Pok Pok Phat Thai is one of Andy Ricker’s restaurants. I wrote about the predecessor when it was called Pok Pok Wings and specialized in chicken wings, which you can see here. However, it changed this year and now focuses on pad thai because apparently the kitchen was too small and was making it difficult to cook the wings properly (the kitchen is tiny). I’m not going to give too many details about the restaurant because I already did in the original review.
Here’s what we got:
Phat Thai Ruam (Pad Thai with Shrimp and Pork):
This is supposed to be the authentic version of pad thai. Its rice noodles cooked in rendered pork fat with tamarind, fish sauce, palm sugar, peanuts, dried tofu, dried shrimp, preserved radish, egg, garlic chives, bean sprouts and chili powder. You can choose it plain, with shrimp, with ground pork or with both. I got the version with both shrimp and ground pork. It’s much drier and less sweet than the sloppy sauce-y Americanized version. The flavors are a bit subtle although it’s not bland by any means. The various condiments were all quite good and definitely make the dish better. Overall, while I’m no pad thai expert, I found the dish to be pretty tasty and a little extra fish sauce and chili powder definitely kicks it up a notch. 7.75/10
Kuaytiaw Khua Kai (Stir Fried Rice Noodles):
This is wide rice noodles stir fried in rendered pork fat with chicken, cuttlefish, egg and green onions. According to their website this is a Bangkok Chinatown specialty, which makes sense since kuaytiaw is actually a Chinese word for noodles in the Hokkien / Teochew dialect (粿條 guo tiao). Southeast Asia has a ton of Chinese influence (mainly Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese) and Thailand has a substantial Chinese population, which you can read about in this Wiki article. This is somewhat similar to char kway teow which is a common dish in Singapore and Malaysia. Anyhow, it tastes just like it sounds. I liked it a bit better than the phat thai as it had a bit of the smoky “wok hai” type of flavor that you get from cooking food in a very hot wok. Overall, I liked this dish and thought it was good. 8/10
Hoi Thawt (Mussel Broken Crepe):
This is a starch-y broken crepe with steamed mussels, eggs, garlic chives and bean sprouts served with Shark Sri Racha sauce. I’m almost certain that this dish was taken from Teochew Chinese as it tastes very similar to the oyster omelette / crepe you find in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and certain parts of southern China. Although I’d say it’s more similar to the Taiwanese version. Anyhow, it’s sort of starchy, but with lots of crispy bits, egg and mussel and topped with the tangy slightly spicy sauce. I thought this was shockingly good; it actually tastes very similar to what you get in Asia. In fact, this is the only time I’ve had this dish done well in the US. I’ve even gone back three times in total to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke. This is the dish that is worth coming here for. 8.75/10
Overall, I enjoyed this place a lot and it’s definitely a good spot to check out if you’re in the neighborhood.
137 Rivington Street (between Norfolk & Suffolk)
New York, NY 10002