Pok Pok: The Drinking Food of Thailand

Andy Ricker, with J.J. Goode. Ten Speed, $35 (272p) ISBN 978-1-60774-773-4
Ricker’s Pok Pok restaurant in Portland, Ore., was so popular that he opened the Whiskey Soda Lounge across the street to handle the overflow. In like manner, his 2013 Pok Pok cookbook was so well received that he has followed it with this nine-chapter collection of snacks inspired by the Whiskey Soda Lounge menu. The Northern Thai tradition of chowing down while boozing up involves foods that are “insistently spicy, salty, chewy, and/or sour.” Ricker offers 50 such delicacies, plus appreciations of rice whiskey and Thai beer. There is a drunken logic to the recipe for “chicken three ways” in that it contains no chicken, just peanuts, shallots, ginger, chiles, and lemongrass. However, there are frog legs in the Northern Thai frog soup, and in a recipe for fried chitterlings pig’s ears get simmered in a tangy stew before being fried until crunchy and dipped into black vinegar. As for the mouse-ear mushroom salad, “mouse ear” is merely a description of a white fungus, sold at Asian markets, that here adds texture to a pork and vegetable salad. Bangkok-based photographer Austin Bush brings street cred to the recipes with full-color shots of outdoor vendors, sour soup, and a variety of chile dips, not to mention pig’s brains in a banana leaf. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Release date: 10/31/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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