If you’re in America’s Pacific Northwest and you like Southeast Asian food — specifically Thai cuisine — then you’ve got to make your way to Pok Pok Whiskey Soda Lounge. That’s the name of Andy Ricker’s restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I haven’t been there, but it sounds like my kind of place: simple, savory Thai food served in a casual atmosphere.
Pok Pok isn’t a conventional Thai restaurant like you’d usually find in the US. It’s a “food garden” with indoor and outdoor seating. And the menu doesn’t include Thai staples that are common in the West, like pad thai and green chicken curry, but rather regional food from Thailand’s north and northeast. Pok Pok was voted The Oregonian‘s 2007 restaurant of the year. (Click here for a YouTube video tour of Pok Pok compliments of the Oregonian.)
Owner Andy Ricker — who learned about Thai cuisine during his travels here — was recently interviewed by Lynne Rossetto Kasper for the excellent Splendid Table radio show. You can find the episode here, and here’s a direct link to the mp3.
The segment starts at 14 min., 40 sec. and goes to about 24 min.
(Thanks to Austin Bush — an Oregonian who knows a thing or two about Thai food himself — for the link.)