In recent months, I've made Pok Pok and its chef Andy Ricker the target of much of my public antagonizing. The statements themselves are half-joking, but the sentiment is real. A friend recently asked me to explain why I dislike Ricker and Pok Pok so much. Was it an issue of "authenticity"? The fact that he is White? The food itself? As with all things, it's an intersection. I try to explain below:
Here's an exercise: Think of a Thai dish. First one that comes to mind. Ready? Was it pad thai? I'm betting it was, unless you happen to be of Thai descent (and can name a much more relatable favorite dish), have Thai friends, or only really started eating Thai food in the past couple of years (when a myriad of styles, chefs, and restaurants have started to popularize other dishes and even regional Thai cuisine!)
It is a quintessential Thai food. I think it's even the official national food of Thailand. But y'know what? I'm all Pad(Thai)ded out.