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Tuesday Project: Ike’s Fish Sauce Chicken Wings from Pok Pok, Portland

We’ll cover Portland and Seattle over the next few days, so let’s get things started with the iconic dish of Portland and the best bites of many amazing bites that I sampled on the entire trip. Having visited Andy Ricker’s original Pok Pok in a funky, multi-level hut-restaurant in the middle of the residential Southeast two years ago and treasuring every taste of the wings, I had to re-visit now that Ricker’s superb, rigorously researched Thai cooking is now known nationally and showcased at Pok Pok and Pok Pok Wing (for these wings!) in New York.

Since the bistro was busy eating at Pok Pok last week, we haven’t had time to test the recipe…so we’ll have a companion piece to this next week.

Andy Ricker’s Ike’s Fish Sauce Chicken Wings

The key is the play between fish sauce and sugar, with palm sugar used at the restaurant. The caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce that serves as a second marinade is what provides the wings with a magnificent glaze to enhance the perfect crunch. Feel free to add spices like they do at the restaurant. There, you haven’t full enjoyed the messy wings if you don’t have at least five napkins torn up apart after completing the plate. Ike, by the way, was a daytime cook for Ricker at Pok Pok.

Be sure to garnish with pickled carrots, pickled jicama, cucumbers, and some mint leaves to enhance the experience and calm the fire roaring in your palette. Some Pok Pok drinking vinegar is the perfect companion to break through the sweet-umami flavor of sugar meeting fish sauce.

Pok Pok is the type of restaurant you want around the corner to try everything on the fascinating menu. Yet, even if you came weekly, you would always get an order of these wings. Lucky Portland and now lucky New York too.

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