Community has always been a huge part of building the Clare V. brand and we love working with our friends and neighbors. The corner of Sunset and Micheltorena in Silverlake where we opened our first store 3 years ago has seen a crop of new stores and restaurants recently, and one of our absolute favorites is Night + Market Song, a Thai street food destination from chef Kris Yenbamroong. The spot is as colorful as it is delicious, and we were thrilled when they approached us to create a Hey-Ha t-shirt with them. xcv
Over incredible pad thai and crispy rice salad, I got to talk to chef Kris - and his lovely girlfriend and restaurant manager, Sarah St. Lifer - about that food, the concept and what Hey-ha'
really means! Q: What was the idea behind starting Night + Market? A: Kris: I wanted to open a place that served real-deal Thai food and poured really interesting wines, but where height one of those things was the focus. IT was more about creating a social space - a spot where you run into your friends...the ideal neighborhood restaurant.
Q: What do people not know about your restaurant or do you want them to know? A: Sarah: We have wines that wouldn't be out of place at the best wine bar in town, but we're the ones pouring it. We have a deep love for pet-nats (petillant naturel), which are fizzy party wines that undergo a single fermentation reliant on natural yeasts. My favorite pairing is the friend chicken sandwich with a bottle of Noelle Morantin's pet-nat chardonnay.
Q: What's your favorite part about Silverlake where Night + Market Song is? A: Kris: I love that people who live in this neighborhood love to support local businesses.
Q: What's your signature dish(es) at the restaurant? A: Sarah: Our Nam Khao Tod - the crispy rice salad - is very popular. Each bite is a little different than the last. It is made with soured pork, raw ginger, red onions, cilantro and peanuts. Tons of flavor!
Q: What's your favorite dish(es) at the restaurant? A: Kris: The papaya salad is my favorite dish because it can be made so many different ways. Our version at the restaurant is simple and spicy - my personal preference.
Q: What does Hey-ha' mean? A: Sarah: Hey-ha' is a Thai onomatopoeia that mimics the sound of partying. Basically, it is the sound of having fun!
Q: What's the significance of it in relation to the restaurant? A: Sarah: Our Hey-ha' chicken wing dish is a great starter to the meal. We use chicken wings brined in fish sauce, then they are fried and coated in a sweet and salty sauce made from palm sugar. With just the smallest hint of heat, everyone can enjoy them!
And Kris and Sarah were kind enough to share their favorite Papaya Salad recipe.
Som Tum - Thai Papaya Salad
2 cups shredded green papaya
1/2 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 3” segments
1 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
3 thai chiles
2 small garlic cloves
Equipment: a clay mortar and wooden pestle. This is really the best way to achieve the flavors you are going for. There’s something about bruising the ingredients in the mortar that can’t really be replicated without it. But if you can’t get your hands on one, I’ve included an alternative recipe using a food processor.
Pound the garlic with a mortar & pestle. Don’t get it too fine. You just want to break it up and bruise it a little.
Add the chiles and pound. The more you pound them, the spicier the salad will be. If you don’t want it too spicy, cut down or omit the chiles, or just bruise them less.
Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Work it around with the pestle and a big spoon so that all three ingredients become one.
Add the long beans and peanuts and bruise them with the pestle.
Add the shredded papaya. Alternately bruise and toss the papaya with the pestle and spoon.
Slice in some tomato wedges. Mix and serve.
*if you do not have a clay mortar and wooden pestle, make the dressing by pulsing the chile and garlic in a food processor (separately). Set both aside and add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and blend those together. Then add the chile and garlic to the dressing. Toss with the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.