***THIS CART CLOSED FEBRUARY 2009***
Location: SW 4th Avenue, Between College Street and Hall Street
Description: King of Rice may bill itself as “Middle Eastern” food, but that simply doesn’t do this cart justice. Sure, they serve a Vegetarian Plate made up of the typical hummus, tabbouli, stuffed grape leaves and the like. However, that’s about it for the ubiquitous “Middle Eastern” offerings found at countless other carts and restaurants around town.
See, the King of Rice is serving incredible Arabic food rarely found in Portland. With a focus on glorious, aromatic and perfectly cooked basamati rice, this food cart in the PSU cart row on SW 4th Ave, wows me to no end. Silky curries and stews made with tender chicken or lamb, perfectly seasoned biryani rice plates loaded with vegetables, exotic spicy sweet Hejazi rice with pickled mango and a wallop of garlic are but a few of the more unusual menu items. Food Cart Portland reader Chris, writes,
I’ve eaten there several times, and I’d be hard pressed to name a place that cooks and spices chicken and lamb better than they do.
And while I can vouch that the meat is indeed very tender and flavorful, the rice is the focus here. For rice plays a huge part in the center of Arabic cuisine and holds an important place at the table, served throughout the day from simple stews with a side of rice to elaborate baked rice dishes reserved for weddings and other important occasions. And King of Rice is serving food from the Hejaz tradition which contains deep influences from other cuisines as diverse as North Africa, India and Southeast Asia. It’s a delicious, and ancient, form of fusion food. King of Rice describes their food this way,
In Saudi Arabia there are two holy mosques and for 1500 years people from all over the world traveled to visit the holy lands. From North Africa, South Asia, East Asia, people gathered in the melting pot known as Hejaz. Our menu represents the evolution of Hejaz’s foods…
It’s simply wonderful homemade comfort food: a bit exotic, made with care and served in large generous portions. Really, I can’t recommend them enough.
Sample Menu: All dishes come as vegetarian (vegan too!) or with lamb or chicken. All dishes except the vegetarian plate are served with rice. Halal foods and meats. All dishes are $6.00
Dishes (served with white basamati rice on the side)
Bamya – Okra with special King of Rice tomato sauce with onion, garlic and green coriander
Basilia – Green peas made with Special King of Rice tomato sauce with onion, garlic and green coriander
Sabanikh – Spinach made with special King of Rice tomato sauce with onions, chickpeas and garlic
Vegetarian Plate – Stuffed grape leaves, hummus, Tabbouli, baba ganouj and Arabic bread
Quzi -(non-vegetarian) Made from seasoned lamb or chicken, cooked with Arabic seasoned sauce
Mix-Curry – (non-vegetarian) Made from lamb or chicken, onion, garlic, coconut, red curry and other seasonings
Special Rice Plates (and served with yogurt salad and made with your choice with fish, lamb or chicken):
Biryani – meat of choice, rice, onion, tomato, green pepper, ginger and cooked with Arabic and Indian seasonings
Hejazi Rice – vegetables and herbs, cooked with Arabic spices. Your choice of meat
Mandi – baked lamb or chicken, with white boiled basamati rice, cooked with Arabic seasoning (has a smoked flavor)
Fresh Juices and Desserts are Also Available