It’s all about the broth, North Shutsharawan told me when I met him at Nit Noi Provision’s pop-up location at Bar Bucha in Westport last week. Inspired by the Thai street food scene and the healthy foods available for lunch, North had the idea to replicate his grandmother’s recipe with the hopes of selling it both in Connecticut and in Colorado. Nit Noi which literally means “a little bit” is based on a simple soup he ate as a child purchased from vendors at the market called Guay Teow Gai. At the market each vendor had his own specialty dish, just one, North explained to me.
Noticing that the popularity of broth has grown exponentially over recent years North and his wife, and partner, Jill saw a market for it locally. (Foodies and broth lovers might be familiar with New York City’s Brodo which gained praise and notoriety selling just broth.) North felt the need to introduce something else, to offer more and thus decided to add noodles, chicken and vegetables. His own broths also serve as the base for other dishes such as chicken, pasta and curry.
I asked about the local competition, citing the highly popular Nom-Eez, Mecha Noodle and Kawa Ni, restaurants to grace the local area in recent years. He swiftly replied “there’s room for us all - we’re all very different.” Although there is one common thread. “Many of us get our bones and protein from the same place, Fleisher’s Market here in Westport.” Sourcing locally is important to him and does so whenever possible. Greens come from the oriental food market, and in the summertime his bok choy hails from Fort Hill Farm. The toppings, such as the fried garlic and dried peppers are made at home. Whatever can’t be ordered here in the states is sourced through his family in Thailand, to keep everything as authentic as possible.
I decided to pick up a few to bring home for dinner. I ordered one vegetable-based and the rest chicken-based. Two were spicy and two were mild. The ingredients are packaged separately. Each order comes in two containers, a smaller one for the broth and a larger one for the noodles, chicken, bok choy, cilantro and assorted peppers and spices. When ready to be consumed the broth is poured into the rest of the ingredients. Because we ate ours several hours later, we popped them in the microwave briefly to warm them before digging in. The broths were light and indeed flavorful. The vegetable had a somewhat sweeter taste without being sweet. The non-spicy had a good kick with a mild heat. The spicy packed a nice punch, hot but not overwhelming. My mouth wasn’t on fire, but I felt an immediate need to remove the wool sweater I was wearing. I’m sold!
As they slowly grow the Nit Noy brand and share their story the couple are investing their time in learning more about the various aspects of running their business to achieve their goal of having a company that offers fast, healthy and ethnic foods. With the hopes of relocating to Colorado, the couple have spent a great deal of time out west researching places to live, set up their business, and sourcing ingredients for their products. In addition to the broths they hope to offer other Thai imports as well. “Our best case scenario would be to have something both in Colorado as well as in Connecticut,” North told me.
They're excited to offer pre-order broth and meals out of two locations this month! Wednesdays, they'll be serving at Wave Hill Breads, and Thursdays at Westport Farmers Market. Order before 10am and they'll have your order waiting for you for pick-up. Visit www.nitnoiprovisions.com and pre-order here: link.