Pok Pok Wing – Delicious New Thai Chicken Wing and Other Thai Specialties in the Lower Eastside
**THIS RESTAURANT HAS CHANGED IT’S MENU AND NOW FOCUSES ON PAD THAI**
Pok Pok Wing is the new restaurant opened up by Andy Ricker, who runs a well-known Thai restaurant in Portland. I didn’t actually know very much about him or his restaurant other than they are from Portland. I did a little research and this NYT article has a decent amount of information about him, which you can see by clicking here. Pok pok apparently is the stone mortar, which they use to grind various ingredients.
The restaurant is located in the old Baohaus space on Rivington. It’s tiny and they didn’t change too much except the pictures on the wall, which are of various Thai record covers and ads. You can see what it looks like on their website. I’ve only been getting take-out since I’d rather eat it at my place than at the restaurant, but everyone seems nice and surprisingly I think most of the staff is Thai.
On to the food:
Ike’s Wings (ordered spicy):
These are deep fried whole chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, garlic and sugar. When I say whole chicken wings I literally mean that as they are much bigger than the normal chicken wings you get when you order buffalo wings. They are nicely crispy on the outside, but not overly crispy or fried. The meat is tender and the seasoning is sweet and spicy at the same time and you can definitely taste the garlic. They remind me of Korean chicken wings a little bit and I couldn’t decide if I like them better or not. I do think I can probably eat more of them than Korean chicken wings which taste awesome at first, but I get sick of them after like three or four. I thought these were very good overall and comparable or better than any of the other “Asian” chicken wings out there. I definitely recommend ordering them spicy. 8.5/10
Papaya Pok Pok (added salted black crab, Isaan style with pla ra and dry chilis):
This is som tum, which is a papaya green salad with tomatoes, long beans, Thai chili, lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce, garlic, palm sugar, dried shrimps, peanuts, salted black crab, pla ra (fermented fish sauce) and dry chilis. The version here is basically the traditional version with nothing particularly different about it, which is fine by me since it’s one of my favorite Thai dishes. It was a little more on the sour and tangy side compared to most versions I’ve had and it was actually surprisingly quite spicy which I was pleased with as I was expecting them to dumb it down due to the neighborhood and crowd, I wouldn’t say it’s Thai spicy, but it’s way spicier than most Americans would want. I thought it was pretty decent, but I don’t think it’s as good as the better versions I’ve had in NY at places like Zabb Elee. 7.5/10
Khao Man Som Tom:
This is a combination with som tum (green papaya salad) served with coconut rice topped with sweet shredded pork that has been cooked in palm sugar and black soy sauce topped with fried shallots and cilantro. The som tum didn’t have the salted crab, pla ra and dried chilis, which meant it was lighter in flavor and much less spicy than the other version I had. I would ask them to make it spicier next time. The coconut rice was quite nice, it was fluffy and had good coconut flavor. I was surprised at how good it tasted. The pork was nicely tender and had good flavor. However, it was a bit too sweet if it was a little less sweet it would’ve gone from good to really good. I really liked the fried shallots on top of it. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I wish the pork was a little less sweet. 8/10 (7/10 for som tum, 7.75/10 for the pork and 8.25/10 for the coconut rice)
Pok Pok Som Tum Drinking Vinegars:
This was various fruit flavored vinegars that are mixed with soda water. They had tamarind, honey, apple and pomegranate favors. These drinks were quite interesting as I’ve never really had anything like this. I tried the tamarind and the pomegranate. The vinegar is both sweet and sour, but not super sweet or sour. The tamarind was more sour and the pomegranate was more sweet. It went really well with the soda water. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I really liked it and found myself wanting more after I finished the drink. I definitely recommend trying one of these. 8.5/10
Overall, I like this place and it’s definitely a great addition to the neighborhood.
137 Rivington St (between Norfolk St & Suffolk St)
Manhattan, NY 10002
This is always in my pocket list but my list is a mile long to digest. I am going to PokPok this weekend and nothing can stop me. My recent favorite Thai is in Hells Kitchen, pure thai cook house. The restaurant has the magic charm to call me back over and over. I highly recommend the seafood salad and fried rice noodle dish. Make sure you order thin rice noodle (mai-fun) instead of flat rice noodle (ho-fun). woo, pure thai is definitely addictive.
ah interesting, never been there i’ll give it try
go check my post on zabb elee, that’s been my go to thai place in mahattan
btw since i tried pok pok the first time, i’d had some more mixed experiences where the wings were smaller and slightly overcooked and other times when they were just as good as the first time as an fyi