a birthday dinner at Ping Portland

For Joe’s 35th birthday this past week, we headed to Chinatown to dine at P:ng [Ping], sister restaurant to Portland’s famed Pok Pok in Southeast (Chef Andy Ricker is a finalist for the 2011 James Beard Best Chef Northwest award, and Pok Pok was awarded the distinction of 2007 Best Restaurant of the Year), for a celebratory dinner.

Ping is in the perfect downtown location, amidst myriad Chinese restaurants and other Asian-inspired structures in the kitschy part of Portland that isn’t the Southeast (or the Pearl, for that matter), making it completely accessible and easy to grab a reservation on a Tuesday night. The dining room is modest in size, and packs just the right punch of atmosphere with glass-enclosed bamboo trees, wood-paneled walls and an open, centerpiece kitchen where every menu item is made to order. The menu itself invites sampling, as only a few items are intended to stand as entrĂ©es on their own. It was a lovely evening, and our server even arranged a fun birthday surprise for Joe (I supplied the candles).

the interior, from our vantage point

chopsticks

the baby octupus skewer, marinated in limes, chilies, garlic, fish sauce and cilantro

quail egg skewer, wrapped in bacon, with spicy mayo sauce

shishito chili skewer with sea salt

yam khai khem, salted duck egg, with chilies, lime juice, fish sauce, shallots, ginger, chinese celery and cilantro (strogest thing we had, and absolutely for tasting in between bites)

roti dhal, yellow lentil curry and malaysian flatbread

salapao and strawberry drinking vinegar

thai-style steamed bun stuffed with sweet shredded pork and fried shallots

pork collar marinated in giner, honey, soy an black pepper with spicy isaan dipping sauce

yours truly, nibbling on a bit of baby octopus (one of my favorite foods in the world)

dessert, with candles: sweet sticky rice and green ice cream with peanuts

Northwestern Disclosure was in no way compensated for this post.

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