The Dump Truck


Location: SW Alder, between 10th and 11th
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm

The Story:

Over the past month or so we have been able to follow the opening story of The Dump Truck on Twitter, learning about building the cart, sourcing equipment and getting inspections. The challenge was, with the name dumptruckpdx on Twitter, we just couldn’t figure out what they were planning to serve. I thought it would be some crazy eclectic mashup cart serving something like a bacon-wrapped deep fried avocado …. Well, after visiting yesterday, I learned what the dump meant in Dump Truck – dumplings.

The Dump Truck is the partnership of Julia, Reid and John. While living and working in Beijing a few years ago, Julia and Reid met and became huge fans of dumplings, a staple there. As with every food craving, one is drawn to the location where you find comfort and consistency. For Julia, that was a dumpling restaurant close to her home run by Mr. Ma and his wife. After eating every meal daily at Mr. Ma’s restaurant, Julia became close with them, enough so that a menu item is named after Mr.Ma. I guess that’s where she learned the love and craft of dumplings. Since then, Julia and Reid moved back to Portland. Julia began making dumplings for Voicebox Karaoke in NW, saw how well they were selling and decided to open the cart with Reid and John.

One of the first items I heard The Dump Truck was selling was a bacon cheeseburger dumpling. Really? Wow. On the menu the day I visited was that bacon cheeseburger, along with Mr. Ma’s special and Down 2 Earth. With all those flavors available, I opted for a sampler which gave me two of each, with sauces for only $5. The bacon cheeseburger dumpling was interesting. You look at what we know as a potsticker, but it is filled with hamburger, some bacon and cheese. Strange as it may sound, it was quite good and tasted like a little burger in a wrap. My favorite of the sample was Mr Ma’s special – pork with ginger and scallions. I bit in and the ginger and scallions exploded with flavor in my mouth. Pair with the spicy tahini/chili dipping sauce they provide and I noshed them down in a heartbeat.

The Dump Truck is now serving their signature dumplings to the lunch crowd down on SW Alder, between 10th and 11th. They are the bright yellow cart at the end of the row. The cart sits high due to its placement on the lot, but Reid ensured me that they will be building a step so you can order your food without reaching to much. I’m excited about this cart. Dumplings are something new for the Portland food cart scene and if they mix it up as they have already proven with the bacon cheeseburger offering, I see a bright future. Head down there and try some dumplings and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mr. Ma’s Special: pork, ginger, scallions – 8 for $6
  • Down 2 Earth: portabello, rice noodle and ginger – 8 for $6
  • Bacon Cheeseburger: yes, bacon cheeseburger – 8 for $6
  • Sampler: 2 of each for $5

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm
Phone: 503 877 3867
Twitter: @DumpTruckPDX




  1. I was a little bit disappointed. Maybe 6.5 or 7 out of 10.

    The paper containers they use stick to the freshly steamed dumplings – nothing like paper covered dumplings.

    I had Mr Ma’s Special. There was ginger in one bite of the 8 dumplings. Maybe it just needs better distribution across the filling? It was just OK. The shredded cabbage in the bottom was good.

    Too bad – I was hoping for a place I might hit weekly. This was not it.

  2. Hi all,

    Thank you to foodcartsportland, I think we had at least 10 people before 1pm mention the posting. We have some fun things in the works that I look forward to sharing with all of you as they come.

    @ Heidi – I’m sorry we didn’t hit the mark. The ginger burst is one of my favorite parts of the dumpling experience as well, so we’ll do a better job of evening out the filling. As for the paper containers … We’ve tried out two packages so far. We started with a recyclable, folding cardboard pack, but today we tried out a biodegradable clamshell container. It sounds like the clamshell degrades a little too quickly. We’ll look into more dumpling (and Earth)-friendly containers. Thanks for the feedback, I hope you’ll give us a second shot.

  3. Painting yellow stripes onto a trailer, does not a dump truck make

  4. clairelovesfood. says

    i love food. yep, it’s true. but, i’m a little picky when it comes to what i’ll put in my mouth. i like knowing where my food comes from and that the business i’m supporting has the environment’s well-being in mind. after talking to reid a little bit (who was super nice and happily answered all my questions) i gave the dumplings a whirl… lemme tell you, they’re good.
    hats off to you guys for bringing something new, delicious, and environmentally friendly. i’ll be back, fo sho.

  5. EverlovingDumpling says

    I love the Dump Truck dumplings and I love those dumpling makers. The formers is head and shoulders above your average lunch and the latter is good conversation to boot. Keep it up Reid and Julia!

  6. James Stoertz says

    Outstanding! You guys make the BEST dumplings I have ever had in the whole world! Will you please, please franchise so we can have them in my home-town?

  7. I ordered the dumpling sampler and it was delish! Mr. Ma was my favorite but I reccomend trying all of them. The dumplings are fresh and full of flavor and the sauces really compliment the dumplings!

  8. LovelyLadyDumps says

    LOOOOOOOVE these dumplings! I’ll be hitting up the DumpTruck every week.

    Not only are the dumplings delicious, but I appreciate that Reid, Julia and John are thinking about their enviornmental impact, too.

    I’ve heard rumors that they do some other interesting seasonal dumplings–when will these be unveiled?

    Long live the Dump Truck!

  9. have you considered offering a discount if customers bring their own food container?

  10. Brooke Howes says

    @ryan. Have ever concidered it’s illegal to bring your own container? Maybe you could discount their DHS fine.

  11. Kristina says

    YUM! They had a special Potato Curry dumping today. It was so good, especially dipped in the tahini chili sauce. I also liked Down 2 Earth, although it was maybe a little salty. I would have preferred more ginger and less rice noodle. Maybe just portobello mushroom, ginger, and other vegetables. Anyway, I will definitely be back.

  12. Love it! I am obsessed with the potato curry dumplings. Definitely going on my list of top food carts in the pod.


  14. A friend told me about The Dump Truck. I had the Mr. Ma’s special. Fantastic! I highly recommend these dumplings to everyone, but particualarly to pregnant ladies. The ginger definitely helped get rid of my morning sickness this afternoon! 😀

  15. I also lived in China (Shanghai, to be more specific) where I met Reid and Julia playing ultimate up in Beijin. Dumplings were some of my favorite late night snacks and their cart does these succulent morsels justice – of course with a Portland twist. It is hard to find good cheap dumplings outside of China and these are some of the best I’ve had – definitely the best in this city. Also Reid and Julia are super nice and good ultimate players 🙂

  16. Had the super sampler today. Your suggested sauce pairings were excellent. All of them hit the mark, and the cheeseburger sauce wasn’t just mayo and ketchup, was it? Delectable! We’ll be back!

  17. I tried the Mr. Ma dumplings yesterday and thought they were fabulous. Gingery and juicy and just great.

  18. I’m so intrigued! I’ll have to try it out sometime!

  19. What kind of dough do you use?

  20. Had to try this place out after seeing it on the Food Network. WOW what a let down!!

  21. Is this place still open? No activity on twitter or facebook since they had to close 11/9/12 but they said they would be open the next monday?

  22. Scott. Yes, they are open daily for lunch.

  23. CptCoyote says

    Just tried Mr. Ma’s and Cheese Burger mix. Granted, their truck was out at one of the Intel Campuses in Hillsboro – not their stationary cart/operation.
    Ditto on the paper tray issue. My dumplings stuck to the side of the tray, taking paper with it when I pulled them loose. They’re using a bed of shredded cabbage “slaw”, but it doesn’t help that much. Another issue with the trays…. I took my serving back to my desk. By the time I had eaten half way through my dumplings, the bottom of the tray had leaked through and left a big grease (or juice) slick all over my desk.
    I’m used to a Japanese style gyoza – steamed then pan seared on one side. I found the wrapper on these dumplings to be very heavy in comparison, and gummy – as if they weren’t fully cooked. And sure, you can only do so much when you sell ’em for $1 each, but the volume of filling was extremely meager.
    Flavor was so-so. The Mr Ma’s was fair, a bit of ginger and scallion (maybe?). The cheeseburger left me wondering Where’s the Cheese? Pretty much tasted like plain hamburger.
    Each variety has it’s own accompanying sauce. In my case, neither of the two brought anything to the party (other than to help combat the gummy texture of the wrappers).
    Nice try, but I’m afraid I have to say it’s a FAIL.

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