The annual “Taste Of” series events started off the year with a dinner trip to Pok Pok, a Portland restaurant that showcases street food from Thailand and other countries in South East Asia. The event took place Sept. 14. Students who signed up in the CIC were provided with transportation and $20 worth of food at Pok Pok.
“I thought Pok Pok would be a really fun choice because it focuses on street food,” senior Nicole Szanto, the Linfield Activities Board off-campus culture chair, said in an email. “Every culture has its own cuisine. People know what Thai food and Vietnamese food are, but they may not know what the street food in these places is like.”
According to Szanto, Pok Pok began as a food cart in 2005 and became so popular that it quickly grew and expanded. The chef at Pok Pok, Andy Ricker, recently won the James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in the Northwest, and the restaurant has been seen on the Food Network’s television show “Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Freshman Taemin Hara said that he enjoyed Pok Pok’s food and family-style restaurant setting.
“The restaurant’s atmosphere was good. It was just a little crowded,” Hara said in an email. “The foods were very delicious and spicy. I ordered spicy chicken wings and shrimps. The chicken wings were the best chicken I have ever eaten.”
Szanto said that the students who participated in the event enjoyed the food at Pok Pok. She was enthusiastic about the authenticity of the food.
“There were no staples like you see at the usual restaurants like Pad Thai, curry, or pho, it’s all food you would find on the streets or pubs of South East Asia,” Szanto said in an email. “The water was even flavored with pandanus leaf, which is apparently a staple in northern Thailand, and it gave the water a toasted peanut-y flavor.”
The “Taste Of” series of events is very popular, according to Szanto, because it is an affordable, yearly series that has built up a good reputation among Linfield students who have participated in its events.
The series has featured many different kinds of food in the past including Indian, German, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Japanese and Hawaiian food, and it will continue to give students a chance to sample the favorite dishes of many more cultures in the future.
There are usually two “Taste Of” events per month. The next planned “Taste Of” trip, “Taste of Portland,” will be held Sept. 28. The trip will include pizza and soda at Hot Lips and a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts.
Sharon Gollery/Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.