Best Food Trucks of Portlandstorestreamllc
Stop number two on my U.S. food truck tour offered tons of delicious options. Portland boasts over 600 food trucks, and unfortunately, I was unable to visit them all. One thing I really enjoyed, that Boise didn’t offer, was the variety of food truck pods – basically gathering spaces for food trucks and lovers of street food. I spent a lot of time at the pods, and I enjoyed exploring the downtown offerings. I ate a TON of great food, but not every cart made it onto my list. And as before, the trucks are listed in no particular order, so check out the best of Portland!
The Dump Truck Food Cart
Specializing in Asian dumplings, this food truck has been going strong since 2010. The menu is fairly small, with only 5 different dumpling to choose from, but each one is savory and delicious. Julia, one of the owners, learned how to make dumplings while she was living in Beijing, China, where she met her husband and business partner, Reid. Menu even includes vegan-friendly items! I recommend the Down to Earth dumplings – filled with portabella mushrooms, rice noodles, and cabbage. You can find the truck on SW Alder between 10th and 11th from April to October, and in various locations throughout the year.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Nong is the owner’s name; she came to Portland in 2003, but didn’t open her food cart business until 2009. Khao Man Gai is a traditional Thai dish of chicken and rice. And that’s the whole menu – Nong likes to keep it simple, and it has worked. She now has three locations in Portland – two food carts and a restaurant. One thing I really liked about this place – besides the delicious Khao Man Gai topped with mild spicy sauce – is the way the food is served. All food is wrapped in butcher paper – authentic Thai style.
808 Grinds Cafe
808 Grinds is an authentic Hawaiian cuisine food cart and cafe. The food cart is located in downtown Portland, on the corner of SW 9th and Washington. It’s only open Monday through Friday during lunch, so you may want to take an extended lunch break to give it a try (or you could check out their cafe location). I had the Loco Moco – an all beef patty with fried egg and gravy on top. I’m a bit of a sucker for Hawaiian food, and this dish did not disappoint!
Koi Fusion blends Korean BBQ and Mexican flavors for a unique, tasty menu. They started out with one truck but now have three mobile and two permanent locations. Wowza! All the menu items are fresh and made from local foods. I tried the Kimchi Quesadilla – the kimchi at Koi is made from a secret family recipe; it had the perfect amount of spice and flavor. Koi Fusion has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times and Eater, and the hype doesn’t lie. If you can only stop at one food truck in Portland, Koi Fusion is the place to go!
Hapa PDX Ramen
Wondering what the name means? Hapa is Hawaiian for someone who is of mixed heritage: Asian and Caucasian. Hapa PDX blends Japanese cooking and Hawaiian recipes to make ramen dishes. That’s right: ramen. But don’t get turned off – the ramen they serve is a Japanese noodle soup served with FRESH ingredients. I tried the Miso Ramen – miso broth with garlic butter, pork, egg, bean sprouts, and corn. Way better than the cheap stuff we associate ramen with. You can find them at the Tidbit Food, Farm & Garden Center on SE Division St & SE 28th Place.
Pyro Pizza serves high quality, wood-fired pizzas Monday through Sunday. They stay open until midnight or later at Cartopia (a late night food cart pod). Menu items range from traditional pizza styles to vegan specialties. I had the spinach mushroom pizza which was delicious. While I was there I found out that the owner makes his own soda, so I had to try that as well. He uses cane sugar and fresh ingredients – the sarsaparilla was very refreshing! If you like locally sourced, healthy food, give Pyro Pizza a try.
I was a little wary of PBJ’s because I heard that they use “unique” ingredients to make original sandwiches. But as usual, I gave them a try. The sandwiches definitely have a unique combination of ingredients, so if you’re not into trying new things, you probably won’t like the food. I had the Spicy Thai sandwich – coconut shrimp, peanut butter, sriracha, curry, basil, and orange marmalade stuffed on challah bread. Mmmm. All of the menu items include peanut butter and a different flavor of jam – hence PBJ. They even have gluten free bread options.
The thing I love about Portland, being from small town Idaho, is the plethora of international cuisines, especially in the food cart scene. Kargi Gogo serves authentic Georgian food (from the country, not the state, obviously). The owners, Sean and McKinze, served two years in Georgia for the Peace Corps. When they returned to the states they opened Kargi Gogo and specialized in Georgian cheese bread. I had the oven baked cheese with egg, which is as delicious, even more so than it sounds. Buttery and cheesy, yum yum yum. Their cart is located at 950 SW Washington St.
The Frying Scotsman
This quaint food cart serves British style fish and chips, as well as Scottish Haggis. I’ve tried Haggis before and wasn’t impressed, so I decided to skip it this time. I had Battered Halibut and Chips, which was battered and fried to perfection. Owner, James King, grew up near Glasgow, and moved to Portland after meeting a Portlander in the U.K. He fondly calls his establishment a ‘chippy’ the British term for a fish and chip shop.
Viking Soul Food
Viking Soul Food specializes in Scandinavian dishes, primarily potato lefse, a Norwegian flatbread. I had the Fiskekaker – a dish of fried Pacific cod, saffron cream sauce, almonds and lettuces wrapped up in potato lefse. I LOVE fish, and this blend of flavors was absolutely divine. The atmosphere was totally awesome – I really enjoyed the Good Food Here food cart pod. Megan and Jeremy serve excellent food with top notch service – I will definitely eat here again.
As their website says, “Carte Blanche is a french term meaning the freedom to do whatever one likes.” And the four co-owners of this fantastic food cart do just that – their menu rotates every 4 weeks because they’re always coming up with new recipes. I had the Fall Crispy Rice Salad with fried chicken. This salad was packed with an array of yummy ingredients that blended together perfectly. I loved the Thai lime dressing. All of the food is served out of an old Airstream trailer and the beautiful ladies always have a smile for their customers.
The Whole Bowl
One of the best vegetarian food carts in Portland. Whole bowls are filled with brown rice, red and black beans, a blend of fresh vegetables, and their secret weapon, Tali Sauce. I had the Bambino Bowl, so good. The bowls are nut and gluten free – they’ll even veganize it for you! With five locations to choose from, this is a place you won’t want to pass up.
Home of the original Schnitzelwich, Tabor serves up authentic Czech food Monday through Friday. I had the Original Schnitzelwich with breaded pork loin in a Ciabatta roll with lettuce, paprika spread, sauteed onion and horseradish. Oh boy, was it good. I had never had Czech food before, so I was delighted by the wonderful flavors and the fabulous customer service. I will definitely eat here next time I visit Portland.
For some people, eating at a food cart is always a shot in the dark; many people are on strict lifestyle diets, such as paleo, that prevent them from eating the traditional fried, quick truck food. But Cultured Caveman is different. The business has three food cart locations and one brick and mortar restaurant. It’s one of the nation’s first fully paleo restaurants. I checked out the downtown cart and tried the Brazilian Pulled Chicken – chicken breasts with broccoli, green cabbage, shallots, garlic, and variety of spices. Eating clean never tasted so good.
Open seven days a week, this French-inspired crepe cart is must stop breakfast shop. They offer a variety of sweet and savory crepe choices. Everything on the menu made my mouth water, but I finally settled for the fried plantain, dulce de leche, butter, and rum crepe. O.M.G. I’ve never tried plantains before, and I was delightfully surprised at the blend of sweet flavors in the crepe. The service was a bit slow, but the wait was worth it.
Savor Soup House
Savor Soup House is a delightful lunch stop open Monday through Friday. Most of the menu options are vegan-friendly and gluten free, so no matter what your dietary needs, you can find something (they even have some dairy free items). I had creamy potato soup with smoked sturgeon – sturgeon is a pretty rare menu item, so I couldn’t pass it up. The sturgeon was locally sourced and the potatoes were Yukon gold; the steaming soup was perfect for the cool weather. I’ll have to come back in the summer and try one of their sandwiches.
Aybla Grill serves authentic mediterranean cuisine, and they buy most of their produce organic from the local Farmer’s Market. Chef Saied has five locations around Portland; I chose one of his downtown locations. The menu was full of delicious-sounding meals, but I settled for a Veggie Mezza plate. The plate was falafel, hummus, dolmades, and baba ghanouj. Mmm. It was mouth-watering delight, and there was so much food, I had to take part of it home. The service and atmosphere were perfect. If you love Mediterranean food, make sure you stop here.
Sip Juice Bar
The Sip Juice Bar has two mobile locations and a restaurant called Canteen. All of their menu ingredients are fresh and organic. I had the Get Up juice, a blend of pineapple, orange, carrot, and apple. I juice my own fruits and veggies at home, and Sip Juice Bar did not disappoint. The juice was, of course, delicious and really filling – the perfect start to my day.
The Burger Guild
The Burger Guild is open Monday through Sunday for lunch and dinner throughout the winter months. Each month they feature a different burger, for November it was the Apple Bacon Burger, so I had to try it. I paired it with a cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. You may think apple on a burger doesn’t sound very good, but you’d be surprised. The green apple was subtle among the savory beef flavor and honey mustard sauce. If you like a casual atmosphere and big ass burgers, this is the place for you.
Rip City Grill
Rip City Grill is a little establishment in the south waterfront area of Portland. I’ve heard people rave about the Tri Tip steak sandwich, so I tried it out. For only $8, I got a heaping sandwich filled with 6 oz of tri tip steak, cheese, and garlic butter. I hate to admit this, but I literally started drooling, it was so good. The menu offers vegetarian options such as the Portabella Mushroom sandwich and 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese. You can also add a “style” to your order for only a buck more. A great place to get food fresh off the grill.
Bombay Chaat House
Finally, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try some authentic Indian food. The truck is about two blocks from the Multnomah County Library, so it’s pretty easy to find. I had the Malai Kofta – vegetables and cheese patties cooked in a creamy sauce over rice. Okay, I seriously love rice and cheese and everything else in this delicious dish. Most, if not all, menu items are vegetarian, and there are dairy-free items as well.