Gin Northern Thai

dieselboi

Closed 10/2011
Location:
SW 3rd and Washington

The Story:

You may think Portland is over saturated with Thai carts, yet over the past few months, I have discovered that each cart has their special and unique item that sets them apart from the other. Now we have a Thai cart focusing on Northern Thai cuisine. Gin Northern Thai opened in April at SW 3rd and Washington.

Gin sets itself apart from the other Thai carts but preparing three unique dishes. You don’t find the traditional Pad Thai or Pad Kee Mao at Gin. You find dishes like Khao Soi which is a flavorful curry noodle that has soft noodles served in a curry sauce with the choice of chicken drum stick, stew beef, or tofu. Topped with a pickled mustard greens, red onion, fried shallot, homemade hot oil and cilanto, this is a beautiful dish to take in.
They also have Praram Long Song which they say would be a peanut sauce lover’s paradise.

I visited twice and the first time, I wanted to try the lettuce wrap, but they were out. Note to self, get there early. I returned and tried this dish which is a large chunk of iceberg lettuce served along with “stuffing” made with ground chicken, onion, shiitake mushrooms, peas, and carrots. All of that is cooked in a flavorful sauce and served over a bed of crispy noodles. I think the idea was to put the stuffing in the lettuce to create wraps. I just wolfed down the stuffing and ate pieces of lettuce separately. I’ll have to try the wrap idea next time. This dish was wonderful. The crispy noodles softened up as I ate, creating a wonderful texture with the ground chicken and mushrooms. I’ve never had such a dish at a Thai restaurant and am glad a cart is here to let me try this regional fare.

The one piece of advice I tell aspiring food cart owners is to pick a single product, make sure it is unique and do it very well. Gin Northern Thai has figured that out. They have only three items on the menu at this time, so they are able to focus their energy on making each dish special. They even have a traditional Thai breakfast of hot homemade soy milk served with red beans, crystallized ginger, pearl barley, and topped with banana chips. That sounds amazing. Gin Northern Thai is located at the SE 3rd and Washington pod just down from Built to Grill. Go visit soon and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Update May 25,2010: Gin Northern Thai now has vegan versions of their Khao Soi and I understand it is wonderful.]

Sample Menu:

  • Khao Soi: chiang mai egg noodle, choice of stew beef, chicken drumstick or tofu; lime, pickled mustard greens, fresh red onions in curry sauce – $5
  • Praram Long Song (old fashioned style): choice of stew beef, ground chicken or tofu; marinated in lemongrass brine, steamed Chinese spinach, peanut sauce served over noodles – $5
  • Lettuce Wrap: ground chicken, shiitake mushroom, carrot, onions, cilantro in flavorful sauce served over crispy noodles – $5

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10am-5pm; Friday, 10am-5pm and 6pm-9pm; Saturday, 11am-5pm and 6pm-9pm
Phone: 503 432 0610
Facebook: Gin Northern Thai

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Comments

  1. Please come and try our hoemade Soy Milk and side of Whole Grain for Breakfast tomorrow,,,,,, It is really poppular street food in Thailand.
    Give us a try,,, you will love it

  2. Sounds very interesting, looks lovingly prepared. I wonder if they have any non-egg noodles?

  3. I see that the khao soi can be made with tofu; does anyone know if the broth is vegetarian? Most khao soi uses chicken broth.

    If that broth is vegetarian, I’ve found my new second home!

  4. The khao soi is very tasty. Definitely above-average cart food!

  5. I had khao soi for lunch today it ‘s great.I ‘ll be back.Thank you

  6. Brooke Howes says:

    Way to go Nok. Keep your head up..

  7. I love Kao Soi so much. I’m so happy to see more of it in Portland. Poompui has it, but they can not make it vegetarian, as the curry paste has shrimp in it, and they haven’t been able to find a vegetarian version.

    Most Thai places I ask if the curry is vegetarian, and they say yes. I take them at their word, but I imagine in some cases it’s not true, they just don’t remember that the curry paste has shrimp because they aren’t necessarily making it themselves.

    GIN, is your Kao Soi broth vegetarian?

  8. Geez, Adam’s comment wasn’t there a minute ago. Sorry for the repeated question!

  9. I would say the owner, he’s a great chef. yesterday I visited this cart because my friend told me that the called Khao soi was very tasty, but when I saw Pra Ram Long Song I decided to orderd it ( I love peanut sauce) and I was dying because their peanut sauce was a killer, very very tasty w/ some tast that I cant figure it out, and it wasnt “Praram” I used to eat at Thai restaurant. They kinda made it w/ thai or chinese spinach not boccoli or spinach and peanut sauce sort of over the rice…ohhh soooo chucky and yummy.

    I will definitely go back again. thx for being there

  10. Thank You Everyone.

    My name is Nok, I’m a chef here at Gin Northern Thai,
    I will tell you something about the authentic thai curry paste.
    It is true that all kind of the curries have a shrimp paste in it, just only few of them that doesn’t have a shrimp paste.
    On my own cart we don’t use a vegetarian broth at the first started; but for sure since you folks request for it, we will do our own curry without the fishsauce, shrimp paste, and chicken broth. We will make our own curry paste here, because we only have a few item here to focus on, so yeah!!! why not…..
    Just give me a little bit of time, I will have a vegan Khao Soi so soon….

    For right now if anyone likes to have a khao soi with non- egg noodle, i can do Angel Haire Rice Noodle instead of egg noodle,,,,

    Ohhhh one last thing i made a homemade soy milk here it is very authentic thai, and it is absalutely vegan, Thai people like this drink a lot, because it is lite, but it can fill u up, plus it is good for ur skin and your health

    give us a try n Keep touch with me at http://www.facebook.com/ginthaifood

  11. dieselboi says:

    Nok, thanks for engaging here in the comments. I love that food cart owners are out there listening to their customer’s needs.

    You will succeed well here in Portland.

  12. Thank you, Nok! I will love you forever.

    Dieselboi, maybe you shouldn’t tag posts as vegetarian or vegan unless you’ve confirmed the meat-free dishes are actually veg?

  13. The khao soi is awesome! It’s my new favorite cart dish.

    Can’t wait to try the lettuce wraps. See you soon Nok!

  14. FYI, Im on it now. Im quite sure that next Monday will be the first day for REAL Vegan Curry in Khao Soi and change the option from egg noodles to rice noodle.

    BTW, we still keep our original option w/ the same flavor, thx everyone our fans, keep touch!!!!

  15. Wow, great job, sir. Definitely keen to try it out, I’ll be by next week to sample the new vegan goods. I hope you won’t feel vegans/vegetarians are bullying, or asking you to change your style–I’m all for people making things the traditional way. But it’s great when chefs also want to take up the challenge of creating food for the veg crowd, too! Thanks!

  16. Today it’s a day for Khao Soi Vegan, plz come and try, hope u will enjoy it.

    thx

  17. I’m used to getting tired variations of the same old dishes (Pad Thai, etc.) at Thai carts, but not here! This Gin cart had some quite “exotic” dishes and things I’ve never had in a Thai cart dish before, like crispy noodles. I would recommend anyone go here if for nothing else than the variety this cart introduces!

  18. Yay, I’m so excited for that Khao Soi, GIN! My only disappointment is my schedule this week means I have to wait until Saturday to try it.

  19. I already tried the Khao Soi Vegan, OMG! it was so delicious. everything were all mixed well and I really like soy curls. thx for recommended

    PLUS ur Pink Thai Iced Tea was so damn good too I will be back for sure

  20. Hey Tara, that’s fine. we also open on Sat:-D

    waiting for u

  21. I lived in Northern Thailand for 3 months and Khao Soi was one of the dishes I missed the most.

    Nok gets it spot on. With his brother Sombat and Chen doing the Som Tum cart up on 10th and Alder – these brothers and their pretty ladies have brought real Thai food to the streets of PDX. THANK YOU!

  22. rebekah says:

    wow, i must have hit gin thai on a very bad day– i got the khao soi, and it was so ridiculously salty that my mouth puckered. i couldn’t finish it, and felt sick after i ate it. i’d like to give it a second try on another dish, but… i don’t think so. on the plus side, the pickled greens were delicious.

  23. Just had the Kao Soi today, and it was great! More like a thicker curry than the soups I’m used to, but I also had to trek back to work on the max, so some of it might have been soaked up in crispy noodles. It didn’t diminish the taste nor my enjoyment, though! The soymilk was also great, and perfect for the cold gray weather. I don’t usually like milk drinks in general, but this was super. Thank you!

  24. Wow!!!
    I had a khoa soi at Gin northern thai today, it was really good.
    The sauce was perfect, i like the curry sauce to be thick. Personally i think it is just it!!! Great job…
    You ‘re top of shit mannn

  25. First of all
    I need to apologize to Rebekahh for making her felt sick, I really felt bad about it. As I work in The restaurant field for 7 years and I graduate from the Chef school, plus my attitude for being a good chef I would not let my worst quality food out of my kitchen. I always dedicate myself to work and care about the food i dispense….
    The rescipe i work in everyday has never been changed. So for this case don’t you mind to come back again to get your money back and again i do need to apologize for everything.

    Nok

  26. I also had the vegan Khoa soi (also got it ‘low carb’, which means no noodles, except for a little crispy ones for garnish) today, and it was good, though next time I might just get the low carb version with tofu, instead of the traditional, because I’m not a big fan of the fake meat, which is not the soy curls used a lot around town at places like Los Gorditos, but more like sliced fake meat of the sort you find in a lot of Asian markets. I had the soy milk tea too, which was good, but very sweet and I would’ve liked more of a tea flavor–it mostly tasted like sweet soy milk.

  27. HiTJF ,

    thx for stopped by, Im glad u liked our new item.
    Yet that’s drink u got , it is Soy milk, not Soy milk “tea” so it’s not going to has a tea flavor. We also can make it less sweet. IT IS HOMEMADE, NOT FROM THE Market.

  28. My husband and I went here for lunch today and it was wonderful. We ordered the Khoa Soi, Praham, and a soy milk and it was great. My husband doesn’t even like soy milk and he like this. I believe that Khoa Soi may be my new favorite dish. And the owners are super nice. We will definitely be back.

  29. I and my husband visited Gin yesterday, I had a sweet chili angel hair noodle and my husband got a Northern Thai noodle stir fried and they were really good. we will be back…
    c you soon

  30. Hey Gin I would say you are my faverite!!! right now, your Papaya Salad and BBQ+ “Purple” Sticky rice was toooooo good man plus your Thai Lime Tea was so tasty too. so besides Khao Soi, I will definitely go back and order that new thing!!

  31. Jovanna says:

    Oh my goodness, I am in heaven! I make my rounds to the Portland Thai carts, since I could eat Thai for breakfast lunch and dinner and never get tired of it, but I cannot believe it has taken me to long to try this one. Hands down the best Thai cart around; I would be tempted to say the best Thai around period. The lettuce wraps were amazing, such complexity in flavor, and the angel hair noodles had a wonderful chili sweetness without being too spicy. You can smell the garlic and chili goodness from the street. The food was fast, fresh and the lady who helped us could not have been nicer. I already want to go back for seconds! And, BTW, the menu is much expanded from what is outlined above: I cannot wait to go back and try something else.

  32. You mean Praram or Praluck? Praluck Long Song please!

  33. Delicious food, nothing on the menu disappoints !! I’ve been here several times this summer and each time tried something new and have loved everything I’ve had, so much so, that when I go back, I struggle with decision making – should I try something new or order the last dish, or the one before that….

  34. And also the fact that Amika (how takes the orders) is so courteous and nice, makes the meal even more special (she remembered my name despite seeing me after weeks, that’s a feat by itself !!)

  35. My gf and I drove from Vegas to Seattle in the last week. We stopped in Portland specifically to eat at a food stand/truck. We went with Gin Northern Thai, and we were NOT disappointed.

    The angel hair dish with tofu and broccoli “poaching” in broth was seriously one of the best Thai dishes I have eaten in the last 20 years. Just mind-bogglingly delicious.

    The only bad thing is that we don’t have a Gin up in Seattle. Sigh. I will definitely hit Gin again when I’m back in PDX. You should, too.

  36. Yeah, this place is great. It will become one of my regulars.
    Heard people looking at the menu saying “that sounds soo good”, and it really is.

  37. NOrthwesterner says:

    Lettuce Wrap is terrific, and I wojuld use a stronger word than terrific if I could think of it. This one dish is worth the hike fr other end of downtown. FYI: wrap is now $5.50– well worth the price bump. Also new seating extension topward street fr the cart is covered, so on days warmer than the 20s of yesterday and today, we diners will find space for 4-5 people to eat under cover.

  38. Ate there today and it was very good! I think what I had was called the North Thai Style Noodle. Thick noodles with some chicken and sprouts topped with cilantro and a few won tons. It was great for a light lunch and I’ll have some left over for dinner. I’ll be trying this place again….great service too. FYI there is no longer covered seating. I think they had to take it down along with the other vendors on this corner.

  39. The Native Sun says:

    This is the most unique Thai place in town and I’ve been touring Thai joints since the early 90’s.
    As the article indicates, do not expect to find the usual suspects. I can’t remember what the name of today’s bamboo shoot special I just got but I will remember the taste of it for a long time to come. Wow!
    The veggies are fresh, the orders are individually made, the people are nice, and if this represents Northern Thai cuisine I have to wonder why there are not more people doing it. Maybe its some secret family recipes.
    5.5 out of 5 stars. Try this place. There really should be a separate category for Gin

  40. Dang!! Chilli Bamboo Beef hell good

  41. I love love this cart BUT the portion of the lettuce wraps got so much smaller. You can even see that in the old pic above vs. what you get now. It’s not near what it used to be 🙁

  42. today’s Burmese-style Shan noodles were quite amazing. and these are really nice people.

  43. I stopped by Gin few days ago, but very very disappointed them. veggi not fresh, and taste of curry is very salty. it makes me sick after ate it, so bad… no more Gin. BYE

  44. There is a company where Gins cart was! They have awesome hawaiian food for low cost! You should all try it out! I will miss you Gin now I will be loyal to the new ONO LUAU GRINDS! Try it out you wont be let down!

  45. 360-600-7657 that is the number on the flyer I got for the ONO LUAU GRINDS . you can call or email onoluaugrinds@gmail.com ahead for your order! I’ll have to try that!

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