. Like TGI Fridays, but with water bug relish," a reference to a northern Thai dip that he has had on the menu at the restaurant.
- The bright-colored walls at Night + Market Song are decorated with Thai album covers and a topless poster of Cindy Crawford.
- Yenbamroong designs some NMS T-shirts, including the tattoo-style "For True Larb, I Will Sacrifice." Indie designer Clare Vivier created another of the restaurant’s shirts.
Follow @ntmrkt on Instagram.