One of the Best New Restaurants in America Is Chef Nite Yun’s Nyum Bai — Cooking in America

One of the Best New Restaurants in America Is Chef Nite Yun’s Nyum Bai — Cooking in America

– So when I heard that
we were going to Oakland, there was one spot that I wanted to go, and this is the spot. We’ll be meeting Chef Nite Yun, who is taking us back to the
golden years of Cambodia, cooking the food that she grew up eating and sharing it with all of Oakland. – So today, we’re gonna
make kuy teav Phnom Penh, which is like a noodle soup dish, a pork belly dish called prahok ktiss. – You saying pork belly is
straight to my heart already. (acoustic guitar) – So people like to ask if
Cambodian food is similar to Thai or Vietnamese. There’s an overlap in ingredients, but the overall flavors and
dishes are quite different. We eat a lot of paste to go
with the fresh ingredients, and there’s always a
contrast in the texture with funkiness and raw veggies. But then it varies too, because
you have the countryside where they do a lot of stews
and if you go to the city, you’ll find soups like this. But most of the dishes here are food that I grew up eating. Nyum Bai translates to “eat rice”, but it’s also a phrase
that my mom would say, forcing them to go eat,
like “Come here! Nyum bai!” – Yeah, yeah. (Nite laughs) – That’s her way of making
people feel comfortable is through food, so it’s like, just come eat. We’re gonna make my favorite dish ever. It’s a classic Cambodian
dish called prahok ktiss, and it’s essential that we use pork belly because you want the
fat to be cooked down, and it creates this, I don’t
know, really delicious– – Magical. – Yeah. So here’s the prahok ktiss. It has a very funky smell. – So it’s a fermented fish paste? – It’s fermented fish paste. We use this in a lot of
Cambodian cooking, the prahok. And then, kroeung, what you see here. It’s a lemongrass paste. It’s two of the most important
ingredients in cooking Cambodian food. We want to add the lemongrass,
red chile, fish paste. – [Sheldon] Oh, it’s so fragrant. – Yeah, this is the winning combination. (brass instruments with beat) I grew up in the kitchen with my mom. We lived in a one bedroom apartment, so I was always in the kitchen, not necessarily wanting
to learn how to cook, but because I really didn’t
have anywhere else to go. (both laugh) Pork belly. This is tamarind powder. Gonna add some tamarind powder. Sugar. Yup, and then you add the coconut milk, some bird eye chiles. You like spicy food? – Yeah. – Okay, so I’m gonna add two more. When you cook in Cambodia, you have to go the store every morning because most homes, like
my cousins and grandma, they didn’t have refrigerators. So every morning, we would
wake up before six o’clock, go to the market. If we were to cook chicken in Cambodia, we would kill it that same
day so it’s very fresh. Some cucumbers, carrots, cabbage wedge. Here you have it, prahok ktiss. – Prahok ktiss. What did mom think when you
said you’re gonna open up a Cambodian restaurant? – She didn’t understand
what a pop-up was either, and so I tried to explain
to her what it was. “Well, mom, you had people come over, “and sold food from our house, “so essentially, it’s
kinda the same thing.” – Yeah, yeah. Wait, wait, sell food from the house? – Yeah, so my mom would
actually turn our house into a gambling house, like a saloon, so she can collect tips. She would call people that
she knows that would make food from the house to come sell food. There’s the fried chicken lady, and then there’s this
lady, the papaya lady, where she could basically
converted her van and turned it into a papaya salad station. – I’d choose papaya salad
over ice cream any day. – Oh my gosh, so good. So what we’re making is
called kuy teav phnom penh. Kuy teav means noodle,
and then Phnom Penh is the capital in Cambodia. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, so if you were to be in the capital, you’ll see it in all corners. So just sit down, order one bowl, they’ll give you a bowl for 25 cents, and it’s the best meal ever. – There must be a ton of
different noodle dishes in Cambodia. Why did you choose this one? – It’s a dish that my mom would
make for me and my friends, and this is also the
dish that inspired me to start Nyum Bai, just
because people know so much about ramen, and Vietnamese pho, but no one really knows anything about the Cambodian soup kuy teav Phnom Penh. Especially here in the Bay Area, there’s so many different
types of cuisine, but yet Cambodian food
is underrepresented. So the broth usually takes
about six hours to make, just because you need to
extract all the flavors from the bones and all
the other ingredients. So I prefer to use pork neck bones, but sometimes at the butcher
they don’t have that available. So it looks like this batch is the feet? The leg? Yeah, the knuckles? You do wanna char the onion
’til it’s completely black and sticky like this. Drop it in the broth, daikon. And this is pickled radish. And then this is dried calamari. – Okay, nice. Dried squid. – Yup, dried squid. We put fish sauce, sugar, and some salt. (Cambodian rock and roll) – A lot of people don’t really
know the history of Cambodia or they have only certain
things that they associate Cambodia with. – If people know anything about Cambodia, it’s the genocide or the Angkor Wat, but Cambodia has such a beautiful history. During the ’50s and ’60s was
a prosperous time in Cambodia, where the music was happening,
artists were everywhere. This was also the time
where my parents grew up. That time was taken away
from them because of the war, and so in essence, this
is like a time capsule of the golden era. So it’s an homage to their youth. – This is a dish that kind of encompasses what Nyum Bai is. – Basically, yeah. – First taste. That’s amazing. That has all the best
things of what a bowl of soup and noodles you want. Perfect salty to sweet, even with all of those
different flavors that’s coming it’s just so warming. How can you not want to
share this with everybody? (both laugh) Tell me about the area that you visited when you were up there. – So I stayed in the countryside. It was a village where
everyone knows each other. You would have to bathe outside because there’s no actual bathroom. And then you start your
day by going to the market. My first visit to Cambodia,
I stayed with my grandmother in Battambang. That’s the countryside of Cambodia. She’s one badass lady. She was definitely ahead of her time, making trades, loaning people
money, collecting interest. Everyone was scared of her. When I would go to the market, and they would say, “Be careful,” or “Give her the best
price, or her grandma “will come out and get you.” I knew that my mom had a
really strict upbringing, but I didn’t know how strict. I remember this one occasion, probably two o’clock in the afternoon, she literally locked up all the gates, closed the windows, shut the blinds, and locked me in a room
so I couldn’t go anywhere. That’s how strict she was. – Get that hustle from grandma. (upbeat jazz) – So this right here is a good example of a classic Cambodian dish. Take a bite of your chile. – Oh! – Oh my gosh! (Sheldon coughs) (Nite laughs) – You talk about that funk
but it’s carried on by the fattiness of the
pork and the coconut milk kinda brings everything together. – Right, uh-huh. – Do you feel some type of responsibility about Cambodian cuisine? – I feel like I do, because there’s not a lot
of Cambodian restaurants or a lot of Cambodian chefs. But slowly, like we have first generation, second generation Cambodians,
that are reconnecting with their roots again through food. – ‘Cause in the ’50s and ’60s,
Cambodia was popppin’ right? – Yeah, oh my gosh. It was a cool time. If I could go back in time, I would live during that era. – Right, and just because of
that history that followed, a lot of your parents’
generation don’t talk about those golden years? – It’s forgotten, because
it’s just taken over by something so traumatic. My parents would always
repress their stories about the genocide. My mom’s eyes would already
get watery every time I bring up the subject. And so a better way for
the younger generations to understand their history, or to reconnect with their roots, I feel like they need a
safe place to express that. Let’s say they bring their parents in, and they can bring up
the topic over a meal. “Mom, did you eat this
when you were young?” Hoping that the conversation
of healing or reconnecting would happen organically just over food, because once we eat certain flavors, it strikes a certain memory, right? So it’s a segue to start healing. – You put your soul into this. How do you say cheers? – Chôl muŏy! – Chôl muŏy! – Chôl muŏy! (Nite laughs) – Rock and roll, let’s go right now. (Cambodian rock and roll) Oh, okay. (noodle flops) (Sheldon laughs) Okay, maybe a couple more years.

100 thoughts on “One of the Best New Restaurants in America Is Chef Nite Yun’s Nyum Bai — Cooking in America”

  1. I love my food of Cambodian I always support you 🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭🇰🇭

  2. There’s this Cambodian mom and pop restaurant in SD that I’ve been going for like 10 years. It’s one of my favorite food. The owners work every day. They’re literally the hardest working people I know. I hope her kids learn the ways or I’ll be left without my Cambodian food because they’re getting old.

  3. 2ndgeneration here. I was raised eating Cambodian food but unfortunately can’t speak it so I feel “less” Cambodian…so happy to see someone passionate about sharing the culture to everyone and showing us the food. So sad how people know lots about Vietnam orThailand and little did they know a gem is right in between them. But it goes the same for countries like Myanmar, Burma, Nepal etc.

  4. Fellow Cambodian from San Diego CA, really good at representing Khmer culture. The tragedy with the genocide will not hold Cambodian people down. We as KHMER will prosper and on the way to getting the recognition we deserve. Thanks for the video. We need a Part 2.

  5. Thx for spreading this khmer dish as many people have known for Thailand and vietnam dishes but they all thought cambodia is the same as one….
    Thx q
    And i always eat kouy teav every morning,it taste great

  6. Great video! Thanks for creating a video that shows Cambodian traditional food and history for the younger generations and Non-Cambodians. Good job for not choosing the Cambodian oldies by the golden voice Ros Sereysothea that aren't remixed already lol.

    Songs by Ros Sereysothea in the video.
    1st song – Yuvachon Vey Snae (
    2nd song – Nuek Nas Nuek Nas (

  7. Thanks sis you did great to represent Cambodia and Cambodian's food to the world as people always knows Cambodia through the story about Genocide or Angkor Wat as you said, but our Cambodian food are amazing people should try. I'm happy to see you share all of these to the world 🙂 #khmerpride

  8. I really like this especially in the end with old classic music playing in the background it kinds of like or should I say feels like you're there. Very nice.

  9. The meals look amazing and the khmer lady is so attractive and interactive! Yes, rhythm intended :p sadly there’s no cambodian restaurant since i live in a small city but i’d gladly consider one when i’m going out!

  10. ឡូយមែន! ម្ហូបខ្មែរយើងមានទៅអន់ឯណា ឆ្ងាញ់ៗចឹង great job sister for bringing Cambodia to the world. 😍😍😍😘😘😘😘cool

  11. i gota stop by there when i come to the town !!!! this is good .. cause everywhere i go , the only options is pho lol pho here , pho there , pho everywhere !!! i be loving them intestines too !! Goat or cow intestines , that stuff is fire .. it sound bad , but wait till you take a bite !! Wish you lots of success !!

  12. Kuy Teaw Phnom Penh is essentially Hu Tieu Nam Vang. Kuy Teaw is chinese word for noodle but I dont know which dialect. Laos-Thai-Cambodia and all SE Asia use the word Kuy Teaw. We all know there are many Chinese in Cambodia since Ancient time. Huge migration of Viets in Cambodia after Vietcong rescue them from Khmer Rouge.

  13. you need them two khmer words{ngyam bai} on top of the english words so khmer people will recognize it.
    try it might help get you more customers.

  14. I’m Cambodian and I can tell you that there is nowhere in the city where you can get kuy teav for 0.25 USD. The starting price is 2 USD. Aside from that she represent Cambodian food pretty well. And her grandma sounds like mom.

  15. awesome video!! pls make more….. I need to visit this place when i go to california next time. I went to sophie restaurant in Long Beach really good experience. I grew up cooking khmer food since I was five, I can relate to her story.

  16. Too bad Cambodia went through a really dark period where culture and culinary knowledge was lost . I went there in May, it's time for it to raise up again and bring forward your hidden culture.

  17. Wow I wanna try but sth with the spelling, correct me if I’m wrong but I think “ញាំបាយ” is spelled Nham Bai. It sounds more correct to my ears, whereas Nyum sounds like និយម meaning popular.

  18. That cambo noodle is by far one of my favorite the broth is so bomb. Matter if fact theres a viet restaurant that's popular for it in oakland called Anh Hong. They serve it with the broth in another bowl though

  19. I'm Cambodian and your right, Cambodian food is definently underrated! Cambodian food is one of s kind😋 way to represent! 💕

  20. A beautiful representation of Cambodian cuisine and Nite is captivating and well spoken. Sheldon was a gracious and cheerful host! Such a wonderfully made video! Thank you for sharing!

  21. Based on website I visited Yelp, Zamato, TripVisor and TheFork, this is the
    Best rating Cambodian Restaurant in USA
    # 1:
    Nyum Bai

    # 2:
    Phnom Penh Shack Noodles

    # 3:
    Monorom Restaurant

    Im French Cambodian living in Paris so best Khmer restaurant here is:
    # 1:

    # 2:
    La Mousson

    # 3:
    La Mousson (different area)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *