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February 1, 2011

Pok Pok

Pok Pok in SE Portland is my new favorite Thai restaurant.

I met my brothers at Pok Pok for lunch yesterday, and I have to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I have eaten at many Thai restaurants that serve staples like Pad Thai, but I had never been to one where the goal was to stay true to the "street food" of northern Thailand.

We met there around 11:45, and were quickly seated at a booth. We each ordered our own dish, and shared two more between us (ordered off the lunch menu). The shared dishes came first -- Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (Spicy) and Muu Sateh.

The Muu Sateh was pretty good -- the peanut sauce wasn't as sweet as most Thai restaurants make, so that took some getting used to, but it did go well with the wonderfully grilled pork meet. I loved the cucumber relish that was served with the dish. Ike's chicken wings, on the other hand, have to be about the best wings I have ever had. They were spiced nicely, but not overpowering, with a sweet glaze that made you want to devour every last morsel. The pickled vegetables on the plate were not just for garnish, but were packed with flavor (sorry JD & Tony for not leaving much for you). If you go to Pok Pok, you *have* to try the wings!

For my main dish, I ordered the Phat Si Ew. I like noodles more than rice with my oriental cuisine, and the description sounded good. Following the advise of our server, I added bits of the four condiments that were sitting on the table -- pickled chilies, hot pepper oil, crushed red peppers, and palm sugar. The flavor of the dish was sweet yet savory, with excellent caramelization on the pork and good texture provided by the Chinese broccoli. The dish was excellent.

I've read in online reviews that the wait to get in can be quite long during busy times, but it is well worth the wait. The Pok Pok website says they will take reservations for groups of 5 or larger.