Before I left for Portland, everyone told me I should go to Pok Pok. Then I found out about Ping, their sister restaurant in Chinatown. Then I found out they owned Whiskey Soda Lounge, a bar across from Pok Pok that served drinks as well as selected bar snacks from Pok Pok. Oh, the choices! Go to the original, the sister or a bar where we all know Carina and Minty will have a drink?
As it turned out, we opted for Ping because we were in the area. We put down our names and wandered around the hipstery galleries, caught a show at Backspace, did happy hour at Davis Street Tavern…okay, the wait wasn’t that long but that was our night before heading over to the new speakeasy, Central which ended with doughnuts from Voodoo.
I’m not sure why I didn’t think Ping would have cocktails but they did. I ordered the Calamansi rum punch which had bitter note that I had to get used to. Carina had the yuzu cocktail that was strong on the ginger (a theme for the weekend).
Although Ping seemed like the sort of place people ordered skewer after skewer, we wanted to try a little from each section of the menu. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we weren’t that hungry (blame our earlier happy hour). So we decided to get the grilled baby octopus and Vietnamese style shortribs. You have to get two per order so I found it a bit odd three pieces of shortribs showed up. Hm.
The baby octopus were a bit bland and I ended up using the dipping sauce for the duck noodles with it. I did like how tender the shortrib was.
The eggs were my favorite part of this yarn yai salad. The barely hard-boiled eggs were still warm and contrasted nicely with the cool greens, crunchy beansprouts and aromatic herbs in the salad. I actually could have done without the tofu and shrimp in this.
We were originally going to order the Laksa noodles soup but after I saw the ingredients were similar to ones in our salad, I went for the duck leg noodles- kuaytiaw pet pha lo. Carina and I love tart things. The pickled veggies, the tart broth and the additional acidic sauce made this dish our favorite of the night. My only wish was for more noodles.
But we were too full for desert. More room for cocktails and doughnuts!
102 NW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97209