The Story of Chef Andy Ricker of The Pok Pok Thai Empire

When I first started to watch this I was expecting a 12 minutes video of the rise to fame of Andy Ricker, instead what I got was a fascinating hour long documentary about this man, his obsession with Thai food/Thai culture and how it all lead to opening up some of the best Thai restaurants in the United States.

I was in Portland around 2006-7 and ate at the original Pok Pok and loved it.

The first Pok Pok in NYC is literally around the corner from where I live. It started out being about wings and now it’s been re-conceptualized and is about noodles.  I’ve never eaten at his place in Brooklyn: Pok Pok NY and really now after watching this have to make it a priority.

One of the things that made me smile watching this was how apparently Andy and I were neighbors and both love the same hand pulled noodle place on East Broadway.  This video also answered the question I asked after coming upon essence of water bug at a Chinese grocery store a while back.

Mostly though I appreciate, envy, his focus, drive and desire to bring authentic Thai food to American.  I also admire, near the end of the film, where he talks about how it’s not his food, he is cooking Thai people’s food and is trying, and succeeding, at rendering it authentically and accurately. As someone who also fell in love with Thailand and used to go frequently when I had my import business I can really relate to Andy’s story.

Get a glass of wine, bring the bottle just in case you need a refill and spend the hour and watch this really insightful and inspiring documentary about how a farang (blond guy) from Portland became one of the best Thai chef’s in America.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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