We’ve got a lot of transplant restaurants moving to New York City lately, but one that I have been very interested in trying is Pok Pok Wing from Portland, Oregon.
If you can’t guess from the name, Pok Pok’s Wings small menu is focused on Vietnamese style fried chicken wings. Available sides are spicy, green papaya salad (papaya pok pok), plain sticky rice or coconut rice. Another main dish option is Khao Man Som Tam, which is the same green papaya salad with shredded pork, topped with fried shallots and cilantro.
Since it was my first time there, I tried the Wing Special, which includes three wings, the green papaya salad, and plain sticky rice.
The green papaya salad was a lovely combination of sweet, tart, and spicy. While the veggies were sufficiently crunch, the papaya was a little limp and felt overdressed with sauce. It was still tasty though. For those of you that can’t handle spice, I recommend eating the salad with the plain sticky rice.
As for the wings, I thought they were fine. They’re rather large; so if you’re by yourself, three is more than enough. The wings are marinated in fish sauce, garlic, and sugar. After the wings are fried, they’re tossed with more caramelized fish sauce and garlic.
I wanted to like these wings more than I did. It doesn’t matter to me what they’re marinated or tossed in, wings cannot be dry. These were. Also I would have wanted crispier skin on the chicken. The sauce was tasty, if not a little too salty. I thought I asked for spicy, but I didn’t get much spice at all from what I tasted.
One of the more unique items on Pok Pok Wing’s menu is a type of drink I’d never heard of before. They’re called drinking vinegars.
Essentially, it’s a vinegar-syrup that’s added to soda water. You have to stir it pretty vigorously to make sure it’s mixed in. At first taste, it’s sweet. In my case, it was a nice tamarind flavor. At the end, the sour portion comes through on your tongue. I think I liked it. It’s rather different, so I highly recommend you try it.
I enjoyed Pok Pok Wing. If I’m in the area, I would stop by for a snack, but I don’t think it’s serving some of the better Asian-inspired wings in the city.
Pok Pok Wing
137 Rivington Street
New York, NY