Rodell on Pok Pok: A meditation on why we should get over ourselves, enjoy the food and not mind a lecture on Thai food by thespians


Uh oh, where’s @TonyC? :wink:

So BRod mostly ordered things I/we didn’t. The thing she didn’t enjoy is one of the things that sucked the most that day (khao soi). Clearly this is all our faults, and not Chef Rickers. “You’re ordering wrong”, FTC. “Our khao soi is the Hayat fried chicken of luv2eat.”

of note 1: BRod loves her some cocktails. No mention of cocktails here.

NB2: I’ve done the Chiang Mai khao soi crawl (as many others here surely might have as well). Not one bowl was bland. Saying khao soi “ought” to be bland is like saying pho ga ought to be bland. I mean, what the flying fuck does that even mean? The bowl I had “that day” was destroyed by sweetness. That’s not bland, it was just gross. I don’t want khao soi as dessert.

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bastard. now I have go erase my comment.

original LAW review here.

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is the Pok Pok khao soi really $16.75?

FWIW, I enjoyed dinner at Pok Pok. Most everything was quite good to very good but muted in spice - I did not have khao soi (or any noodles) though.
I enjoyed the cocktails and the good beer choices.
Sure it is pricier than the Mom 'n Pops but the ingredients are too and that Full Liquor Lic. is not cheap.
I agree with @TonyC - having had plenty of KS in Northern Thailand, “bland” is hardly the word I would use for what I ate there; sure you can add extra heat/citrus/sour/vinegar flavors to your taste, but it starts off packing a punch.

My take on much of his food is that I think he has toned down the spice level on many dishes to avoid returns to the kitchen - not out of some “austerity-authenticity-ethos” that does not exist in the Thailand I have visited.

I find it to just be early kitchen inconsistency. Went once and things were bland. Second time, exact same item had a legitimate and good kick.

Yes. It’s a big time ripoff, stick with the specialty dishes there. The excuse for the khao soi being bland is ridiculous. It’s just not a good dish. Go to Pailin for that.

Hear, hear!

i have not been to pok pok. this rodell person still can’t write her way out of
a paper bag.
what a turgid read.

Yes. But in its defense, it’s a massive bowl, close to twice the size of Thai bowls. And they use Mary’s chicken. Again, it’s not even the price. We’re already paying for $12 bowls of ramen, $16 for burgers, etc., NBD.

I haven’t been to Pok Pok, but when I lived in Portland for 1 year (the year Portlandia started, in fact) the ladyfriend and I would go over to the whiskey bar across the street, where they’d bring you the fish-sauce wings from Pok Pok. It was always a soulcrushing wait for the restaurant itself and all we really wanted were the wings anyway.

Whatever else he’s doing, those wings were amazing. So much so I found a copycat recipe and they’ve become a ‘special day’ thing to make on a weekend.

If it’s not as good, or at least no better, than Sapp’s or luv2eat, why would I go all the way down to chinatown just to pay more?

Call me a heathen but IDGAF about sourcing if it doesn’t taste as good as the $7 version down the street.

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What?! Now you’re actually defending Pok Pok?! :wink:

The khao soi sucks.

Pork belly + shoulder curry really good. Sausage really good. Stick with those 2.

Pork collar good. Duck larb also very good.

These 4 you probably couldn’t find a better version in Thaitown due to the ingredient quality.

Clams super spicy. Average. Special steamed fish not bad. But probably not Thai. Jerky was meh.

Everything else was average and not really worth trying again.

it was “ok”; certainly not any better than Pailin’s, or Lacha’s, or Cancoon’s, which also has killer sai krok.

I’d second that.

Now the food at Pok Pok is “ok” and not “crappy tasting”?

@TonyC does Palin have duck larb or are you comparing a duck vs pork dish?

Next time you hit Pok Pok for drinks get an order of the Chang Mai sausage and the pork belly. Maybe you’ll pull a 180 like with SN1 :wink:

I’m not a Pok Pok fan, bu you don’t even need to search in those other categories for comparisons. Night + Market has been charging $14 for a portion half the size of Pok Pok’s, and no one ever batted an eyelash.

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Is this carefully worded to exclude Night + Market and Isaan Station, since they both technically fall outside of Thaitown?

You can include them.

The pork collar is totally different than Night + Market. The Pok Pok version highlights the texture of the pork collar cooked medium rare and isn’t fatty at all. Love the N+M version too.

The sausage is much better at Pok Pok vs Night + Market and I was comped the N+M version.

I’m not aware of anyone doing duck larb. I think the switch in protein generates a unique flavor and texture profile.

The pork belly and shoulder curry is just flat out good by any standard.

The care was separating those 4 dishes from the rest of the menu which I agree you could readily find a better and cheaper version in town.