When Napang Kongsitthanakorn and her family set out to open their midtown restaurant late last year, they were determined to offer Sacramentans something more adventurous than the typical pad Thai and chicken satay that diners are accustomed to. “There is so much more to Thai food,” says Kongsitthanakorn, who operates Kin Thai Street Eatery with sisters Napak and Napis.
The restaurant is a tribute to the casual dining establishments for which Thailand is famous. “Street food is something that everyone can connect to. It’s an integral part of Thai culture,” explains Kongsitthanakorn. “When you go on the street, you don’t need to be formal, but the food is still as good as when you go to a fine-dining restaurant.”
The menu at Kin features several dishes and ingredients rarely seen in these parts. The green curry, for example, is made with pea eggplants, which resemble clusters of grapes when harvested. “It’s hard to find,” says Kongsitthanakorn. “We actually grow it in our backyard. We really wanted to use that ingredient so you can experience the real green curry you would have if you want to Thailand.”
Another dish, crab omelet, emulates the one popularized by chef Jay Fai at her eponymous Michelin-starred Bangkok eatery. “In Thailand, we love to eat eggs. We eat them any time of day, for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” says Kongsitthanakorn. “This is just like what you would see in Thailand.”
The chive cakes, served here as an appetizer, are a popular snack peddled by Thai street vendors. “Thailand is known for having snacks all day long,” according to Kongsitthanakorn. “We steam the cakes first, then pan fry them to get that crispiness on the outside but keep it gooey and soft on the inside.”
It’s a family affair at Kin—the three sisters are aided by their parents in the kitchen—but the restaurant’s name refers not to family; kin means to eat or consume in Thai. “It’s more of an informal term,” says Kongsitthanakorn, “which is how we wanted our restaurant to feel. We wanted to bring that togetherness of eating street food and having a conversation with the people next to you, to enjoy the community.”
1050 20th St.;