We grabbed lunch at the newly opened Nyum Bai in Fruitvale Village, across the street from the Fruitvale Bart. Their new space is smallish inside- about 20 seats total across a few tables and counters. There is an outdoor seating area outside the front door that sits another ~20.
Chicken curry with kroeung paste, coconut milk. The curry was deeply aromatic from presumably the galangal, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric inside the kroeung paste. It was mildly hot. The sweet potatoes and the rice did a good job mopping up the curry. I liked this dish a lot. One minor quibble was that the chicken was a little on the dry side.
Kuy teav phnom penh:
Nyum Bai’s version did not lean heavily on salt to enhance the flavor of the broth, which was welcoming. Base was pork, and a few dashes of the hot chili oil on the table (or upon request), along with the fried garlic gave the rich broth the heat and the aroma. Came with chunks of minced pork, shrimps, bean sprouts and parsley.
Plenty of fragrance from the basil, mint and lime dressing, and textural crunch provided by the red bell pepper and cucumbers. A few pieces of thai chilis supplied a welcoming heat. The purple cabbage supplied the rest. All the herbs and vegetables were super fresh.
Ginger fried chicken:
Fried chicken with a salty sauce that had a moderate ginger flavor, which should go well with the beers once they became available. Perhaps the kitchen can even dial the ginger taste up a notch to further differentiate against saucy fried chicken from other countries.
3 of the dishes on the menu- lort cha, bok la-hong, nom pang + soup combo were out that day.
All the dishes were done carefully and seemingly from scratch. The wings were intentionally boldly-seasoned, and the flavors of the rest of the dishes were restrained and balanced. The new kitchen allows the menu to expand to include a larger range of dishes, even if not all of them were available that day. I’d love to try out more of them, especially those that are only offered during dinner.
The area around Fruitvale is getting more interesting food-wise in the past 12 months- fellow La Cocina grad Reem’s, Temple Club, and now Nyum Bai.
Interesting bathroom wallpaper that marries Khmer and Oakland: