I ventured to Fruitvale, an enclave of Oakland, a few weeks ago to visit Nyum Bai. It's a festively petite restaurant founded by the Cambodian-American chef/owner, Nite Yun, who cooks some of the Bay Area’s best Cambodian food.
I was pleased to score an outdoor table in the shade after a 30 minute wait and perused the menu; of course I wanted to order one of each item, but had to be reasonable. I enjoyed:
Naim Chien Chrouk
Crispy rolls filled with taro, cabbage, glass noodles, pork, garlic and onions
Ngoum Banana Salad
Banana blossom with cabbage, mint, sweet basil, bell peppers, peanuts and cucumbers in sweet lime dressing
Chien Trey + Ngoum Mango
Crispy catfish, topped with tangy and tart green mango salad, shallots and red pepper (my fave!)
Mildly spiced chicken curry with aromatic kroeung paste, coconut milk and potatoes
People probably thought I was a tad creepy, peering intently at their dishes while I ate. There were so many great options I wanted to try, so I need to head back over there soon, if I can get a table! NY Times and Bon Appétit Magazine have been shining a well deserved spotlight on the restaurant and Nite's unique story, so we'll all have to get in line...