Earlier this month, I went to Portland, Oregon to visit my sister and her husband! Portland is a pretty cool little big city (it kind of reminds me of a more hipster Pittsburgh) and is known for its rose gardens, the Trail Blazers, and most importantly, its food trucks! Portland has over 400 food carts in bunches around the city, and I was pretty excited to try a few.
My brother-in-law and I explored the cluster at SW 10th and Alder Ave. which had over 20 food carts in a small 2 block area. There were tons of ethnic options here – Chinese, Thai, Indian, Korean, Mexican, you name it. Everything is around the $5-10 range for a lunch, and I’m somewhat glad they don’t have something like this where I’ll be working in Chicago… I would be too lazy to ever make my own lunch if I had this as my backup plan!
My bro-in-law was craving Indian, so he got a lunch meal at New Taste of India. This consisted of basmati rice, naan, tandoori chicken, chicken curry, and turnip masala for $6.
I got a pulled pork sandwich from A Little Bit of Smoke for $6. You can choose what kind of sauce you want – vinegar, red, or mustard. I got red, which the worker there described as “vinegar-based with a little cayenne pepper, but not enough to burn your mouth off.”
But the food cart highlight of the trip was definitely when I went to Nong’s Khao Man Gai a few days later. Nong’s Khao Man Gai definitely follows the rule of doing one thing and doing it really well, since its only dish is the chicken and rice. For $6.50, you can get poached chicken with jasmine rice that’s cooked with ginger, garlic, shallots, and chicken broth. What really makes it is the Khao Man Gai sauce that comes on the side – “fermented soybeans, ginger, garlic, Thai chilies, vinegar, house made syrup, and soy sauce.” The whole meal sounds really simple, and it is! It also comes with a light kale soup.
I will definitely have to check out some more food carts when I visit Portland again! I’ve heard good things about The Whole Bowl, Koi Fusion, Tabor, and Solar Waffle Works, and many more. I also wanted to try Savor Soup House, but on the days I went they never had soups I wanted to try according to their twitter!