Location: SE 82nd and Harney, Cartlandia
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:30-8pm
The Story: I first remember hearing the word fusion back in the 90’s and it usually implied a mix of two dichotomous cuisines that a chef decided to mix together. Sometimes it worked, many times it did not. A Kesone Asian Fusion, the mix is Thai and Laotian which compliment each other well.
You may recognize the name Kesone as they had a cafe and bistro in NE Portland for many years, but closed it to open their food cart at Cartlandia. Inside the bright red box, Kesone greats her guests with a bright grin as they come up and with most vendors, begins preparing the cuisine right then. I love that about Portland’s vendors – freshly made food. The menu is comprised of appetizers, salads, noodle and rice dishes, soups, curries and Lao specialties. Normally, upon arrival, I can choose a dish rather quickly, but this menu of 29 different items slowed me down. I skipped the appetizers and salad and focused mainly on the Lao specialties like Nam Kao Vientianene, a dish with crispy rice with coconut shavings and your choice of protein which is blended with mint, lime juice, roasted peanuts, cilantro and scallions. You scoop the mix on to a lettuce leaf and enjoy. Kesone gave me a sample and that is a tasty dish. There is also Sai Uah Lao which are seasoned pork sausages stuffed with sweet onions, lemon grass, dill, rice, scallions and chili. So many amazing options. I couldn’t order them all, so chose Gai Yai, a half of a slow roasted game hen marinated in lemongrass and pineapple house seasoning. I have enjoyed game hen prepared in other ways, so wanted to try it Laotian style and enjoyed it immensely. That first bite with juices dripping down my chin was all it took to convince me that Kesone took care in her slow roasting. The lemongrass and sweetness of the pineapple added a complex flavor I hadn’t enjoyed with fowl up to this point. Needless to say, no leftovers.
Kesone Asian Fusion is open daily for lunch and through the dinner hour. Cartlandia offers covered seating with free wi-fi and even has a beer garden open select hours. Drop on by for some tasty dishes and let Kesone know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Deep Fried Vegetarian Rolls – $4
- Jalapeno Cream Cheese Wonton – $4
- Thai Spicy Chicken Wings – $4
- Sum Thum Salad – shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, roasted peanuts with dressing – $8
- Lao-style Yum Gai – chicken with crispy lettuce, boiled eggs, red onions, cucumber, tomatoes, roasted peanuts and cilantro – $8
- Pad Lao – pan-fried rice noodles, egg, scallions, roasted peanuts in house sauce with bean sprouts and lime – $6.50
- Nam Kao Vientianne – $8
- Gai Yai Half – $7
- Sai Uah Lao – $8
- Kang Massaman Curry – milder Thai style curry with potatoes, carrots, onions, basil and peanuts – $6.50-8
- Wonton Soup – ground chicken with garlic seasoning wrapped in wonton skins in homemade chicken broth with mushrooms, celery, onions and bean sprouts – $4-8
Facebook: Kesone Asian Fusion