Nari - Kin Khao Sister in Japantown, SF

Nari joins Pim’s Kin Khao as arguably the best Thai restaurants this side of Bangkok. Nari is bolder with more funk and heat than at Kin Khao.

Among snacks was particularly happy with “stone fruit mac hor” which used a seasonal nectarine last night. Also the “gang gradang bites”(Thai headcheese fried in a boudin ball like thing) was a big surprise.

Among mains the “kapi plah”, not for amateurs, is very funky, quite spicy and wonderful, my fave of the evening. Believe this is also known as a nam prik kapi. Served with fresh veggies of all kinds necessary to balance the strong paste. This was better than the best I have had in BKK.

Other main was a whole cornish game hen in a beautiful “rawaeng” curry served with roti (an import from Malaysia I guess which I had not previously associated with Thai).

Pricey, of course, but worth every penny. Nice bright room and excellent service. Fun cocktails, my favorite was “rojana”.

See menu for details.

kapi plah

Cornish Game Hen


Thanks for the report.

Pricey indeed. Are the mains meant for one person or for sharing? How’s the portion size?

Do you know who’s cooking in the kitchen?

Cornish game hen could serve 3 easily. Same with kapi plah but that is not that much to eat. So mains are certainly intended for sharing. Snacks have 4 bites. Pim offered to give us 2 snacks with 2 bites each. She comped the amazing stone fruit mah hor 2 bites for another taste.
The starters were also meant for sharing. We tried the yum chrysanthemums greens.

With all that we 2 couldn’t think of dessert and had a third of Cornish game hen left to take home for lunch.

Don’t know who is chef in kitchen, but Pim is very much present these early days and I believe she designed the dishes.

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I had an early walk-in dinner at Nari.

Started dinner with a cocktail, the

bai toey ($15)
coconut rum, yellow chartreuse, pandan overproof rum, lime cordial
Which had a single large ice cube and tasted a bit like a Southeast Asian gimlet with the coconut and pandan. “Bai toey” is Thai for “pandan” (thanks Google).

And then a few dishes off of the “first course” section.

gaeng gradang tod ($16)
pork croquettes seasoned with northern curry paste, served with ajad pickles & chrytanthemum greens
Nice crispy porky bites. The interior of the croquettes was a tender pork curry filling, nicely spiced and with a little heat. It came with some vinegary pickled daikon, cucumber and carrot and some herbal tasting chrysanthemum leaves.

squid & pork jowl ($25)
grilled Monterey squid in chili-lime dressing with sweet & succulent pork jowl, topped with peanuts & cilantro. served with sticky rice
This was great! Zingy salty sour sauce. The pork was meltingly tender and fatty with a deeply caramelized sweet exterior. The squid was cooked well too but the pork bites were the star of this dish for me. It came with some sticky rice that I used to make porky rice balls.

saeng wah ($26)
lightly poached prawns in tamarind, lemongrass, & chili over crispy catfish cereal
Shrimp poached just a touch over raw, with a strong bold zingy tamarind sauce. This was served over crunchy deep fried catfish “cereal” that tasted like crushed catfish flavored chicharrones. Quite nice.

For dessert I had the interestingly named

dreaming of lod chong ($14)
pandan parfait, salted coconut cream, scented salt, ice
I looked up lod chong and found that it is the Thai name for cendol, a dessert that has coconut milk, rice flour noodles, and palm sugar. This was a delicious dessert. Both savory and sweet, and refreshing with the crushed ice diluting the strong flavors a bit. The cube of pandan parfait had the consistency of a thick ice cream with the aromatic vanilla like flavor of pandan.

A very enjoyable meal. Everything was quite good with strong flavors. For me the highlights were the squid and pork jowl and the “dreaming of lod chong” dessert.


OK, I’m feeling way too lazy to go through each course. We had the Chef’s Choice menu $125pp. It was a lot of food. Overall excellent meal, the flavors are bold and intense and I love the space. The only criticism I have is that they might have had some lighter veggie courses to break up the intensity. Our server said it was protein heavy and she wasn’t kidding. We had pork (several ways), duck, beef (tartare), shrimp, fish, squid, chicken and I’m sure some other animals I’m forgetting.
[Also, I wonder if it makes sense to combine the two Nari threads @hungryonion ?]



Just saw I had pictures from two meals that I forgot to post. One were from before covid and one during covid. Too late to remember much of any details now.

The cornish hen was very good, especially with the roti soaking up the curry.

Meal #2:

To me, the best thing was the Makmaad Relish, so delicious on everything.