I can't get enough of their flavored drinking vinegars, which originally sounded so gross to me, but they are remarkably refreshing - tart, tangy and effervescent. I'd recommend the pineapple.
A trip to Pok Pok would not be complete with the Muu Kham Waan, pork neck rubbed with garlic and spices and glazed with soy and sugar. The result is a ridiculous combination of sensations, mouth puckering from citrus flavors and tongue tinged with spice. It's spectacular.
The eggplant (Yam Makheua Yao) makes an appearance at most tables in the restaurant, and while the long hunks of eggplant are fine, it's mostly forgettable, even with bits of dried shrimp and boiled egg. (Just forget it.)
An order of the Sai Ua Samun Phrai comes as a little platter of Chiang Mai sausage, pork rinds, and steamed green bean knots.
The sausage was undeniably flavorful, chock full of lemongrass and herbs, and the green bean knots were just too adorable. I could only imagine the poor kitchen sucker that has to handtie each bean for my enjoyment. (I think I enjoy them all the more with that image in mind, mehehehe.)
Kaeng Hung Leh was easily a new favorite for me, a deliciously sweet, but savory braised pork belly and shoulder curry.
Any braised pork belly dish just reminds me of the Vietnamese dish, thit kho tieu, essentially a caramelized pork belly stew. Each bite of tender, melty fat is a taste of home and a flavor I can always em-braise (cause it's stew-pendous!).
The Laap Pet Isaan is a kind of salad I can get behind because it is approximately 98% meat and 2% greens (including copious amounts of garnish). Can all salads be made with this ratio? Made with duck liver and skin, the meat was a bit gamey, but the texture was meaty and fine.
And definitely one of the top 5 things I ate this year in New York would be this dessert. My life would be complete with a daily bowl of creamy condensed milk ice cream goodness and freshly fried crullers.
A life without this would be a crull one indeed.
Happy New Year !
Han's Nonsensical Rating: If you haven't been, you need to Pok your ass outside their door at 5:45 pm and order the pork neck, the pork belly and dive face first into the condensed milk affogato, and affogatabout any New Year's diets! If you have been, just go again, OK? Life is great!
Pok Pok NY
127 Columbia St