Asian Station

Lizzy Caston

Update Oct. 22, 2009, Asian Station is closed.

asian_station

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.

Shanghai_Soup_Dumplings.jpgThese 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.

Curry.JPG caramelized_chicken_wings_and_rice_cj08.jpg

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

Website: www.asianstationcafe.com

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* Some Photos in this post provided courtesy of Asian Station

Comments

  1. Had lunch here for the first time today. (As in I just placed my empty take out box in the trash.) — Mel, working the cart today, was so enthusiastic about the food and offered me a sample of a shrimp dumpling (that’s not on the menu) that was perfect! Shrimp, dumpling – perfectly steamed and flavoured. Didn’t even need sauce to enjoy it though the Siracha was nice. I had the curry and even tried the flatbread. Great service, great food (easily will be one of my stand-bys), great Mel … “put the shrimp dumplings on the menu!!” So worth passing the other carts for a diversity of asian street food flavors. Though the menu is limited, what they do, they do well. Thanks!

  2. A friend recommended this cart to me. I am currently sitting here enjoying their pork dumplings, and couldn’t even wait to finish them to make this posting. They are SO GOOD! I could eat them all day long. They are really filling me up, but they are also light and not making me feel gross, as other cart food tends to do. The person who ran the cart was also extremely friendly and really went out of his way to make me feel welcome. A great experience!

  3. I called this cart when the owner, Mel, was getting ready to close down for the day. He offered to stay thru my order, even though I explained that wasn’t necessary. When I picked up my order “Shanghai soup dumplings” he had also made a couple of pork dumplings that he just threw in. I was amazed at how DELICIOUS it all was. I got back to my office and was offering a soup dumpling to a couple friends because I couldn’t experience them by myself!! I will definately return!

  4. Hi everyone. We have added a couple new items to our menu.
    1. Spicy Sichuan Mein — a thick spicy and garlicky sauce very similar to a Dan Dan Mein sauce over noodles.

    2. Asian Hoisin Sandwich — Hoisin glazed baked tofu or chicken in a soft french roll topped off with a sweet chili asian slaw.

    We are also going to serve some veggie only potstickers soon.

    We had a lot of requests for some vegetarian/meatless options and the above items are definitely in that category. Come on down and give it a try! Thank you. Cindy

  5. Chicken Banh Mi’s are back. We are also going to a tofu version banh mi. Yeh! Sorry — going to discontinue the Asian Hoisin Sandwich. Thanks everyone!!!

  6. Oh – those new veggie options sound awesome! Thank you for taking the time to come up with veggie alternatives for those dishes. I will be trying them out very soon. :)

  7. I know this is a tough request, but is there any way you could come up with vegan xiao long bao? They were one of my favorite foods when I lived in Hong Kong, but I haven’t had one since I stopped eating meat seven years ago and it’s killing me! There are vegan substitutes for gelatin that I think would work well in holding the soup together (agar and others), and the filling could be seitan or tofu or gluten or just vegetables. I would love you forever if you made these and come eat them all the time!

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