Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
I have walked by Kiin in Greenwich Village so many times and have always written it off as an extension of some NYU cafeteria. I say that in jest, of course, but I never did think it was a legitimate destination for authentic Thai food.
When I recently learned it was owned by the team behind East Village’s Somtum Der, I realized a potential hidden gem awaited. So we checked it out one night. There were many college-aged diners, but we weren’t the only ones over 21. It seems the word is out that there is some legitimate homecooked Thai food here.
The menu is huge and a bit daunting if you’re indecisive like me. We had to narrow it down and ended up with a very aromatic and deeply flavored Tom Kha Gai Soup with coconut milk and large chunks of lemongrass and galangal. We also really enjoyed the mild tender Gaeng Hung Lay pork curry, which was gingery with a touch of sweetness.
But the one dish that I knew was a must-have was Grandma’s Grilled Pork with Grilled Sticky Rice. The recipe is passed down from Chef Kornthanut Thongnum’s grandmother and we all get to see how lucky the chef was growing up.
The dish is served as three moist patties of grilled pork (somewhere between a pork meatball and a pork hamburger) with three patties of grilled sticky rice. The slightly sweet coconut rice had such a unique texture – it almost reminded me of a Jewish potato pancake. Together, dipped into the accompanying sauce, the bright sweet/sour/spicy flavors came alive.
I’ve learned this lesson time and again, never judge a restaurant by its marquee or surroundings. I’ve learned that some of the best food can be found in the unlikeliest of places. And that NYU students have the best dining halls!!
|KIIN THAI EATERY|
|36 East 8th Street (between Greene Street and University Place),