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Pok Pok Northwest Preview, NW Portland

Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon

Portland favorite Pok Pok just opened a new location in the northwest. Hurray, there’s a Pok Pok in my hood! This is Andy Ricker’s fourth Pok Pok in town, and this one serves Thai and Vietnamese favorites from the original location on Division St, plus some brand new dishes. While the beloved Division St location offers a unique hole-in-the-wall ambiance, the new Pok Pok NW is bright and airy with natural light, exposed brick, and colorful accents.

When Pok Pok announced the soft opening of the NW location, I was lucky enough to snag one of the preview reservations (where the food is on the house) available to the general public. (I’d like to take a moment and thank my speedy cat-like reflexes.) We arrived a few minutes early for our reservation, and a group had already gathered outside, eagerly waiting for the “nope” sign to change to “open”.

Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon
Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon

At Pok Pok, the dishes are meant to be enjoyed family-style, and I recommend 2-3 dishes for a party of two depending on how hungry you are. In the past, we’ve ordered 3 dishes and left Pok Pok stuffed. The flavors and textures are on point, and unlike many American Thai restaurants, it’s not unpleasantly greasy. At Pok Pok, everything is balanced and refined. I’m always surprised by how hearty the food is, even the salads. There are many Pok Pok dishes that aren’t veg-friendly, but your server can help you navigate the menu and request substitutions. If you have no idea where to start on the extensive drink menu, I’d go for one of the refreshing drinking vinegars.

Thai Street Food at Pok Pok Northwest Portland

Papaya salad ($9.50) is a classic Central Thai dish that I never pass on, and they make it to order in the pok pok (mortar and pestle). We ordered the salad sans fish sauce and shrimp. Pro tip: you have to get the papaya salad with the chili. The heat slowly, but surely sneaks up on me every time, but it’s totally worth it.

Vegan Papaya Salad, Pok Pok Northwest Portland

We also shared the khao soi with tofu ($15.50). Even though it’s a noodle soup, it’s lighter on the noodles, heavier on the toppings than I had expected. The tofu soaks up the mild curry flavor of the broth nicely, while the mushrooms are so meaty, I’ve had to do a double take. The noodles are a bouncy al dente, and the curry broth is slurpable.

Vegan Khao Soy with Tofu, Pok Pok Northwest Portland
Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon
Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon
Pok Pok Northwest Portland, Oregon

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    meredith{MarthaChartreuse}
    May 4, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I headed in opening weekend and the staff did such a great job, despite being so new and how busy they were. Looking forward to having this in my hood.

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      Sounds like your experience was just like mine! It’s great to have another Pok Pok in town!

  • Reply
    Melissa Chee
    May 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I am definitely going to need to check this spot out! :)

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      Yes, you gotta go!

  • Reply
    Create/Enjoy
    May 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve actually never been to Pok Pok but heard good things!! Glad there’s a new location!

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      You should definitely give them a try!

  • Reply
    Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama
    May 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    WHAT! I didn’t know they opened a new Pok Pok! It looks adorable – I can’t wait to try it out.

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      YESSS, you gotta go ASAP!

  • Reply
    Hillary Harper
    May 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I live in NW so I couldn’t be more excited about this spot! I’ll be having the sticky wings way too often ;)

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      You’re definitely not alone in being excited about the new NW spot!

  • Reply
    Maxene
    May 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Beautiful pictures Waz! i love papaya salad and khao soy so much! so nice to now have an additional restaurant in PDX, hopefully this additional spot helps to lessen the wait!

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks Maxene! I’ve actually never experienced a wait at the original location because I went during off hours. I believe this new location takes reservations too. :)

  • Reply
    Mitzie Mee
    May 5, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I’ve wanted to try Pok Pok the last couple of times I’ve been to New York, but I’ve never managed to get the timing right . Either I’m there too early or too late. Would like to try one of the Pok Poks in their home city. Curious about how they balance the som tam flavor without fish sauce. Do they use ordinary salt and sugar in the dressing?

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Guess you’ll have to plan a trip to Portland soon! ;) Whatever it was in the papaya salad, it was still plenty tasty without the fish sauce. I’d love for them to give vegan fish sauce a try though!

  • Reply
    Mary
    May 5, 2017 at 9:44 am

    WAIT, WHAT?! Pok Pok in NW?! I had no idea! This changes everything! So exciting!

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Yesss! I love how everyone is so excited about the new NW location. :D

  • Reply
    Renee | The Good Hearted Woman
    May 7, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I love all the light in the new space! Your tip about ordering the papaya salad with the chili is spot on, too.

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      The light in the new space is really lovely. Such a different feel from the original, but with the same great flavors.

  • Reply
    Erin
    May 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I didn’t know you lived nearby! I’m also in NW and checked this out a few weeks ago. While I was a bit bummed there weren’t more noodle and rice dishes, we had a good meal and I’m excited they are in the neighborhood!
    But somewhat speaking of, have you been to Kati Thai, the vegan Thai restaurant on Division yet?!

    • Reply
      admin
      May 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      I also wish there are more noodle options… I could eat noodles all day, everyday, haha. I’ve been to KaTi twice, and it’s fantastic. Normally, I’m not a big fan of pad Thai, but I really enjoyed theirs. You gotta go!

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