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Photos: A Look At Chinatown's New Pok Pok Phat Thai
Andy Ricker's hotly anticipated Pok Pok Phat Thai opened on New Year's Eve in Chinatown's Far East Market, and just like his Portland and New York restaurants, there are long lines and even longer waits for your food.
The focus at the first of two of Ricker's Chinatown restaurants to open is, as you might have guessed by the name, on the Thai street food staple, pad thai. There are other hawker musts too, like hoi thawt (a crepe filled with mussels, egg, garlic, green onions, and bean sprouts), phat sii eew (a Chang Mai street food made of wide rice noodles, broccoli, pork, and soy sauce), and shrimp chips, as well as Pok Pok's ubiquitous and delicious drinking vinegar sodas. If you're after the famous Pok Pok wings or incredible khao soi, though, you'll have to wait until the opening of the full blown Pok Pok L.A. restaurant in the former Fu Ling space, slated to open later this year.
You'll want to add a variety of the condiments available to your pad thai before heading to your table outside; here, the dish is made in an intentionally basic style—that means you'll need to adorn with chilies, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice to make it pop. And be sure to keep an eye out for the specials, which change regularly and often sell out quickly, like the muu khaprao khai dao—minced pork with basil and fried eggs with kicked up with plenty of garlic, chiles, fish sauce, soy sauce served on jasmine rice—a hit brought down from the Portland location to its new L.A. outpost.
Our group found ourselves huddled over the outdoor picnic tables decked out with Pok Pok's signature blue floral vinyl tablecloths for over 30 minutes waiting for our order, which is admittedly a long wait, but the restaurant is still getting it's bearings since they just opened this week. If you find yourself in a similar situation, there's plenty to do in the vicinity, like tchotchke shopping at the various Chinese shops in the center, or a stop by Scoops and Cognoscenti across the pathway for a pre pad thai treat. Dessert first is a universal language, after all.
Here's a look at what's on offer.