Review: Pok Pok

Pok Pok Portland - shack pass-through

Pok Pok Portland – shack pass-through

(Major update July 2012)

With many people distracted by the deluge of new restaurants opening in Portland, I think it is important not to forget other notable destinations. For that reason, I find myself at Pok Pok on a regular basis.

To understand what Andy Ricker is trying to achieve at the restaurant, it helps to have a bit of background in the culture of Thailand. All over the country, there is street food, from the hahp baskets carried by a pole over the shoulder, to the pushcart, many specializing in just one particular dish. These movable markets of vendors gather anywhere people congregate, moving from one area to another as crowds ebb and flow. For a tourist, it is a wonderland of tastes and smells. Walking through these open-air restaurants, you have to throw caution to the wind, and bravely sample new dishes with unfamiliar ingredients. Most of these indigenous dishes do not have many similarities to the food in the hundreds of Thai restaurants scattered like so many darts across a map of Portland. It is instead an entirely different type of food, one with its roots not in restaurants, but in the streets of the Thai countryside.

Not unlike the food cart scene here, as the carts become successful, some proprietors open stalls, which occasionally grow into roadside restaurants. These places tend to show their roots, with a casual high energy and low prices, rough on the edges and not particularly clean. A lot of them cater to tourists, and it’s not unusual to find yourself sitting in one of these places throwing back whiskey sodas, and listening to something incongruous like The Eagles playing in the background. This is the type of place Andy is trying to create with the Pok Pok, and he’s done an admirable job. (For more information on the cuisine, see our Thai Food Primer, which goes into more detail on the food, theories, and customs by clicking here)

Pok Pok Portland

Now greatly expanded since their modest opening which consisted of a take-away window on the side of a shack, there are now three dining areas, with a patio available during warmer months. In the main lounge downstairs, some of the seating is backed with a brick wall, the windows are few, the ceiling’s a bit low, and the place has kind of a dive feel to it. However, in a brighter, clean comfortable way than similar places in Thailand. A small bar takes up one wall, small windows line two sides. The whole space is laid back, comfortable, and cozy, with the feel of a late night touristy drinking restaurant in Thailand, from the high energy ambiance, to the strange selections of American music, to the servers in their mohom shirts.

In 2007 an upstairs dining room was added for parties of five or more. This area is a bit more formal, and isn’t nearly as noisy as downstairs. In addition, the driveway/patio area is now table service for the main restaurant. During the warmer months, the tents come down and it is a pleasant place to have a late dinner.

As I’ve discussed in other reviews, Thai food is not only very regional, but is also strongly influenced by the cuisines of nearby countries such as China, Malaysia, and Laos. Thus, as you travel from region to region, you’ll find certain characteristics of the food vary greatly. For the most part, dishes at Pok Pok  focus on the Northeast region of Issan, famous for grilled chicken and meats, and the Northern region of Chaing Mai. Just to shake things up, there are also some Vietnamese dishes thrown into the mix.

Pok Pok has a full liquor license, and an interesting selection of cocktails from $7.50. I enjoyed the tamarind whiskey sour with lime, palm sugar and bourbon; I could drink these all day. Another favorite is the salty plum vodka collins, an interesting melange of salted plum, vodka, lemon and soda which, as stated, was a bit salty, yet well-balanced (once stirred), and very refreshing. A simple twist on the standard gin and tonic, their version comes with muddled kaffir lime leaves resulting in an unexpected background flavor. Keeping close to their roots, Pok Pok features a large selection of bourbon, rye, Scotch and Whiskey – 67 at my last count. Beer runs the range from , Bitburger and a rotating tap on draft, and an interesting choice of about 15 bottles, mostly Asian with a few lowbrow addition. Wine does not get much of a focus.

If you have never tried a drinking vinegar, throw caution to the wind. You’ll find them strangely interesting (I know, that makes no sense, but neither do the flavors that hit your palate). Think plum, vinegar, salt… they are so popular that Pok Pok now bottles their own Som Drinking Vinegar.

Eating here will surprise those used to more Americanized Thai food. I can’t think of a single dish composed the same way in other Portland restaurants. Keep an open mind, and be prepared for a new learning experience; it’s worth your time. Expect many of these dishes to be fairly spicy. If this is going to bother you, let them know, and they will tone down the seasoning. On the opposite end, ask and they will bring out the classic little tray of four condiments, which you can use to adjust the heat and balance of various flavors to your liking. A final note: it is traditional to use the fork to push the food to your spoon, and use the spoon to eat; easy to forget, but so much more effective.

Pok Pok Portland

The menu is seasonal, with more soups and comfort-foods during winter months. Not all items I describe here will be on the menu at any one time. Available selections will vary. I’ll have a link to their current menus and prices at the end of this review.

On a rainy night, soup comes to mind, and the tom yam naam is the best I’ve had in Portland. Every chef in Thailand has his own balance of flavors, and it can be the source of many arguments among locals. Accept that no matter where you go, it is probably going to be different from other restaurants you’ve been to. The Pok Pok version isn’t as creamy as many Americanized versions, and contains shellfish stock, giving it further depth and body. Many American versions use chicken stock, or, even worse, make it from Tom Yam bouillon cubes. Be prepared, this is a spicy dish that will clear your sinuses in no time. I can’t help but feel I’m doing something good for my body by eating it, and if I were coming down with a cold, this would be on my short list of treatments. It is normal to have a few pieces of lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves sitting on the bottom. No, you don’t eat them. Over the winter months they imported a machine to house-press coconut milk. You just can’t compare it to canned; the flavors are much more rounded and subtle. Khao Soi, uses this milk, resulting in a stunning soup with layer after layer complex but balanced flavors. House-made curry paste, chicken on the bone, fresh coconut milk, mustard greens, shallots, dried shrimp, crispy yellow noodles, and chili paste to taste make up the ingredients. This is the best version I’ve ever had.

One of the most interesting salads I’ve had in a long time is the yam samun phrai. It is simple on the surface, yet complex in flavors – bright and fresh, with great textures and a subtle spicy coconut dressing, set off by crunchy peanuts. It has a huge list of ingredients: ginger, carrot, parsnip, betel leaf, basil, lime leaf, sawtooth, fried shallots, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, dry shrimp, ground pork and Thai chilies. Andy’s version includes things I haven’t seen anywhere else, but even with this many ingredients, everything balances perfectly; a textbook example on the components of a Thai dish. Though the makeup seems to vary a bit with the seasons, this is a new favorite for me that shouldn’t be missed. Another terrific choice is yam khai dao, a salad of crispy fried egg, Thai chilies, Chinese celery, onions and carrot, with a dressing of lime, palm sugar and fish sauce. I love the egg, finding its texture a perfect foil for the other ingredients. Everything is well balanced; those with an aversion to fish sauce shouldn’t be scared away. It’s a terrific, refreshing salad for a warm summer evening.

Pok Pok Portland Oregon

Chicken Wings

Yang rou chou’r Islamic Chinese lamb consists of as much lamb as you could fit on two skewers, cooked to medium rare, with a nice, salty/spicy rub made up of coriander, cumin and chili powder. What seems like a couple of rather pedestrian pieces of flat bread  are included to use as a wrap, but give it a moment to soak up juice from the lamb and it becomes wonderful. On the side is a bright salad of dazzling red cherry tomatoes, great cucumbers, onions, a bit of cilantro, and a light dressing. I’ve had these several times at the shack and found the seasoning varies a bit from day to day – sometimes very salty, sometimes very spicy, but I always like them.

The hoi thawt made with mussels meets and exceeds expectations. A bed of small crispy crepes makes up the base of the dish, with a melange of fresh steamed mussels, eggs, garlic chives and bean sprouts. They come with a side of the bright red Sri Racha hot sauce. You want to get a bit of everything in each bite.

Laap is a kind of Issan “salad” of minced meat. In this case, catfish has been grilled, with the meat picked off and added to the mix. The overall salad was impeccable. I could be happy just having this dish of lovely crispy catfish nuggets, the fish balanced by crunchy fried shallots, garlic, fish sauce and herbs. A recent addition to the menu, Cha Ca La Vong, consists of (from the menu description) “catfish marinated in turmeric and fermented sticky rice, fried in turmeric oil with scallions and dill, served on rice vermicelli with peanuts, mint and nouc cham. Our stab at the famous dish from La Vong Restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam”. This dish is legendary, with restaurants – and even streets – being named for it. If you order Cha Ca in Hanoi, the ingredients come in separate little bowls to be added to a pot over a burner, but the small tables at Pok Pok preclude this. Instead, you get a bowl with lovely thin noodles nestled on the bottom, moist crispy little fish nuggets in the middle, and an assortment of herbal goodies and nuts on top. A smooth, slightly spicy dressing is on the side, to add as you see fit. As with most of the entrees, there is a lot of complimenting textures and flavors here, all coming together in a synergy or creamy, smooth, oily… heck, just order it and you’ll see. Hmm, does this mean a snake-head fish version in the offing? If you were a foodie visiting Hanoi, a restaurant serving Cha Ca would be a must-have before you leave.

An item that made its first appearance at the “shack” is neua naamtok. I was disappointed when they took it off the menu, but it’s back for summer; a spicy and sour grilled marinated flank steak salad with ground dry roasted chilies, lemongrass, fresh shallots, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, lime juice and mint. A classic salad from the NE Issan region of the country, I found it quite interesting and have ordered it many times; the nose a panoply of fragrant ingredients playing off one another in harmony. I loved the first few bites: strips of juicy steak, with the addictive rice powder giving crunchy texture, and the additional ingredients playing off one another in contrasting bursts. Another summer dish is Khao Kha Muu, which is a whole Carlton Farms pork leg stewed in soy and spices and served chopped on rice with pickled mustard greens, an egg that has been hard boiled in the braising liquid, and a sour chili dipping sauce. This is a marvelous dish, and a must for those looking for an authentic Thai experience.

I’ve had so many excellent meals here it’s impossible to describe them all without boring readers. Skimming over highlights; kai krapao khai dao, a typical lunch dish of minced chicken and long beans, krapao (a Thai basil), white onion, black soy, fish sauce, garlic and dry chilies. It is hard to find an authentic version of kai krapao in this country, but Pok Pok does it right. The dish comes with a nice amount of minced chicken, a mound of fragrant rice covered with an egg that is fried to the point of being crispy. Be warned, the little chilies make this dish fairly hot. I sweated my way through it – in a good way. The rice and egg create an interesting juxtaposition of textures. Ike’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings are addictive and legendary. Do not go to Pok Pok without ordering them, as that is the first thing friends will ask about.  The fresh wings are marinated in fish sauce and palm sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized phu quoc fish sauce and garlic – crunchy, salty, loaded with flavor. If you are troubled by the description, trust me; you’ll like them. He should call them “Crack Chicken Wings”.

Have room for dessert? Be prepared for heat if you get som tam phonlamai, a fresh fruit som tam with apples, grapes, Asian pears, green mango, green papaya, chilies, lime juice, naam plaa and palm sugar. It’s hot! I could see this being a great dessert on a hot day, but on a rainy night, especially after having had a salad with similar textures with dinner, I didn’t really care for it – more my fault than theirs. I prefer the Pok Pok affogato, a condensed milk ice cream with a shot of Vietnamese coffee. A Chinese fried donut is served on the side. My favorite is the ice cream sandwich, with rich coconut-jackfruit ice cream sandwiched between a sweet bun with sweet sticky rice, peanuts, condensed milk and chocolate syrup. The newest addition is the Whiskey Cola float with bourbon ice cream. I noticed it on the menu when we first arrive, and my fantasies had built up as I waited the entire meal before I could get away with ordering it. I had visions of me and Ms. Bourbon wandering off into the sunset together, but it was light on flavor for my taste. It was good, but I wanted something bolder to complement my meal.

Looking back over this review, it seems at the end of every description, I rave about each dish. Truly, this is a wonderful restaurant, and would be an exciting addition to any restaurant scene, not just Portland’s. Though there are occasional inconsistencies in cooking and flavors, I’ve rarely had a dish here that was flawed in execution. Be prepared, as there is almost alway a line down the street, though if you duck in during slower hours it’s possible to get seated pretty quickly; especially at lunch.

To those who are wondering about to-go food, the Pok Pok shack is still open with a very limited menu for to-go items. The driveway/patio area is now reserved for the regular restaurant.

  • Phone: 503-232-1387. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more in the new dining room.
  • Address: 3226 SE Division, Portland, OR 97202. Google Map 
  • Hours: Daily 11:30am – 10:00pm.
  • Website: PokPokpdx.com

 

Pok Pok on Urbanspoon

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. LadyConcierge says

    Great review; I think we all thought you’d like it. I went for the first time myself last Monday and loved it.

  2. mczlaw says

    Thx, Dude, for the review. I have made four visits in the last 10 days–three lunches and a dinner. I am completely captivated by the stream of wonderfulness coming out of that kitchen. Not a bad one in a dozen so far, though the skewers tend to be less exciting than the rest.

    One correction to your discussion: the khao soi is most definitely available in the dining room. My colleague had it for lunch Thursday.

    –mcz

  3. Food Dude says

    MyNextMeal: remember, you can always ask for the tray, which includes peppers to heat up the food. They have a bigger audience now, and probably have to tone things down a bit.

  4. MyNextMeal says

    I enjoyed my meal here on Monday night. I really liked the lamb skewers but agreed with the comment about the bread.
    The only *downside* to the meal was that the dishes weren’t spicy-hot enough for me (and I have a medium heat preference) – in particular the green-papaya salad was nowhere near as spicy as what I’ve had from PokPok before. The soup we ate wasn’t too spicy either. Maybe it was a one-off experience.

  5. Arthur Delaney says

    Spot on review, I agree with just about everything…including that I didn’t really care for the one dessert. One thing though…you mentioned pretty much all the cocktails (all great and interesting) except the bloody mary. This is like describing a wedding and not mentioning the dress. Easily the best bloody mary I’ve ever had by a couple of football fields and everyone in both parties I went with agreed. Including a friend who hates tomato juice and hates bloody marys but loved this one.

  6. bluto says

    Expecting bad karma on the wings of The Oregonian’s naming Pok Pok restaurant of the year, I stopped in Friday nite. As could be expected it was packed and after being ignored by the “host” who meets/greets you I was fortunate enough to be shown to a table by my server Ryan. I ordered two of my favorites, the carmelized chicken wings and Andy’s ribs. I also took Ryan’s advice and tried the whiskey flight. My food arrived piping hot, and was fantastic as usual. I was surprised at how well the whiskies complimented the food. Success has definitely not spoiled Andy Richter, though his “host” is suffering from a severe case of rectal-cranial inversion.

  7. Mostly Running. says

    If the host you are talking about is the one I am thinking of, he’s one of the best in town. The man could run JFK with his eyes closed. Sorry you didn’t think he was awesome, but he knows how to do his job and does it well.

    No, I’m not him and I have no affiliation with the P0x2.

    MR

  8. JDG says

    Expecting bad karma on the wings of The Oregonian’s naming Pok Pok restaurant of the year, I stopped in Friday nite.

    Then why the F did you go?!? Do you often insert yourself voluntarily into situations where you expect negative outcomes?

  9. LoLo says

    I love Whiskey Soda but the lines have been even worse the last couple of weeks. Happily, Matchbox Lounge is across the way. It was a great place to eat when me and my partner just didn’t want to deal with the line or waiting. We actually just ducked in for a drink, but the food looked great. It was and we kept ordering. The carrot and ginger soup with a hint of vanilla was the best soup I’ve had in a while. So now there are two great reasons to hit that strip of Division. Wondering if others have ventured in and what they have thought of Matchbox.

  10. Ellie says

    We hit Pok Pok for seated outdoor lunch service on Wednesday (a first for us, as we usually go for dinner inside.) We were wary of a long wait after the Boregonian ROY thing, but only had to wait 5 minutes (we arrived around noon.) The food was even more sublime than usual, and we got to sit outside. I do think this is the best food in Portland right now.

    Funny thing was, we went to Rocket for dinner that evening, and, well… it pretty much sucked. I’m not a big fan of the unwashed concrete block look on the patio. On that patio, you either have an amazing view of the city, or you are stuck looking at a laundry bag, exit door, and concrete block walls.

  11. Fuzzy Jelly says

    Saturday night at WSL-
    felt a bit like an amusement park. I guess it’s to be expected after being voted the best of 2007. We have dined at PP/WSL in all of its incarnations and yes, I still agree the food is pretty damn outstanding but at the moment it has a chaotic, impersonal vibe. I am sure with time the hype will die down and they’ll iron out the flow and service gliches. Until then check out Matchbox Lounge. We had an appetizer and drinks and both were quite good.

  12. mczlaw says

    Matchbox: stopped there more or less by accident a couple weekends ago. Menu looked good, but couldn’t imagine eating amidst the smoke clouds. I’ll put this one on the calendar for January 2, 2009.

    –mcz

  13. Food Dude says

    Smokeclouds? Huh? I’ve eaten there twice in the last three weeks with no problem whatsoever. Service was as good and personable as ever. Granted, I planned ahead and got there early, but still…
    It seems to me, if they are as slammed as they are (line down the block both times by the time I left), you can’t really blame a lack of personality on the servers. You’d probably be having a hard time too. I don’t know if either of you has ever worked in a restaurant where both foh and boh is in the weeds, but I think they are doing an admirable job considering the circumstances. Everyone knows the O’s ROY is often the kiss of death.

  14. foieman says

    Thats true, food dude, but doesn’t the oregonian let the ROY know about the upcoming onslaught of people before hand? I believe the reason they let them know is to staff up and prepare. I’m sure it’s still hard to adjust, but it’s been a few weeks now. That restaurant should be running like a well oiled machine. You can’t feel sympathetic towards them, being that busy is what every restaurant owner dreams of!

  15. sidemeat says

    Foieman:
    There’s quantity and there’s quality . Some of the people that follow the trend setting of the Oregonian will not be particularly well versed in Pok Pok’s cuisine, or dining out in general for that matter. A full restaurant can be handled, but if every third table has oh so many questions about the food, the drink, are you the owner, do I pay you or do I pay at the register while expecting some sort of transcendental (hey, it’s ROY) experience in the 50 minutes they have until their movie starts, it becomes more difficult. Weeds get pretty deep, pretty fast some nights.

  16. biabub says

    to add to sidemeat’s argument, do you really think a restaurant can hire new people and have them trained and up and running smoothly as servers or cooks with 24 hours notice of ROY and the onslaught that comes with it? give them 3 months and see how it’s doing. 2 weeks is a little unfair and all those O followers make it worse because many are not the customer that is going to love this place anyway (and i’m not a fan either). there’s nothing worse than the crush of uneducated diners in a place as confusing to dine as Pok Pok and no amount of staffing up seconds before the onslaught can magically fix that.

  17. Carolyn Manning says

    So, here’s an interesting idea:

    Do you think a restaurant should have the opportunity to DECLINE the Oregonian ROY award?

  18. Cuisine Bonne Femme says

    I’ve eaten at Pok-Pok / WSL 4 times now since they got ROY.

    I have noticed no change in the service other than sometimes longer wait times for a table and a new intro from the servers, “have you ever eaten here before,” which I take to mean if someone says know they do a little spiel about the food and their approach which is different than other Thai restaurants in town, etc.

    If you’ve ever worked FOH at a restaurant, when it gets really busy you have to move quickly to juggle all the various elements. Service may not be as personable and chattyt at Pok-Pok when they are slammed, but my experience indicates they are still running a smooth FOH – especially given that they are so busy.

  19. matchbox says

    Matchbox is only smoking after 10pm. Outdoor seating is available untill 10pm. Come and sample our menu during dinner hours if you are weary of smoking.

  20. sidemeat says

    Carolyn;
    I love the idea of refusing the honor. A ‘ oh, you shouldn’t have!’
    with the best smile you can muster. How to handle it for best effect?
    Let them give it, then buy ads disclaiming the award? ‘Mention this ad and be refused service’? A sign in the door, ‘If your here because of the award we’re closed’?
    Pose nude and make them give ROY to the runner up?

  21. biabub says

    matchbox – why do you allow smoking? doesn’t your place reak from cigarette smoke as a result regardless if it is before 10 or after, if you let people light up inside? and why are you putting your employees health at risk like that? if you have food that you think anyone reading this site should even consider trying, then you should reconsider your smoking policy so we are more tempted to come give it a try. personally, i’m not going to pay for a meal and have to inhale smoke at the same time. get ahead of the bill passed recently that will make it illegal in another year or so anyway and go smokefree and you just might see more customers than you do now.

  22. Fuzzy Jelly says

    FYI RE: Matchbox and Smoking-
    We were there on Friday night and absolutely no smoky smell. Putting aside all the hub bub regarding smoking and the Matchbox- the food was excellent. We were a party of four and everyone loved their meal. Give the scallops or beef dish a try-yummy!
    Service was friendly and attentive.
    Sorry to hear some of you are going to wait til 2009 to try Matchbox, you are missing out.

  23. sidemeat says

    When serving I’m always happy to take the smoking section.
    Smokers just seem to have a better time and enjoy themselves more than non-smokers. Sounds odd, but there it is.

  24. mczlaw says

    Me and the lads would be hacking in 3 part harmony just for laughs as we sucked back a few MarbleRows. Yup, those were the glory days.

    –mcz

  25. sidemeat says

    Three parts?
    You got your bronchial, tracheal,and nasal;
    but for emphasis you need emphysema.
    Go back to your candy cigarettes
    let the real men work the smoking section.
    (fetch me a clean ashtray boy, before I tan your hide)

  26. biabub says

    of course they’re happier. they don’t have tastebuds so they can’t tell if the food is great or sucks. and they must have an overvalued sense of self too, since they could care less about the person sitting next to them suffocating.

  27. Food Dude says

    Sidemeat, good idea. Let’s move this thread over to the discussion forums and get back to WSL here.

  28. sidemeat says

    Happy to help Dude, you know, I live for this site, and any thing….
    OH CRAP!!!! 1:45!?
    Gotta go, weddings, and other important things await….

  29. Shayman8 says

    Okay, I love Pok Pok, so i post this out of love for the ambiance, the food, the feeling, the magic of a high end street food vendor on division st. I’ve been going to pok pok quite a few times before and a few times after ROY, clearly afraid of the effect of the masses on the special place.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, and i hope i just had a bad night, but was there on July 7th and things were off. Our server was a new guy, so i’ll give him that; things were okay until the food came. Dang, it was like things were just thrown together quickly without care or attention to the flavor. I was actually embarassed having recommended a dish (the steak one with the spicy salad things around it) to a friend there that night and her dish as well as mine and my wife’s had chunks of spices nearly breaking our teeth. this was new,and bad. dang, all of our food was WAY spicier than usual, like someone got trigger happy with the chile shaker. my stomach was actually hurting from the spice – also new, also bad. So while trying to slowly handle as much of the food as i could, with spoon and fork in hand,in mid air, the server whisks my plate out from under me with a simultaneous “i’ll get this out of your way” so quickly i barely uttered a “a couple more minutes please” response to bring it back. Sadly, it was too uncomfortable to finish; it was the fruit salad. wife got soup with same situation. whole bird was the only thing that saved the table.

    Like i said, hopefully this is a fluke of too many bad things at once in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I only comment in hopes that the wrongs can be righted, attention to quality over quantity readdressed even at the cost of turning people away. I can say I’d rather have been turned away that night. I hope to go again and give a second chance if my friends let me. I don’t think pok pok will sink, but i hope this doesn’t represent being watered down.
    Anyone else having similar experiences?
    -Shay

  30. Mostly Running. says

    I’ve been going to 2-Pok since the fifth day it was open, sometimes 3 times a week, sometimes every two months. I always have liked it, sometimes loved it. I’m back to at least once a week recently as the food has hit an absolutely amazing level. Whether it’s new staff or new discipline in the kitchen I don’t know, but this place added some new cylinders and is hitting on all of them. Thank you Pok Pok.

  31. White clams says

    I’ve been to Pok Pok a few times, all for lunch. The first time I was leaning toward the wings, and the waiter steered me away from them. I was a little disappointed (I don’t even remember what it was I had), but having read the reviews I went back, and tried the wings. They are amazing, and I found the salad that accompanies the wings is a perfect complement. The wings, ordered medium spicy, are perfectly sweet, spicy and rich all at the same time.

    Yesterday I went for lunch when I happened to be driving by. I wasn’t that hungry, but ordered the wings, and ate half, taking the rest in a box to enjoy at home. While heating them in the microwave took a bit of the crunch away, it did help to further carmelize them. I have to say that I found myself for the first time since I was a kid actually licking the plate afterwards, to get all the sweet and spicy sauce I could. That’s some pretty amazing food, to find yourself licking the plate!

  32. Nathan Burdett says

    I hate to be the poop in the soup, but Pok Pok is one of those places that make me say “What the F*ck”??? How is this place so consisently highly rated?
    I have been there three times (the second two at the insistence of company). Each and every time, the food and the experience has been crap, crap, crap. Fad over substance. Reafirms my opinion that most people don’t cook and don’t know crap when they put it in their mouths.

    • Food Dude says

      The great thing about food is no one is wrong – it’s all about what is good to you. It could be that your palate is different from other people, or that you don’t have as much experience with Northern Thai food as some critics do. That doesn’t make you wrong, it just means you need to find other places that make you happy.

      • polloelastico says

        I cook and I know crap when it’s in my mouth. I’ve had excellent food at Pok Pok, WSL, and Ping.

        I don’t know who dishes patterned meticulously from traditional Asian preps (almost to a fault in some instances) can be considered fad.

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