When Kiin Thai Eatery invited me to come in and sample their menu, I knew Cia had to come along. We met shortly after I moved into my apartment building when she arrived at the annual holiday party with her own bottle of Bombay Sapphire. We've been going on food adventures ever since, and nothing--including my cravings for Asian food—has ever been the same.
With a focus on Northern Thai cuisine, Kiin Thai prepares dishes in which aromatics are the forefront flavors: lemongrass, Thai chilies, kaffir lime and galangal--a root similar to ginger--to name a few; we're talking dishes that are brave in seasonings and spices.
One of the most audacious dishes of the evening: the Spicy Larb Kua Moo. I'm no stranger to larb, a minced pork salad made with a variety of Thai spices, but Kiin's larb took things to the next level. Their larb boasted of offal: fried pork entrails, liver and chopped pig's ear. It is not for the faint at heart, but a big win for the adventurous eater seeking an explosion of taste. Layered with spices that kept a consistent heat on the palate, this dish was the perfect thing to knock a few cold Singhas back with.
The next dish we enjoyed was the crab Nham Prik, a small bowl of concentrated flavor dip that is served with soft-boiled egg, raw vegetables and pork rinds. The crab meat, immersed in a coconut-forward broth was a nice, light alternative to an otherwise dense meal.
What makes a Thai sausage? Lots of fresh herbs and spices! Intensely herbaceous, the Sai Oua dish was by far my favorite of the evening. Paired with fresh lettuce leaves for wrapping, this homemade sausage is drinking food at its best.
We finished our meal with what owner Supanee Kitmahawong credits as the reason why she opened Kiin Thai. Perturbed that she couldn't find the authentic flavors in her beloved Tom Yum Goong soup in NYC Thai restaurants, Supanee and her chef combine mushrooms, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, homemade chili paste, shallots, condensed milk, dried chilies and cilantro, to create the soup reminiscent of the flavors she enjoyed during her visits to Thailand. The two beautiful river prawns add a light flavor and make for a great visual. Hot and sour flavor combinations are one of my favorite, and this dish definitely fulfilled that craving. My only wish is for the soup to be served in a smaller-sized portion so that I may order more food with it.
Thank you Kiin Thai for hosting us and for the wonderful tasting of some of your best dishes.
Kiin Thai Eatery
36 E. 8th Street, New York, NY 10003