Yum Yum Bangkok
One of the Original
Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue has become a showcase, (nee catwalk) for Thai cuisine. One of the originals to introduce Hell’s Kitchen to Thai flavors is Yum Yum Bangkok (YYB), which had its humble beginnings as a neighborhood Thai takeout. Having outgrown its original space, the Yum Yum brand has expanded into the adjoining building and now across city blocks. Even with its steady growth and boutique restaurants, YYB has returned to its roots – well-known, national dishes traditional to central Thai cuisine with a Yum Yum twist.
While we wait for our specially chosen dishes to arrive, we sip on some of YYB’s signature cocktails. Our first appetizer is the Yum Squid, a ceviche-style salad full of bright colors and crisp, refreshing flavors. In Thai, “yum” is the word for this traditionally spicy salad. The delicate squid rings, cooked to perfection, are seasoned with sweet mint, sour lime, and spicy chilies bringing the dish an exclusively Thai taste. If squid isn’t your speed, you can get the salad with shrimp, chicken, beef, or even duck. There is something for everyone. A perfect tantalizer to awaken taste buds on a hot, New York summer’s day!
The appetizer platter arrives with an amazing variety of nibbles and sauces in which to dip them. The steamed dumplings are akin to the Chinese dim sum staple shumai, but YYB’s version combines ground chicken, shrimp, water chestnuts, and Thai herbs unlike its Chinese cousin. The Thai crepes, which do not appear anywhere else on the menu, are chewy, glutinous rice crepes filled with chopped peanuts and preserved radish, a typical ingredient in Hokkien and Taiwanese cuisine. The Thai spring rolls filled with shredded vegetables and noodles are crispy and flavorful, nicely enhanced by the accompanying sweet chili dipping sauce. The warm, flaky pastry surrounding the mildly curried, minced chicken, onion, and potato filling gives the curry puff all of the aspects of Thai comfort food. To bring a bit of street food flavor to the platter, the lightly curried chicken satay is tenderly grilled and served with the traditional Thai peanut sauce.
The entrees appear all at once: Seafood Pad Cha, Red Snapper Chili, and Dare Devil Bass. What an absolutely dreamy seafood feast! The Seafood Pad Cha is visually delightful, incorporating the flavors of the pervasive Thai basil, shallots, bell peppers, lemongrass, and a relatively underutilized young, green peppercorn still on the stem; all of these flavors complement the sweet mélange of seafood that includes scallops, squid, prawns, and mussels. YYB’s crowd favorite and the most ordered signature dish is the Red Snapper Chili, a gracefully carved whole red snapper (head and tail still on) lightly battered and perfectly fried, dressed in YYB’s famous chili-tamarind-lemongrass sauce. However, the spotlight dish for the evening is not on the restaurant’s regular menu. The Dare Devil Bass really highlights all of the best features of Thai cuisine, focusing on bright, bold flavors, the freshest ingredients, and a multitude of textures to enhance the dining experience.
To really be able to enjoy everything YYB has to offer, bring friends… lots of them…so that you can try all of the amazing dishes YYB has to offer.