Out of TownPing

!As of January 1, 2013, Ping has closed for renovations. But has not yet re-opened.

Ping is Portland’s answer to modern Asian fare, presenting a seemingly unpredictable blend of various Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine with a distinctly contemporary, North American twist. It is fusion cuisine to be sure. Something we tend to avoid, but this is Portland — a city full of surprises.

(Above: Beer Fish — beer braised whole tilapia fried and served with chilies, soy, garlic and green onions.)

Perched on the corner of Northwest 4th and Northwest Couch street, the stylishly minimalistic Ping sits back humbly into the Chinatown cityscape. The inside exhibits more personality, a mix of loud and subtle colour and patterns with an organized chaos of Asian ghetto and modern American.

(Above: Kitsch decor from Ping throw together a little bit of Asian ghetto and Modern American.)

The menu is a modest size with a good portion favouring street food. We started with the daily special –a fried Tilapia braised in beer and garnished with a light soy sauce, chili pepper and garlic. Ping gets extra points for serving this fish whole: skin, bones, head and all. The tender parts were delectable, while the overcooked portions were grievously tough.

(Top to bottom: 1. Marionberry drinking vinegar. 2. Taiwan beer, FTW.)

Our meal was accompanied by a Marionberry flavoured drinking vinegar: a refreshing selzter concoction with the tartness of a light lemonade, and isn’t as acrid as the drink’s name would suggest. Taiwan Beer, a light (very light) brew I’ve rarely seen outside of Taiwan, paired nicely with the fried fish.

(Above: Kopitiam toast, spread with kaya, a pandanus flavoured coconut jam.)

We finished with a Kopitiam toast which was similar to the Hong Kong style toast and sweetened condensed milk we were more familiar with, but was instead topped with the more viscous, coconut flavoured Kaya spread.

Our meal came to just over $40 including tips. The service was amiable, and the dishes at Ping were enjoyable. We’d certainly look into trying out some of their more street food inspired fare.

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