Better Know a Dish: Night + Market Song’s Off-Menu Fried Chicken Sandwich

Thai fried chicken + ranch + papaya salad = magic

If you’ve ever wondered what the kitchen staff at Night + Market Song likes to snack on post-shift (no one can live on nam prik alone), you can now order it yourself—thanks to a new off-menu special that’s set to take Silver Lake by storm.

According to Sarah St. Lifer, who runs Night + Market along with her fiancé Kris Yenbamroong, the fried chicken sandwich ($9) began a simple staff meal that morphed into something greater. “We actually have employees that come in just to eat it on their day off,” says St. Lifer.

With the restaurant’s new barstool seating and beer-wine license, it’s now possible to roll in, snag one of the hi-top bar seats, order a sandwich and a killer $6 glass of Côtes du Rhone from a box, and dig in. “Most of our food is meant to be shared and eaten with sticky rice,” says Yenbamroong, “but the chicken sandwich is the one thing that’s like a personal handheld meal.”

The heart of the sandwich is the amazing crunchy deep-fried chicken thigh in center, the same one you’ll find listed on the menu as gai tod naeng noi—basically Thai-style fried chicken cut into strips served with a side of mashed waterbug relish (yes, you read that right). Yenbamroong learned the recipe from a family that’s known as the best fried chicken vendor in Chiang Rai. “They’re pretty famous” he says, “they wouldn’t give me the whole recipe, but they let me know enough to figure it out.”

The crispy-skinned bird is brined, ensuring the meat stays lusciously juicy and flavorful. It’s then laid atop a grilled supermarket-style hamburger bun and spread with a dollop of ranch dressing (no waterbug relish here). Yenbamroong, who is something of a self-admitted ranch dressing fiend, created his own after a great deal research around town, including copious time at retro Santa Monica diner, Rae’s Restaurant. Cool and creamy, it’s an ideal counterpoint to the other toppings on the sandwich: strips of raw jalapeno, cilantro sprigs, tomato, and a mound of shredded green papaya marinated in lime juice and fish sauce.

At any other Thai restaurant, the combination of papaya salad and ranch might seem odd, but at Song it just makes perfect—and delicious—sense.

According to St. Lifer, there’s a good chance that the sandwich will find it’s way onto the regular menu, especially when Night + Market Song opens for lunch in the near future. Until then, one of the best (and most unique) fried chicken sandwiches in town will be reserved exclusively for diners in the know.

“One of our regulars came in last week and ordered the sandwich before we closed,” says Yenbamroong. “He told me later that he was pretty wasted after bar hopping, and the chicken sandwich gave him a second wind. He ended up getting a girl’s number at the next bar.”

Night + Market Song, 3322 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323-665-5899