Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
The lot at SW 5th and Stark is one of the oldest and most established in the city. Many remember Matlock’s and still ask where that cart went (it turned into BrunchBox.) The stainless steel cart next door has also been there for years having been numerous incarnations of international street food like Gyro King, Best of Kazakhstan, Creperie and now, we have Khob Khun Thai Food by Veli Thai.
You may recognize the last part of the name – Veli Thai. Just a few carts away, many Portlanders have been enjoying amazing Thai dishes from the venerable Veli Thai cart. I was resistant to try the newest version of the silver cart having seen it change hands and do so many different things so many times just in the past few years. When I saw they were affiliated with Veli, I had to give them a try and I wasn’t disappointed.
Being a fan of fried rice, I perused the menu for something quick and simple and a known quantity. Spicy basil fried rice was on the tip of my tongue when I looked over and saw the day’s special – spicy basil Thai style with ground chicken. Not sure what the big difference is, but I wanted to try it with ground chicken, not an ingredient you find on most Thai menus. The dish wasn’t fried rice, but a stir fry of ground chicken, red and green bell peppers, basil, yellow onions, and hot Thai peppers served over white rice. Something about the spice with the veggies and the sauce that they used made this a memorable dish. The onions, always a favorite of mine, were caramelized with some crispy bits to blend with the ground chicken which was savory with a touch of the saltiness you get from soy or tamari sauce. I enjoyed the meal so much, I returned a week later to get it again and had to leave with a different dish since it was no longer on the menu. I was sad. Trust me, if you see it on the menu, grab it while you can.
Khob Khun has now been open in the silver cart for more than a few months and they always have a long line of customers waiting for their food. With every order, you get a small cup of hot tea, so on those cold winter days, you can stand under their awning and warm up a bit. I’m glad to see one of the strip’s venerable older carts find a tenant that is succeeding. Lastly, along with the hot cup of tea, just after the new year, I found a cute little keychain in the bag as a way they were saying “Khob Khun” (“Thank You” in English.) Drop on by and enjoy some great Thai and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Upon arrival, you choose your dish, choose chicken, tofu or veggie and your spice level
- Pad Thai: Medium sized rice noodles with pad Thai sauce, egg, green onions and bean sprouts – $5
- Pad-Thai Woon: glass noodles with special pad Thai sauce, egg, green onions and bean sprouts – $5
- Pad Kee Mao: wide sized rice noodles stir-fried with ground chili, egg, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and basil – $5
- Pad See-Ew: wide sized rice noodles stir-fried with sweet soy sauce, egg, broccoli, carrots, cabbage – $5
- Red, Yellow or Green Curry: Thai red, yellow or green curry with coconut milk, bell pepper, eggplant, bamboo shoot and basil; served over white or brown rice – $5
- Mussamun Curry: mussamun curry with onions, carrots and potatoes; served over white or brown rice – $5
- Spicy Basil Fried Rice: fried rice with chili sauce, egg, onions, bell peppers and basil – $5
- Fried Rice: typical Thai fried rice with egg, peas, onions, carrots and tomatoes – $5
- Pineapple Fried Rice: fried rice with pineapple, egg, raisins, onions, cashew nut, peas and carrots – $5
- Much much more
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11am-5pm
Phone: 503 702 5844
Facebook: Khob Khun Thai Food