The Ruby Dragon

Food Carts Portland
The Ruby Dragon

The Ruby Dragon

CLOSED 10/2011
N Mississippi at Skidmore in Mississippi Marketplace


I won’t take up too much of your time introducing myself. But since this is my first post, I should take a moment to say who I am. I’m Anna, a sometimes blogger and lover of food carts who just spent the last two years getting my second degree. Diploma framed, I am now ready to start writing again! I’m primarily a vegetarian, a sometimes fish eater and love vegan food. Though my intent is not to convert meateaters, I can’t help but encourage carnivores to wipe those images of limp, bland bean sprouts and raw carrots from your mind’s eye and open yourself to the possibility of a healthy, delectable alternative to daily meat. Vegan fare can be incredibly tasty and satisfying even for the most hard core carnivore. Thanks Dieselboi for allowing me to add my two cents and hopefully this will not be my only post!

Last week I had the great fortune of meeting Tyler of The Ruby Dragon and trying his daily breakfast special. As a long time vegetarian (and, upon rare occasion, eater of seafood, making me, more accurately, a fishaterian I suppose) sometimes I just want to go somewhere where I can order ANYTHING on the menu and not be limited by the presence of any animal products. I also want a meal that’s satisfying and delicious without compromising or substituting on flavor or ingredients and one that isn’t all sugar and carbs. Honestly, I don’t believe this is too much to ask of my vegetarian foodies. Thankfully Portland has a growing and varied plethora of veggie and vegan options for even the most discriminating palette. The Ruby Dragon, in the new Mississippi Marketplace is a welcome addition to the already stellar selection of all-vegan fare. Tyler, a long-time vegan, and his partner decided several months ago they wanted to offer tasty, hearty vegan food with an ethnic flare. With the help of a contractor, Tyler’s beautiful food cart came into existence soon after he and his partner decided to embark on their food-cart adventures.

I happened to waltz by early on a Thursday and was treated to their daily special; a quinoa pancake (a complete protein for those of you who didn’t think vegans can get all their protein through plant products!) with blueberries. It was absolutely amazing and I immediately regretted not getting the pancake with dark chocolate and walnuts. Additional, I enjoyed a tempeh scramble stir-fried with shitake mushrooms, bell peppers, cashews and home blended Ethiopian curry which was subtle and satisfying. Finally,”You’re Home Fries,” which are best described in their menu as “sauteed to perfection… with an Ethiopian touch.” I ordered a tall coconut juice and my entire bill was $9.

Tyler from The Ruby Dragon

Tyler from The Ruby Dragon

The Ruby Dragon had only been open a handful of days when I wandered over to the corner of Skidmore and Mississippi. There were dozens of people milling about the carts, including an Oregonian photographer, even at 11am. Several people ordered after me, so I wasn’t able to speak with Tyler for too long about his cart. I was thoroughly impressed with their menu, the friendly, helpful service and presentation. My meal was served on a gorgeous wooden plate right off the grill. The serving size was more than adequate – I’m not a big fan of supersized meals, but I also don’t like to feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth. My sense from our brief conversation is that Tyler has really invested himself into the quality and philosophy of The Ruby Dragon. I know I’ll be stopping by again soon and you should too. When you do, tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample menu:

“Eternal Morning” (b-fast)

  • Quinoa Pancakes – made with fresh ground quinoa flour and hempseeds, topped with real maple, blueberries & walnuts or with blueberries, walnuts and dark chocolate… one $3.50 – $4.75; two $6.50 – $4.75
  • Yammies – Sliced yams sauteed with onions, garlic, cashews, and a touch of spice… small $3.50;  large $4.50

“Soup and Salad Noon” (lunch)

  • Mamma Miso soup – Buckwheat noodles and tofu, dino kale, local miso, and a tinity of ginger, onion and garlic, topped with scallion… $5
  • Roasted Roots – Leeks, potatoes, squash, carrots, parsnips and a hearty mix of fresh herbs and Indian curry. Served with sprouted toast… $5

“Afternoon Till Sun Down” (dinner)

  • Roots Fried Rice – Choice of tofu or tempeh, yammies, onion, seasonal veggies, cashews, sauteed with Ethiopian curry and brown rice. Topped with veganaise and avocado… $7
  • Cashew Eggplant – Eggplant, tofu, carrots, bell pepper, green onion, snow peas, cashews sauteed in a spicy brown sauce with a touch of lime (extra heat available upon request)… $7
  • The Ruby Dragon has an extensive menu, this is just a sampling of what they have to offer.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 8am-8pm
Phone: 339 222 1685
Website: The Ruby Dragon Email:
Twitter: RubyDragonPDX




  1. Not to split hairs, but please don’t say you’re a vegetarian if you eat fish. You’re not a vegetarian. I have no trouble with you going on your own food journey, wherever it takes you. But for us long-time vegetarians, the question, “but you eat fish right?” is really, really annoying.

  2. JayinPortland says

    “Pescatarian”, I believe it’s called…


    Place sounds great, thanks for the review. I have to get up there one of these days.

    I just passed right by that new block on the 4 bus the other day, but didn’t have any time to stop on the way as I was in a rush back here to SE from up in St. Johns.

    Open on weekends, huh? Hmmm. Maybe I can roll out of bed early one of these Sundays…

  3. Yup. Although if you want to be really picky I believe it’s spelled with two Es: pescetarian

  4. Good review overall, but it’s unfortunate that it’s full of misinformation about vegan food (complete protein idea – that you must consume it at once – has been discredited for some time) and while praising, manages to make vegan food sound like it’s difficult to enjoy and find and second-rate to food made out of animal parts.

    Let’s stop apologizing for being vegans.

  5. I was curious how it’s spelled, because I’m one too!

    I love Wikipedia.

    I will be working at the Mississippi Marketplace and last week I had a chance to try the Ruby Dragon’s Curry Tofu. Wow, I was not expecting the complexity of flavor. I think working next to the Ruby Dragon is going to be a wonderful perk of the job!

  6. Thanks all for the comments. I’m not sure what misinformation about veganism I am guilty of passing on, so please do help me understand. Also, I am a lover of vegan food hands down! I do not find it “difficult to enjoy”, but love it and enjoy it thoroughly and do not look at it as a substitute for animal products. And finally, I am not a vegetarian, and should have clarified that I eat a primarily vegetarian diet instead of referring to myself as primarily vegetarian. Poor wording on my part, not meant to insult or diminish vegans or vegetarians in any way.

    By the way, just stopped by Ruby Dragon over the weekend for the b-fast special and cannot stop raving about the quinoa pancakes. Do try them with blueberries, walnuts and dark chocolate!! <>

  7. I had the spicy eggplant curry today and it blew my socks off. Spice-eeeeey! But all in a good way. And in a real bowl, with a real fork and sticky rice basket! I was very pleased. And I am neither vegan nor vegetarian but I loved the food and want to go back during the week for a lunch of that kale salad.

  8. Hi Anna,

    The misinformation is that protein needs to be “complete” which was published in a book by a sociologist (not a scientist) based on a theory she came up with from dietary studies of rats (which are quite different from humans).

    Francis Moore Lappé herself even retracted the idea in the next edition of her book but nearly 40 years later it still persists that plant protein, which grows full sized cows, elephants, hippos, and many other of the largest earth beings, is somehow inferior (as evidenced by your own post on quinoa). Even medical doctors, who do not get nutritional training in medical school, believe the protein myths and are spreading it.

    Not only is plant protein complete, and we get more than enough if we are meeting our caloric needs, but protein is not something we can store up and anything over what we need has to be processed through our bodies and excreted. Too much protein is acidic (especially from animal sources) and very hard on our organs, the kidneys in particular, and our bones which give up calcium to balance the PH.

    Here are some well-written sources (with charts) on protein needs to clarify the whole idea:

    And an article just this weekend in the New York Times on the importance of lower acid/protein diets for bone health.

    As for fish and seafood, they are both often quite contaminated with PCBs, dioxins, mercury and other environmental contaminants. Both the orca pods and Inuits are suffering from the chemical overload.

    Now, on those notes, is this wonderful cart still open? Their website and twitter page seem to have been abandoned a month ago and it’s a long drive to find out if they are still around.

  9. @Syd: You are mostly correct about necessity (or lack thereof) of “complete proteins,” but this only applies to people with the means and ability to access decent sources of nutrition. For example, a middle-class person in the US eating a diversified diet would have relatively little difficulty getting access to all necessary amino acids.

    However, you are incorrect about our body’s need for them: we do, indeed, need complete sources of protein (for example, the ever popular “rice and beans” pairing). However, this only becomes a serious concern in countries that have pervasive food security issues.

    Also, our “bones do not give up calcium to balance pH.” At least, not in a practical moment-to-moment sense. That, mercifully is done by our kidneys or via respiration (excrete CO2 via the lungs).

  10. I am a full on meat eater, but also appreciate good vegetarian and vegan food. I had the jade abbot sandwitch and it was wonderful!! it’s open faced tempeh with cashews and some really yummy sauces topped with kale salad. it was my first time at miss marketplace and I’ll be back often this summer!

  11. capricorn28 says

    I tried the Jade Curry today and I was some what disappointed. The curry was not very flavorful, and it came with a tiny portion of sticky rice. After a few bites I was left with a big bowl of curry soup. I would suggest giving bigger size portions of the sticky rice, so you could at least finish the curry and not think you just wasted money.

  12. Burkhard Schulte says

    Hello from Germany Tyler,
    hope to see you again together with my daughter Stefanie and with Aaron…..

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