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Dec 13, 2011 04:05 PM

Return to Pok Pok

As a frequent visitor to Portland I looked forward to (a few months ago) eating at Pok Pok a restaurant I had never been. I've spent some time in Thailand and thought I had eaten some pretty hot food there so I was surprised at how hot some of the dishes were. In fact I could barely eat them. I realize in a place like this I wouldn't probably be able to request the heat be toned down. Any rec's for good dishes there but not quite so firey?

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  1. The fish sauce wings. Anything off of the grilled meat list. I don't remember the noodle dishes being all that spicy either. Watch out for the clams - I can't remember if it's at Pok Pok or across the street at Whiskey Soda, but one of them has a clam dish that is very, very hot.

    I don't see why you can't ask for the heat to be toned down though... just ask them to use less chilis, or omit them altogether... never hurts to ask.

    Your post reminded me of my first trip to Thailand. My friend and I had the good fortune to share quite a few meals with locals in Bangkok and out in the country. We both thought "Watch out, these guys are going to firebomb us."

    Actually it turned out to be the other way around - out of several dozen folks we ate with, not one of them liked their food as spicy as we did, and to many of them our 'medium spicy' was unbearable!

    6 Replies
    1. re: jonoropeza

      Thanx for your input. I was very excited about going to Pok Pok as some of the best food I've eaten has been in Thailand and I know the chef has been written up for his "authenticity." Any rec's for other ethnic spots in PDX? I've been to some of the restaurants that have gotten a lot of press now trying go a little off the beaten path (if that's possible!).

      1. re: Emily Ford

        I don't know. What do you mean by "ethnic"?

        1. re: Leonardo

          Sorry, meant non americas I guess like japanese, chinese, vietnamese, thai, indian.

          1. re: Emily Ford

            @ Pok Pok - The mussel crepe dish - Hoi Thawt is very good and not spicy. Also the wings can be made not spicy (and they are great). The grilled hen and the pork skewers and the ribs are also not spicy.

            Chiang Mai is my fave Thai place in town. Order off the specials menu for the best stuff.

            I like shlepping to Lake O. for Japanese at Kurata. Great chawanmushi and other stuff, best sushi rice in town.

            Tanuki is a bar with eclectic Japanese-Korean drinking food (a lot of it is spicy, though, you are forewarned). Great sake list, killer omakase deal (the whole table pays a per person price (say $15 or $20) and the food just keeps coming. Food is awesome, but this place is not for everyone. (No kids, no sushi...)

            Hot Pot City is awesome hot pot. Pick a broth then go to the veggie/meat/seafood bar (unlimited). Get condiments, make a dipping sauce, repeat and enjoy. More seafood choices at dinner (and it is a bit more expensive - but only around $17 or so; lunch is around $8). Don't order anything else there, just the hot pot. They have a meat broth that is not spicy at all.

        2. re: Emily Ford

          Hey Emily -

          JillO has posted a good list below. HA VL on 82nd for Vietnamese soup and sandwiches. In the 10th and Alder cart pod, I like Huong's for pho and bahn mi; 808 Grindz for Hawaiian-inspired food; Nary at Mai Pho is a gem and I've liked almost everything she's made; Samauri Bento makes great Takoyaki. For Chinese I like Om Seafood... when I crave 'Chinese' it's usually shellfish I want and especially crab; Om does crab right. For Indian, I think New Taste of India cart on 4th is as good as I've had here in Portland.


          - J O

      2. Emily, I think it's not unreasonable to ask if a dish can be made less spicy. Sometimes things are precooked spicy but others are made to order. I love green papaya salad but I find Pok Pok's to be very spicy (I'm a whimp). If I order it, I ask for it to be mild (which still is a mild-medium heat). One of my all time favs there is the Khao Soi. The boar collar and fish wings are also a must!