By: Andrew Zimmern, Delta Sky Contributing Editor
In a stunning turn of events, Miami is fast becoming a world-class food town. One restaurant’s story proves my point. Every February, the country’s best chefs, food experts, wine freaks and television personalities meet up in Miami for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. At the most recent festival, everyone was talking about Khong River House.
“We’ve introduced a food type that isn’t represented at all in South Florida,” says John Kunkel of the Southeast Asian fare served at Khong River House in Miami Beach. Kunkel is CEO of 50 Eggs Inc., the creative firm behind Khong River and other Miami hotspots, including Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, which was among Bon Appétit’s best new restaurants of 2012, and the recently opened Swine Southern Table & Bar.
Unveiled in December 2012, Khong River House boasts rustic Asian farmhouse décor and reimagined versions of Kunkel’s favorite Southeast Asian street foods: house-made noodles and dishes teeming with bold, pungent flavors such as sour pork, lemon grass and kefir lime leaves. Kunkel is especially proud of their braised beef- and homemade meatball-laden boat noodles. “The recipe came from one of our sous chefs whose family runs a boat noodle stand in Korat,” he says. “You could close your eyes and be in Thailand when you order those noodles.”
Says the restaurateur, “There’s a whole different side of the beach. Local neighborhoods that crave quality chef-driven experiences that lack all the pretension.” This is another reason why I adore Miami, and why I suspect its food scene will only get better.
Zimmern hosts Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel.
Photo Credit: Goong pao (grilled giant prawns) at Khong River House.
Photo by David Cabrera.