Update Oct. 22, 2009, Asian Station is closed.
Location: SW 10th and Alder
Description: A sample of Asian street food delights from Singapore to Shanghai! A few months back I received an e-mail from a woman interested in opening an Asian cuisine based food cart. She asked me what kind of food I thought she should serve. I didn’t even flinch when I spit out the following,
…things like Malaysian roti flatbreads and curries, stir fried Chinese noodles, Shanghai soup dumplings (also known as xio long bao), and Vietnamese Bahn-Mi sandwiches. You know, food found in some of the best Asian street food cities. Yum, I’m hungry just thinking about it.
The owner knew exactly what I was talking about and replied,
Oh my god it’s like you are reading my menu right now! I’m originally from Hong-Kong, and you know we Chinese, and Asians in general, are all about good street food. We practically obsess over it.
Well, yes I do know because I’ve been to Hong Kong and eating, especially eating at food carts, seems to be that city’s number one past time. I was excited we might get a little more of it in Portland.
Thus Asian Station was born. In a city swarming with Thai carts (nothing wrong with that by the way), Asian Station is taking a different route along the spice trail and serving street food one might encounter in multi-cultural food meccas such Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and yes, Hong Kong of course.
These are things like the well loved and elusive (hard to find in Portland) Shanghai Soup Dumplings. A bit like dim-sum type steamed potstickers, these meat dumplings magically retain little bursts of steaming hot broth on the inside making for a perfectly filling, but not heavy lunch. Trust me, this is a taste sensation you do not want to miss, although Asian Station warns to call 10-15 minutes ahead so they can make them fresh to order.
Or, try one of the combo meals with things like Vietnamese caramelized chicken wings served with rice and green papaya salad ($6.50), yellow chicken curry with rice and pot-stickers ($6.00) , or a grilled chicken with roti (a wonderful Malaysian flatbread) ($6.00). Other items include dim-sum specials (revolving types and prices), Spicy Garlic and Chicken chow-mein ($6.00), and a Vietnamese chicken Bahn-Mi Sandwich for $4.50.
Asian Station has refined their menu over the past year, adding some vegetarian/vegan options like tofu to substitute for chicken in some of the dishes. Overall, this is a wonderful new addition to the downtown cart scene and has developed devoted fans over the past year. Their commitment to quality and their customers is bar none. As the owner wrote to me,
I think my heart and soul is in serving the absolute best because it means a lot to me — it’s the perfectionist side of me and food feeds not only the stomach, but to me, it feeds the soul.
Good words for good food indeed.
Sample Menu: see the Asian Station Website for details
Hours: Mon-Fri 11ish to 3ish. Sometimes open on Saturdays. Call to confirm!
Phone: (503) 227-5727
* Some Photos in this post provided courtesy of Asian Station