[Updated Nov. 2009: Best of Kazakhstan has closed. The cart has re-opened as Creperie.]
Location: SW 5th between Oak and Stark Streets
Sometimes I feel like eating at the many Portland food carts scattered about town is like being on a gourmet version of the It’s a Small World After All ride at Disneyland without all the freaky dancing, singing robot puppets and Saccharine headache inducing music.
Today’s stop on the world cuisine express: Kazakhstan! Hold the Borat jokes please.
This shiny, shiny new cart is a welcome addition to the SW 5th Ave. “Cart Row” and so far has a teeny-tiny menu, but it looks quite promising. Even though “BofK” is only offering about 7 different menu items right now, most of them are vegan, making them a terrific alternative to all the heavy meat offerings found at most carts. And you may not know I’m a lover of all things okra (yes, I know okra, love it or loathe it), so I’m happy to report Best of Kazakstan is serving one of my favorite stews found all over the Middle East: the okra and tomato spice laden Bomae (sometimes spelled Bayme or Baymia). It’s like a middle eastern version of vegetarian gumbo and is certainly akin to Kazakh soul food.
Other menu items include fresh made to order grilled shish-kebab, beef kofta and the spicy vegetable noodle soup known as Lagman. Most entrees come with a generous portion of rice and a salad. Drinks are limited to a few soft drinks for $1 each.
With the demise of the wonderful Arabic King of Rice cart near Portland State University, I’m happy Best of Kazakstan is filling the rice cuisine inspired void in cart land. Welcome to the Portland cart scene!
- Chicken Shish Kebob with rice and salad – $5.25
- Kofta seasoned grilled beef with rice and salad – $5.25
- Salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and seasoning – $2.95
- Lagman vegetable noodle soup with lagman spices and red pepper – $5.00
- Gulpi (cauliflower stew with tomatoes, onions and spices) served with rice and salad – $5.25
- Lubyo rice, red beans, vegetables and seasonings – $5.25
- Bomae okra and tomato stew with salad and rice – $5.25
Hours: Lunch hours Mon-Fri