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Pok Pok, Portland, OR
Portland is a city of constant and unique surprises. Surprises of the good variety of course. So we weren’t surprised to discover that this widely acclaimed restaurant, Pok Pok, that specializes in Thai (and southeast Asian) cuisine and boasts proudly of it’s authenticity is actually owned and run by a Portland chef who is… well, a white guy. Andy Ricker has been praised for providing what many critics, fans, and patrons have called the “most authentic” Thai food available in the U.S.
Ricker and Pok Pok got started as little more than a rotisserie grill in the driveway of a house and has since grown into one of the local favorites. You’ll regularly find hour-long wait times to be seated at Pok Pok (they only take reservations for parties of five or more). To help combat the restlessness hungry patrons suffer as they wait for a table, Ricker bought the building across from Pok Pok and opened up the Whiskey Soda Lounge. The lounge features a few menu items, from appetizers like Muu Sawan (deep-fried, marinated dried pork with deep fried lime leaves) to desserts like Pok Pok Affogato (condensed milk ice cream drowned in a shot of vietnamese coffee and served with a chinese fried donut), as well as a long list of drinks to keep you occupied while you wait.
As for whether the wait is well worth it… well, we think so. Just a quick perusal of the menu has our mouths watering. Filled with dishes you’re likely to find in any home, pub, or street vendor in Southeast Asia, Pok Pok’s menu is short in length, but long on taste.
As far as signature dishes that you simply must try at Pok Pok, the Kai Yaang (pictured) is widely praised as the restaurant’s finest. This dish features a grilled game hen stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, and cilantro and served with two dipping sauces.
In addition to being a Portland staple (and one of Carrie Brownstein’s favorite places), Pok Pok recently (just last week) opened up a second location in New York City, making their authenic Southeast Asian cuisine available no matter the coast you’re on!Pok Pok-Portland
3226 SE Division St. Portland, OR (503) 232-1387 Pok Pok-New York 127 Columbia St. Brooklyn, NY (718) 923-9322 Thanks to ms-eeta-buffet.tumblr.com for this week’s tasty suggestion. Pictures Courtesy: Pok Pok and UrbanSpoon