Monday, January 30, 2012

Does Pok Pok Wing Deserve the Raves?

All hail Portlandia for bringing us the finest wings in NYC

Why should Korean fried chicken get all the love?

Portland-based Pok Pok Wing has just changed the local playing field with its first NYC outpost. The tiny Thai wing factory took over the old LES pork-bun haven Baohaus (which moved to bigger digs on E 14th St.). And the early buzz has been not just great but phenomenal. Add my two sticky, chili-crusted thumbs-up to the mix.

Try the free pandan water
Spicy Asian wings are an all-time favorite of mine. Crisp in Chicago holds the trophy. I even begged the owner to open in NYC to no avail. Instead, he just went on to win best in the country awards. Which doesn't help us New Yorkers.

Never mind, we now have Pok Pok. Wings are marinated overnight in fish sauce, sugar and garlic. Then deep fried and tossed in another coat of the same marinade kicked up with optional chili paste.

Ike, right, and his inspired recipe
Owner Andy Ricker's inspiration came from his travels throughout Thailand. Returning to Portland, he turned to Vietnamese friend Ike to perfect the flavors. The result, Ike's Wings, is a triumph, with the addictive blend of crispy, sticky sweet, salty, and spicy elements.

Wash 'em down with a mild drinking vinegar ($4) or soothing complimentary pandan water. Pandan is a fragrant tropical plant popular in Southeast Asia. Leaves are soaked in water to create a soft, slightly nutty flavor, perfect for tempering the chicken's saltiness and heat.

First timers should go for the full order of wings ($12.49) - six spicy or regular. They're too good to share, so don't even try. You can share the plenty of Fresh Naps on hand.

Brooklynites, don't despair. Pok Pok NY, a full service restaurant in Red Hook, is in the works this winter.

137 Rivington St. (between Norfolk + Suffolk Sts.)

Pok Pok Wing on Urbanspoon


  1. Yum, yum! Looking forward to the Red Hook location to see what other goodies they send over from Portland:)

  2. This place looks cool and the food yummy! When can we go? :))