What visit to Portland is complete without a meal at Pok Pok? Although Los Angeles has more than a handful of well-known, authentic Thai restaurants, I had to try this one in Portland. At first, I was a bit skeptical about a non-Thai cooking Thai, but after tasting his food, Andy Ricker is legit.
We started off with some liquid refreshments to help us through the hot and humid weather. Will got a lime-aid while I opted for a tamarind whisky sour. The whisky sour hit the spot with a slight sweetness from the tamarind and a whole lot of tang.
Next, we shared a vegetarian papaya salad. While the papaya was crisp and fresh, there was a slight bitterness from the lime. It was also missing that characteristic funk I like with my papaya salad which usually comes in the form of fermented fish or small crab and fish sauce. I would recommend getting this in its fishy glory instead of going for the vegetarian version.
I then had the grilled eggplant salad, which the waiter warned was quite spicy. This was perfect because I love a spicy but cold salad on a hot day. The eggplant was charred perfectly and kept its smokey aroma. The pungent and spicy dressing cut down on the rich, yellow, egg yolk from the hard boiled egg. The flesh of the eggplant was a wonderful softness that paired well with the crisp slices of raw onion.
Will had the vegetarian curry noodle soup, which had a great flavor. Slightly spiced from the curry paste, and a mellow sweetness from the coconut milk made up for the lack of meat taste in the broth. He was tempted to come back another day and order this again. It’s such a simple and wholesome dish, I’m sad that no where in LA has it.
3226 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR 97202