Kinkan Los Angeles

The collaboration between Kinkan LA and Melody Wine Bar with Galanga Thai House from Mexico City made for a brilliant showcase of Thailand cuisine and wine

It was an casual Monday when I received the an email message from Kinkan:

GALANGA CDMX with Melody bar

north meet south | Thai cuisine tasting menu

Chef Nan Yimcharoen from Kinkan LA & guest chef Somsri Raksamran from Galanga Thai CDMX will be co-creating a very special “North-South Thai Tasting Menu” for one night only… this Thursday evening at Kinkan. Local neighbor, Eric Tucker of Melody, will select wines from their cellar to pair and mix a live soundtrack for your listening pleasure.

Chef Nan, handles the northern Thai portion while Chef Somsri brings her family recipes of the south… each course served side-by-side
(5 x 2 courses).

In reading this, I remembered that Chef Nan recently had a residency in Mexico City. I was eager to experience the results of that guest residency and partake in the distinct dishes from the collaboration. Northern Thailand meets Southern Thailand via Galanga Thai with a fantastic wine pairing and music from Melody wine bar? Yes, please!

As such, there was only one person I could imagine sharing a table with – Johann. So, with reservations made, on Thursday we were at Kinkan, excited or the courses to come.

Parking was what it was on Virgil Avenue: a challenge but worth it.

I also noticed that my favorite ramen spot in Los Angeles, Ken’s Ramen, had moved! It used to be next to Kinkan and was amazing. Looking on the website, thankfully they just reopened on Western Avenue. Whew! Onward….

Settling in, the vibes were solid. As this was our second trip to Kinkan together and my third overall, I greatly appreciated the music and the casualness of such a delicious restaurant.

Our waitress had on a top that I wish I’d asked her where she got it from. It was so cute! Once she offered the wine paring for an actual decent price, I immediately ordered it.

I wanted the full experience for the evening, and that’s what I was going to get.

To start, I was poured a glass of the 2020 CRÉMANT D’ALSACE by LUCAS ET ANDRÉ RIEFFEL. An extra brut organic wine from France, made with Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay grapes. Lucious and creamy with bubbles, it was the perfect way to start the evening.


North Thailand: “YUM JIN KAI
On Thursday, this was changed to crab, not chicken. Incredible!
(crab salad, larb chili, Thai herb seasonings, lemongrass and culantro)

Southern Thailand: “KHAO YUM
(southern style rice salad, market vegetables, mackerel, Thai herbs)

Wine: 2020 CIAVOLA NERA GRANCATELLA by Ciavola Nera – 100% Malvasia (Italy)

Now, there is one thing that Kinkan knows how to do – and does it well. And that is presentation. When my crab salad dish arrived, with a crab perched delicately on the side, overlooking the bits of juicy crab on my plate, I was in love. It was humorous and deliciousness wrapped into one.

Along the lines of fantastic presentation – the mackerel framing the rice salad was awesome. It made quite the impact when it was placed before me. It didn’t bother me – similar to my dinner at La Paix in Tokyo, Japan – because I grew up fishing with my parents. Plus, I think diners should be mindful of where our meat comes from. It was actually fun to scrape the bits of meat from the fix, mix it with the rice salad and savor the flavors.

If I had to pick a favorite between these two dishes, I would pick the crab salad.



North Thailand: “BEEF JERKY
(A5 wagyu beef jerky, sticky rice, nam prik noom and kinkan chicharron)

Southern Thailand: “GAI TODD GOLEK
(Southern style fried chicken, curry sauce)

Wine: 2021 ROSÉE D’AUTOMNE by Henri Chauvet – 100% Gamay (France)

I truly enjoyed the glass of rose with this course. The fried chicken felt familiar enough. However, the picked vegetables made it shine. The blue sticky rice of the beef jerky was SO GOOD. Normally, I’m not a fan of chicharron. But, this version of fried pig skin was the best I’ve had, so far.

If I had to pick a favorite between these two dishes, it would be the beef jerky.



North Thailand:”GANG HED
(unagi, mushroom, Chinese zucchini soup)

Southern Thailand: “TOM KAMIN
(Indian freshwater prawn, turmeric soup, mushrooms, galanga)

Wine: 2021 ROSÉE D’AUTOMNE by Henri Chauvet – 100% Gamay (France)

If I had to pick a favorite between the two soups, it would be the prawn and turmeric soup pairing. The tomatoes in the soup literally burst in my mouth with flavor. Plus, the heat from the turmeric was pitch perfect.



North Thailand: “ONG PUU
(grilled crab miso with jidori eggs, Thai curry paste)

Southern Thailand: “MOO HONG
(Thai Southern Style grilled Streaky Pork ibérico, pickles and cucumbers)

Wine: 2018 CHABLIS  by Patagonia Provisions x Château de Béru – 100% Chardonnay (France)

These two dishes might have been my favorite paring of the night. The crab custard texture of the Ong Puu took me some getting used to.  This was easily rectified by mixing the delicious lumps of meat with the custard.

Using beef cheeks for the Moo Hong created a different flavor and texture profile than the usual pork belly. It was outstanding – especially, with the pickles and cucumbers added for contrast.

Regarding the wine – I had no idea that Patagonia had ventured into sustainable wine. It was a delight to enjoy the chablis with these dishes.

If I had to pick a favorite between the two dishes – it comes down to presentation, as both were delicious. The One Puu wins this round.


Wine Interlude:

2021 PINOT FREYHEIT by Heinrich (Austria)
Sohomare “TUXEDO” Kimoto Junmai Daiginjo Sake

Regarding this section of the meal, all I can say is that Chef Nan is a hilarious hoot. Our table and the table next to us had a situation with an unwelcomed guest that would just not die. Chef came over, apologized that the six legged annoyance came in while the front door was opened and poured us all sake.

When the unwelcomed six legged guest was finally vanquished with a roundhouse kick by another staff member – we all received another round of sake.

Chef Nan then told the four of us about what it was like growing up in Thailand with flying cockroaches. It was a humorous story that actually really put things into perspective about what I might take for granted living in Los Angeles. It’s nice to remember that I’ve always had a comfortable bed, running water that was easily accessible and more. Other people don’t have those things. I want to be mindful of that – while still enjoying my life to the fullest.


North Thailand: “KOW SOI
(braised oxtail, ramen noodles)

Southern Thailand: “PAD THAI CHAI YA
(soft shell crab, southern Thai style pad Thai with red curry paste tamarind sauce)

Wine: 2022 DOMAINE MOSSE COMBO by Agnes et Rene Mosse – 80% Muscat and 20% Cabernet franc (France)

I fully admit that this is the course that I almost had to tap out of. In fact, I gave my crab to Johann to finish because I just – I was full. By this time, we’d spent about four hours laughing, talking and enjoying food. So, when the Kow Soi arrived, I was like – oh wow. Then, the Pad Thai followed and I was like – uh oh.

I spent too much time enjoying the oxtail and ramen vs the pad Thai. It was so filling and delicious with the onion and dab of sauce that I just ate it all up.

Which isn’t to say the the opposing dish wasn’t delicious. Especially, with the squirt of fresh lime! I’d just reached my limit. However, I will say the the wine with this course was a stand out.



(Ice cream, Roti crisps)

Wine: 2018 CUVÉE MONPLAISIR JURANÇON SEC by Domaine de Souch

The Cuvee with this course was my favorite wine of the evening. It was exceptional with the pandan custard and ice cream. Another detail I enjoyed about the dish is that the fried roti crisps were served hot. So, with a spoonful of ice cream and custard mixed with the bread like texture gave it a slightly deconstructed pie vibe.

However, the best part of dinner at KinKan wasn’t the incredible set of dishes, or the wine pairing, or the bonus sake, or the 4.5 hours of laughing and talking with Johann.

It was the fact that after we’d paid and walked out, Chef Nan ran out after us, grabbed my arm, said I smelled nice, kissed my arm repeatedly and said she wasn’t a lesbian. And told Johann that I was awesome and that he needed to protect me and our friendship.

All I could do was laugh with glee and say “Yes, Chef” because I was slightly in shock and so delighted. Plus, she’s just a delight to be around and her joy about her cuisine is infectious.

My shoulder was anointed by a top tier Los Angeles modern food icon. It doesn’t get more LA than that.

And I was wearing a scent from Le Labo.

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KinKan LA

771 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, California 90029
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