Post-Pok Pok Thai Food Scene in Portland Flourishes

Over the last few years, Portland's Thai food scene has pretty much been dominated by Andy Ricker's Pok Pok empire. Recently, however, comes the next generation of Thai culinary stars that seek to build off of Ricker's own legacy, while adding some innovative twists of their own. 

Earl Ninsom of PaaDee has become a local favorite for Portland diners, with a back room offering a specialty tasting menu designed by Ninsom to highlight a number of unique Thai flavors. At fellow Thai hot spot Langbaan, reservations, which start at $75, sell out weeks in advance. The menu changes here seasonally and focuses on a regional or culinary theme.

The appreciation of Thai flavors has extended into the take-out world as well, with Portland diners seeking these traditional flavors at a number of local restaurants such as Nong's Khao Man Gai, Khao San, and Chiang Mai. Read More

Small Kingdoms: Finding a Balance Between Traditional and Experimental Flavors With Thai Culinary Force Andy Ricker

Small Kingdoms: Finding a Balance Between Traditional and Experimental Flavors With Thai Culinary Force Andy Ricker

By Courtney WalshWest Coast Editor

Upon first glance, Portland’s own Andy Ricker may not seem a likely candidate for running one of the nation’s most successful Thai culinary empires. Yet with multiple concepts and locations on both coasts, Ricker’s series of Thai restaurants make for one of the most interesting and innovative “small kingdoms” in the country. 

The bi-coastal chef has already published his first cookbook, crafted his own line of drinking vinegars, and received James Beard awards for both his cooking and writing of Thai cuisine, alongside numerous “Restaurant of the Year” awards from a variety of publications. And while Thai traditionalists may balk at the fact that Ricker himself has no familial ties to Thai cuisine, one visit to any one of his restaurants would win over even the most devout fan of classical Thai cuisine.    

So how does he do it?

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