Location: West Hollywood, CA
Why He's Amazing: Because he created a terrific, innovative pork-centric Thai street food spot adjacent to his parents' well-respected but aging Thai restaurant on Sunset Boulevard.
Culinary School: Self-taught
Background: Talésai (/sites/default/files/est Hollywood)
Quintessential Dish: Pork toro: grilled fatty hog collar with jaew northeastern chile dip
Night + Market's Philosophy: "I love my family's restaurant [Talésai] but people come in and do the stereotypical L.A. thing and ask for modifications [to the dishes they order]. Night + Market food is uncompromising, unmessed with."
Food 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."
Alternative Career: Yenbamroong studied film at New York University.
DIY Ethic: "We make our sausage completely by hand, on the premises. For the first few months, we used a Chinese soup spoon to stuff them because we didn't have a stuffer."
The year Kris Yenbamroong was born, his family opened L.A.'s first ambitious Thai restaurant, Talésai. His grandmother Vilai was the chef. "It was the '80s, and we were 10 doors down from Geffen Records," says Yenbamroong. "The waitresses wore black leather skirts, and Madonna came in with Warren Beatty. Mick Jagger came in, too. My grandma was on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Magazine with Thomas Keller."
Fast-forward three decades: Yenbamroong tried updating Talésai by serving unfamiliar Northern Thai dishes, but longtime customers resisted the change. So he decided to open Night + Market, where he could experiment. At his second spot, Night + Market Song, his powerful, spicy dishes include Bangkok Mall Pasta with Thai bird chile and lots of peppercorns.