Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Sok Sab Bai

2625 SE 21st Ave
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM, Tuesday through Friday
All Night Happy Hour: Mondays

In early November, we were invited to attend Chowzter's North American Tastiest Fast Feasts Awards Ceremony in San Francisco. It was a great experience that allowed us to meet food bloggers from major cities across the continent, eat all sorts of deliciousness available in and around San Francisco, AND accept the award--on behalf of the city of Portland--for this year's Foodiest City. Chowzter, along with so many of the other food bloggers, were most impressed with Portland's Food Carts. It was all they could talk about. Food carts, food carts, food carts.

I love the food cart concept. But I love happy hour more. And so many food carts don't offer happy hour. Thankfully, the best of the best become brick and mortars. And when they do, the best of the best become better by offering discounts on food and drink daily (or at least on weekdays). Sok Sab Bai did just that. They offer discounts on a long list of food items and a few drinks, weekdays between three and six.

According to their website, the only discounted drinks during happy hour are beer($4) and wine($5). I could have easily settled on a glass of house red, but when we learned that they had recently upgraded their liquor license and had an official cocktail special we both ordered one without hesitation. Special for that day was something like a whiskey sour but made with tamarind. It was good, but I would replace the maraschino cherry with something a bit more classy.

With plans for a second happy hour, we tried our best to not go overboard when ordering food. That was not easy. The food menu is SO very long and deciding on just a few items was nearly impossible. We chose one item to share--the house pickles($2)--and each ordered two things for ourselves. I went with the vegetarian version of the banana blossom salad ($5) and the caramelized tofu ($4).

The banana blossom salad was fresh and delicious and probably one of the healthiest foods I have ever found on a happy hour menu. There were so many vegetables and they all complemented one another so well. The salad is a mix of banana blossom, bell peppers, bean sprouts, radishes, onion, mint, and shallots. Although it is usually served with chicken, mine was made with tofu.

No where near as healthy as the salad, the caramelized tofu was another vegetarian option available at a discount during happy hour. I've had fried tofu at many locations, but never before with a palm sugar glaze. There was a bit of the glaze drizzled over the friend tofu skewers for presentation and plenty more for dipping in the accompanying bowl. I loved every bite and would definitely order these as an appetizer when back for lunch or dinner. It's a great finger food and something that I could easily see help sway some of those who might not yet recognize just how versatile tofu can be.

Although the caramelized tofu was served with a small garnish of the same house pickles, I was thankful for the small plate that we had ordered. There was a variety of vegetables loaded up on that plate and every one of them good enough to make me want more.

Happy Hour is also offered ALL night at Sok Sab Bai every Monday as a part of their daily promotions. On Tuesdays, they have discounts for students and the service industry. Wednesday is "check in" day and on Thursdays they have discounted prices on all food items as a part of "Throwback Thursday." And then on Sunday, you can cure a hangover with a soup so special it's only available one day a week.

I'm excited to return to Sok Sab Bai in the near future, no matter the day of the week.

Food: Meets
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds


Sok Sab Bai on Urbanspoon

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