By Elena Kadvany
Portland's Thai food darling Pok Pok will be popping up on the Peninsula this springUploaded: Feb 20, 2020
Editor's note: The Four Seasons announced on March 11 that the Pok Pok pop-up has been postponed due to "current events" surrounding the coronavirus.
Pok Pok, the nationally renowned Thai restaurant from Portland, Oregon, will be hosting a monthslong pop-up at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto starting in April.
The pop-up — Pok Pok's first ever in the Bay Area — will last through the end of June and will serve both Pok Pok menu items and dishes exclusive to this event, according to the hotel.
Vietnamese fish sauce wings at Pok Pok's original location in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
Andy Ricker opened the first Pok Pok in 2006 after traveling and cooking through Thailand. He went on to win two James Beard awards, one for cooking and the second for food writing, as well as a Michelin star; open more restaurants in Portland, New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas; write three cookbooks; and start a Thai drinking vinegar company. (The New York City and Los Angeles Pok Poks have since closed.) He opened his newest concept, specializing in charcoal-grilled Thai food, in Portland in December.
In an email from his second home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Ricker said the manager of the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii, where he's done events in the past, introduced him to the manager of the Four Seasons Silicon Valley, who was interested in hosting him for a local pop-up.
The pop-up menu is still being developed but Ricker said to expect Thai salads, curries and noodle dishes.
"It'll be a mixture of Pok Pok favorites," he said.
Pok Pok's specialties include kai yaang, a half or whole charcoal-roasted chicken stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro, the original inspiration for the restaurant; muu kham waan, Heritage Berkshire pork rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, glazed with soy and sugar, grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens and a spicy chile, lime and garlic sauce; and those famous fish sauce wings — whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Vietnamese fish sauce and garlic and served with do chua (pickled vegetables).
Most of Pok Pok's food is meant to be shared family style and accompanied by rice — sticky for northern and northeastern Thai dishes and jasmine for ones from central and southern Thailand.
Sadly, the pop-up isn't an indication of a future Pok Pok Bay Area outpost.
"This is for fun and hopefully a small amount of profit. No plans to open in the Bay Area whatsoever!" Ricker wrote.
The pop-up is scheduled to open on April 3 at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley (2050 University Ave, East Palo Alto).