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Ping – The Latest from the Owner of Pok Pok

By: Laura Sabo  Heading to our usual favorite Portland China Town haunt, Good Taste, my husband and I saw the sign for Ping. Being the adventurous sort, we looked at each other and said, let’s try it. Opened last February, Ping is the latest creation from the owner of Portland’s beloved Pok Pok.
Since we had tasted the delicacies that Pok Pok has to offer, how could this be bad?  
From the outside, no one would ever suspect what lurks inside. Housed in the former China Town favorite, Hung Far Low, I’d describe Ping as a hiply-decorated skewer city. Ping’s décor gives off a vibe of sitting in a cool Taiwanese restaurant. Laminated black and white tablecloths are reminiscent of Asian newspaper, recycled wood dons the walls, while vintage radios found in an abandoned store down the street grace another wall. The corner tables have tiny wood shelves holding matching antique-like lamps and sheets of rice paper drape like billowing clouds above the open kitchen.

While there are salads, noodle dishes and snacks such as deep-fried tiny fish and shrimp chips, skewers are king here. A minimum order of two per menu item is posted. With prices ranging from $2.00 for muu ping — pork shoulder skewer marinated in garlic, fish sauce, coconut milk and sugar — to $3.50, the baby octopus skewer infused with lime, chilies, garlic, fish sauce and cilantro, you can order and share many. A welcoming touch is the condiment bowls holding a black pepper, sea salt and lime substance and lip-smacking hot pepper sauce to pour over the morsels. Vessels, not glasses, of water arrive at each table in case of tongue flare-ups.

After eating our way through numerous skewers, the Kuaytiaw Khua Kai kept calling to us. The dish was easily shared by two and is a spicy array of wide rice noodles with chicken, green onion and scrambled egg stir fried in garlic oil and dusted with chile powder. All this for a mind blowing $6.00. This is the stuff of dreams. No wonder Ping was named Rising Star of 2009 in the Oregonian’s Diner Guide.

102 NW 4th Avenue, Portland
(503) 229-7464
Hours weekdays 11:00-10:00, Saturday 4:00-10:00
Happy Hour weekdays 2:00-5:30; 4:00-5:30 Saturdays
Closed Sunday

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