My mouth is still watering almost a week later, hands down Pok Pok served up one of the best meals I have ever had. This wasn't your average Joe, greasy, strip mall Thai joint, in fact it was everything but. Everything was fresh, spicy, tangy, salty, crisp and simply exploding with flavor. I make it down to Portland every few months to see family and friends, and there is never enough time to fill my ulterior motives of eating at all of the amazing Portland street carts and fabulous restaurants. Pok Pok has been as the top of my must-eat-list after being named thebest restaurant in Portland, nods from the greats and a huge feature in Bon Appetit, not to mention it is affordable. This trip I finally made it. Most dishes are served family style, which is great because, well for one I went with my family, but what a better way to try everything than to split it all. It just wouldn't be the same experience if we didn't get to enjoy the dishes together, tasting and discussing the complex flavors and we ate our way around Thailand.
Khao Soi a curry noodle soup served with pickled mustard greens, shallots, cilantro, crispy yellow noodles and roasted chili paste. We dumped the whole plate of condiments into this rich, coconut milk based curry soup and ladled it into our individual mini bowl for consumption. We tried to diversify our proteins as much as possible so on we went to white meat. Kai Krapao Khai Dao was a dish of stir fried minced chicken with tiny slivers of long beans, krapao basil, white onion, black soy, fish sauce, garlic and dry chilies with a beautifully poached over Jasmine rice.
Khao Man Som Tam was a perfect mixed plate with a green papaya salad, coconut rice, sweet shredded pork, fried shallots and cilantro. And might I say, the cabbage leaves on the side were the most delicious leaves of cabbage I have ever had. The coconut rice wasn’t sweet but it was insanely rich and creamy. Green papaya has become a favorite dish of mine, it is shredded unripe papaya tossed with tomatoes, long beans, Thai chili, lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce, garlic, palm sugar, dried shrimp and peanuts. It is delightfully light, the noodles don’t have much natural flavor but they are firm, crisp and pick up flavor from the strong flavors of the dressing.
Glass noodle salad with the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth house-made thin slices sour pork sausage as well as ground pork, Chinese celery, pickled garlic, Thai chilies, shallots, carrot, lime, fish sauce and garlic oil dressing. I wish I could infuse that much flavor into thin rice noodles. I could eat dishes like this all day, every day. While I might knock down the spice a touch, but that is just my personal taste. The noodles are light, and the dressing is crazy good. Tangy and salty and spiked with fresh vegetables, ground pork and I cannot stress enough some seriously amazing pork sausage.