The Place: Kin Asian Street Food, in a nondescript strip mall in Naranj Plaza in Pompano Beach, is a small tranquil space with black walls, one with a lit up red sign saying EAT. There’s a wood board with signed Polaroid photos of customers, a bench in the window with cushions where diners can wait if all nine tables are occupied and a crepe station behind glass panels. There’s a mini disco ball, a small chandelier and Edison bulbs in cages hung from the ceiling and subdued lighting and soothing music and shelves bearing bottles of sake.
The History: Owner Polly Weerawatgumpa, of Bangkok, went to San Francisco to study graphic design and also started working as a server at a Thai restaurant. She moved to the kitchen, developing a passion for cooking. After she graduated she moved to Chicago and opened Kin Sushi & Thai in the Wicker Park area. She visited a friend in South Florida, loved the warm weather and moved here. She had Kin Noodle Bar in Boca Raton but sold two years ago it to open Kin Asian, where she shares chef duties with with her boyfriend and fellow Bangkok native Ben Pankhao, whom she met in San Francisco.
The Food: The authentic menu is made up of street fare from Thailand, Japan and Taiwan. Small bites range from crab Rangoon with real crab in the filling and southern-style crispy Thai chicken wings with fried shallot crisps to Japanese tatsuta-age, featuring ginger and soy marinated deep fried chicken nuggets and fried tofu with peanut sauce. Taiwanese steamed buns have fillings like braised pork belly with pickled mustard greens, shrimp tempura with spicy mayo and pickled daikon and carrot and seasoned shitake mushrooms, sour mustard, ground peanuts and cilantro. Or go with the green papaya salad with a side of sticky rice. For ramen, choose your broth from pork bone tonkotsu, spicy miso, and spicy kimchee, then choose a protein from among chashu pork (braised pork belly marinated in a mixture of soy, sake and mirin with sugar, scallions, garlic, ginger and shallots), pork rib, lobster, beef, chicken, shrimp, chicken or tofu. The bowls are big enough for a meal. Or get stir-fried ramen called pompa mama, pad woonsen (stir-fried glass noodles) with egg, bean sprouts, mushrooms and vegetables or thick slightly sweet Japanese curry, good with a pork cutlet. Finish with a sweet crepe or green tea brownie with whipped cream.
You Didn’t Know This: Kin means “eating” in Thai, “gold” in Japanese (and family in English). Kin Asian dish Pompa Mama gets its name from Pompano and Mama, a popular brand of instant noodles. It’s stir-fried ramen in basil sauce with onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and jalapeno with beef, chicken or lobster. In Thai, the dish is called pad kee mao mama, or “drunken noodles” because after a night of drinking a person could easily come home and throw together this fast and filling dish.
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If You Go
: The Place: Kin Asian Street Food
Address: 143 SW 6th Street, Pompano Beach between S Cypress and Dixie Highway
Hours: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday noon-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon-10:30 p.m.
Prices: Bites $3.95-$7.95, buns $7.95-$9.95, ramen $9.95-$21.95, rice and noodles $7.95-$14.95, crepes $6.95, desserts $5