It has been a pivotal year for both the restaurant industry and the journalists who cover it. While dozens of high-profile investigations uncovered harassment, wage theft and other abuse in the food world, American restaurant criticism also took a notable shift.
Nyum Bai, a humble Cambodian noodle shop in Oakland run by first-time restaurateur Nite Yun, was the Bay Area’s most decorated restaurant. Yun started the year as a Chronicle Rising Star and was then celebrated by national media outlets like the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Eater, among others. Usually, restaurants that snag such praise are high-end spots, not those with prices under $20.