Pok Pok Phat Thai - guess what... Good Pad Thai!

I was a little skeptical, a Thai street food joint owned and operated by "farang"s.

Glad to report - they have the best pad Thai I’ve tried stateside yet - flavor wise. “Wok hei” could have been more pronounced but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. None of that cloying sweetness. The traditional condiments - fresh bird chili in fish sauce, pickled green chili, chili powder, sugar are available to customize flavors to your liking. Very unexpected!

Added bonus is the coffee bar “endorffeine” located right across Pok Pok. They brew using a very cool machine by ModBar http://www.modbar.com/espresso/. Looks more like a vintage audio amplifier…


Agree. Some folks don’t give this joint a fair shake. The shrimp is perfectly cooked (still a tad transluscent and tender). It’s even better Haw Khai (wrapped in a thin egg omelet) for $1.50 more.

Thanks for the report on the new caffeine entry in the plaza. Haven’t had a chance to try that yet and Cognoscenti’s hours are so uneven.

To clarify, this is POK POK PHAT THAI. POK POK THAI will open next month in Mandarin Plaza.

thanks for the dope fucking clarification.

I diefnite’y needed that.

bc for a second I did think it was the new sit down joint.

Does that mean the erratic hour’ed fucking coffee joint with the pandan tea leaf latte has now closed that used to be located inside of Scoops in the same plaza in Chinatown ???

if so, then that’s a despondent day surely.


Thanks Sgee.

But from your post (about the customer seasoning the dish themselves), I’ve heard from friends and seen posts where they feel this is lazy. It’s like giving the customer a plate of, say, unseasoned Italian Pasta and then leaving condiments on the table to let them add the Basil, Pecorino / Mozzarella, Oregano, etc. themselves. Thoughts?

I’ve never been, just curious what you felt about it.

For myself, I’m no expert on Pad Thai, so I don’t know if I’d trust myself with adding the right amounts of the various seasonings to make it “authentic” or even just the “intended vision” of the dish?

Go on, chowseeker1999, take the plunge, it is pretty simple to do right and hard to truly f-up.
I prefer lots of fish sauce and spicy (I use the powdered red spice on half and the tiny chili spice on the other half), not much sugar.

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I use the condiments in the same manner as Ciao Bob, to adjust heat and salt level. It’s perfectly fine out of the kitchen.

Kinda like the sriracha, hoisin and fish sauce at pho joints, fine if you don’t use them.

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Fixed the title, thanks for pointing that out

Coffee joint still open yesterday

Thanks CiaoBob, Sgee.

Yah if it was more like extra hoisin sauce or sriracha sauce on the side, I’d feel more confident. But you’re mentioning fish sauce, sugar, spices, which is what my friend told me about (if I remember correctly):

For something like Pad Thai, the sugar, fish sauce, spices, heat all are kinda integral right? Granted this was months ago, but I remember my buddy saying that his Pad Thai wasn’t really singing / great until he added some of the sugar, fish sauce and spices.

I think it’s an Asian noodle cultural phenomenon - condiments on the side to customize. I’ve experienced it in SE Asian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese noodles.

I think Pho is the best analogy, I need mine with extra fish sauce, lime, sriracha, basil, sliced chili and sprouts. My wife just adds fish sauce and basil to hers.


Just like tasting food before adding salt or pepper, this pretty much how it’s done at most reputable Phat Thai stands in Thailand. It’s a Thai ritual.

Understand people thinking it’s lazy, but one should probably view Thai food through the Thai cultural lense (or any culture for that matter). Is that really what Andy Ricker is known for? Sacrificing authenticity in favor of pad thai shortcuts? Dumbing it down? Anyone ever tried to make his Pok Pok Chicken? It has so many steps, I can’t wait to just walk in and order the damn thing. Appreciate the fact you can have PT like you have it in Thailand, not like in the thousands of Americanized joints all over town.

TonyC would know better than us as he’s probably had PT extensively in more regions, but our experience is generally regions have their own bent whether it’s more tamarind (North), more sugar (Bangkok), more acid (South), etc. and if the stand is consistent, you know without tasting.

Love to hear what everyone puts on their Phat Thai @PokPok Phat Thai.

We like medium on the fish sauce, light on the chili, heavy on the chili vinegar and lime.

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he erratic hour’ed fucking coffee joint with the pandan tea leaf latte

That was a cog coffee “pop-up” And yes, it was odd. Can’t wait for Cog to open up their real outpost in DTLA.


the customer seasoning the dish themselves), I’ve heard from friends and seen posts where they feel this is lazy.

But there are condiments on an Italian table as well. The dish is ‘finished’ but it’s up to you to adjust the spice and any other savoriness you want to bring. Many cusines do this - Korean, Mexican. It’s up to the individual diner to make their own choices on heat and spice. It’s never considered a knock against the chef.


Thanks for the report! We went shortly after they opened and we liked the meal, but was a bit disappointed by the flavors. I found the Pad Thai missing the nuance of tamarind. And the Pad See Ew was just flat. We both liked Sticky Rice 2’s renditions better. We did however LOVE their Crispy Omelet. Best rendition in the city and SUPER crispy.


Thanks revets2!

From what you’re saying it sounds like I just need to be better educated on Pad Thai nuance the way it is Thailand. Good to know.

I can only share what I feel on the subject (I’m no expert!), but I’d be at a loss to know how to season and truly finish Pad Thai to properly taste a traditional Northern Thai Pad Thai vs. Bangkok Pad Thai or Southern Thai Pad Thai as you’re mentioning.

But I guess that’s part of the experimenting and flavoring? I’m interested for sure, just asking everyone about the seasoning process and thoughts in general about this.

I think every region has their own nuance, so you can play to your preference.

Enjoy the experiment!

Sure he’s a farang, but in certain cases, I almost think it takes an outsider to appreciate the culture as much as he does. He has such a desire to maintain the authenticity; he isn’t reinterpreting things, he isn’t adding extra sugar, he is copying them as best as he can from the best places he’s been. Sometimes he gets his dishes spot on, sometimes he doesn’t. But I think he deserves as much respect as any Thai chef.

Heck, even in Thailand, people don’t care this much about their food. There are very few places in Bangkok that are as comprehensive and dedicated to the original dishes as Pok Pok. When I was living there two years ago, I can only remember three-four places really attempting things Ricker is attempting. Were those places better? Maybe. But is Ricker’s better than a hell of a lot of places in Bangkok. Yes.

But fuck pad thai :wink:

Well said!

i think everyone needs to get over this obsession with who is cooking the food. it
either tastes good or it doesn’t, and all these questions of “authenticity” raise the spectre
of a kind of casual bigotry too often found in food “writers.”