Location: N Charleston and Ivanhoe, St. Johns
Hours: M-F, 11:30-8; S/S, 1-8pm
I first discovered The Baowry when they were setting up the cart for their first opening downtown on SW 4th ave. That location at the time was to be the next big cart pod, but it fizzled. The Baowry saw the writing on the wall and moved to north Portland, trying out Crystal Gardens, but settling on a spot all their own in the heart of downtown St. Johns where they are now as of the beginning of the year.
Small bites and snacks to me are one of the reasons I am drawn to street food. While lunch and dinner at the carts has evolved to full meals with everything the FDA wants you to have, you can still put together a great little nosh with a single item from three different carts and it will still be affordable. The Baowry for me offers this type of scenario with their Baos – steamed buns with your choice of filling. When they first opened, the baos were what brought me to the cart. Now that they are established, the menu has expanded to include Banh Mi sandwiches and tacos, all with that Asian twist they started with.
The Banh Mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich is one of those cultural icons that you either do right or don’t do at all. There are forums and discussions about the best banh mi in the city with such passion about the bread and ingredients, it proves its a sandwich this city has embraced. For me, the bread is key. Vietnamese style baguettes, traditionally used for the banh mi sandwich, are light and almost fluffy with a crisp and crunchy crust that you can still easily bite through. The Baowry Banh Mi uses such a bun spread with a garlic sauce and topped with linguica, shrimp, crispy sweet carrots, sprouts, cilantro and a hint of lime. A large sandwich served with a house salad and ginger scallion rice is more than enough for one and maybe enough for two to share. The sliced linguicia sausage had that great Portuguese spice to it I had hoped for when I saw it on the menu. Mixing that with the garlic sauce and the acidity of the lime and cilantro created a blend of robust flavors. An excellent sandwich with leftovers.
Since The Baowry has been open in St. Johns and at their new location, I keep seeing new and exciting menu items pop up on their Twitter feed like confit chicken wings or braised beef short-rib banh mi. Take a trip up north and give The Baowry a try and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Baowry Banh Mi: toasted baguette spread with house made garlic sauce topped with linguica, shrimp, carrots, sprouts, cilantro and a hint of line – $8
- Grilled Bulgogi Beef: thinly sliced Carlton Farms beef marinated in a sweet pear soy sauce, served with kimchee, pickled vegetables, lettuce, rice and peanut butter miso – $8
- Asian Taco Plate: corn tortilla with cabbage, chili-lime-garlic sauce and cilantro – 3 tacos per plate; char sui roast pork or bulgogi beef – $7
- Baos – steamed buns: fluffy steamed Chinese buns with various house-made pickles – 2 buns per plate; char sui roast pork or bulgogi beef – $7
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11:30-8; Saturday/Sunday, 1-8pm