Pok Pok NY - Brooklyn

Pok Pok NY, Brookly, NY
While in Stroudsburg, PA during my college years I was introduced to the wonderfully flavorful, at times intensely spiced, and always satisfying world of Thai cuisine. Up until then, my culinary experience into Asian food was comprised mainly of Japanese and Chinese offerings - which to be fair are fantastic in their own right. Something though about the flavor profiles of Thai food, the use of fish sauce, Thai Chili, basil and other ingredients that I, at the time, considered unorthodox - would lead to my biggest food obsession. Said obsession could best be distilled into the experience provided by one restaurant in particular - Pok Pok.

The Grub:

Now, Thai food is very readily available throughout the New York Metro area, but that wasn't always the case. With so many competing for the titles of "most authentic" or "best" or "most traditional" (especially if you have taken a walk down 9th Ave. in Hell's Kitchen) it may be hard to decide which one to try. Let me go ahead and make the decision easy for you - if you happen to find yourself in Brooklyn, or on vacation to NYC and you love Thai, you owe it to yourself to stop by Pok Pok. It is far and away the best, most traditional, most authentic Thai food experience you can have - bar none. From the ingredients to the preparation and cooking methods, you couldn't possibly get more "legit" if you tried. Their green papaya salad or Papaya Pok Pok is one of the best renditions of the dish I have ever tasted - spicy, refreshing and exploding with flavor, it is worth the trip alone in my mind. I suggest though following up with their Neua Naam Tok - an extremely spicy flank steak dish with fish sauce, lime and chili and their Kung Op Wun Sen - head on prawns baked in a clay pot with pork belly. Two dishes so good, it made me want to eat Thai food here exclusively no matter how impractical that may be! One word of warning though, whatever you end up getting it will more than likely be VERY spicy, so be careful if you are even the least bit sensitive!

My Order:

Papaya Pok Pok
Neua Naam Tok
Kung Op Wun Sen
Sticky Rice (2 orders)

The Digs:

Pok Pok has two main locations, one in Brooklyn and one in Portland, Oregon (as well as other restaurants under the same small family name). I have had the opportunity to eat at both locations and there is absolutely no difference in the quality or consistency of the presentation. Staff was courteous and helpful. Its funny, you would expect the Brooklyn location to be smaller than the one in Oregon but the opposite is in fact true. The BK location has a decent amount of seating - just be sure to make a reservation in advance, they get very VERY crowded.

The Nitty Gritty:

Traditional, tasty, Thai. Eat it.

Pok Pok NY
117 Columbia St,
Brooklyn, NY

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