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Events – Vegan Diner Book and James Beard Show


A couple of events that may interest fans of street food here in Portland.

Come on down to Mississippi Marketplace on Saturday, December 22 to meet Julie Hasson, the chef at Native Bowl and the author of Vegan Diner: Classic Comfort Food for the Body and Soul. Books will be available for purchase and you can get a bowl and a book for $20 along with meeting Julie. Event is from 11:30-1 at the lot at N Skidmore and Mississippi.


On January 11th, the James Beard Public Market will host their first fundraising event to bring together local food enthusiasts for the West Coast Premiere of I Love To Eat, a one man play about the life of Portland-native and American food pioneer, James Beard. Following the show, guests will enjoy a tasting from five Oregon James Beard Foundation Award winners, showcasing the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Proceeds from the night will benefit the James Beard Public Market and contribute to the development of a healthy, sustainable local food system.

Tickets for the event are available at the Portland Center Stage box office. Check out the James Beard in Oregon Facebook page for more details.

Wasabi Sushi PDX

sushi food cart portland

Wasabi Sushi PDX

Location: Happy Valley
Hours: Check Facebook for updates

The Story: Over the years, there have been more than a few vendors trying sushi in the food carts. Some succeeded, others did not. I always thought it was an eater’s perception issue with raw fish in a food cart. Yet, with the evolution of street food and the evolution of the eater, we now have numerous options for sushi, including vegan sushi. Wasabi Sushi PDX opened in 2016 and has quickly expanded, including a restaurant to open in 2017. Eaters seem to really enjoy their offerings.

sushi food cart portland

Sushi from Wasabi Sushi PDX

Wasabi Sushi is known for their great sushi, but more for introducing Portland to the Sushi B-Ritto, a large sushi roll similar to a burrito. An excellent modification of the simple roll and filling. The day I visited, I opted for the Treasure Island Roll and the Spider Crunchy Roll. The Treasure Island is tuna, crab, Masago, avocado and cucumber topped with a spicy mayo. Messy, but fresh and flavorful. The mix of the tuna and crab delights the tastebuds. The Spider Crunchy Roll is tempura soft shell crab with avocado, cucumber, lettuce and Masago with a spicy eel sauce. Ooh, spice. Loved the crunch along with the wasabi and a bit of ginger. Tempura soft shell crab is a weakness of mine and I devoured the entire plate without pausing.

Wasabi Sushi PDX is open daily for lunch and dinner at one of Portland’s best food cart pods – Tidbit. The lot offers up seating and a beer cart so you can sit and enjoy your sushi with local craft beers. Next time you’re in the mood for sushi, check out Wasabi Sushi PDX and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

sushi food cart portland

Facebook: Wasabi Sushi PDX

Portland Food Carts Year in Review – 2015

food cart review 2015

Breakfast from Henry’s Diner

As we bring 2015 to a close, I think back about all the amazing dishes I enjoyed and people I met. Just a year ago, as we sat around wondering what 2015 would bring, did anyone predict a 6 month summer? In talking with vendors last spring, many commented that winter never actually arrived, providing them with strong sales throughout the year. As 2015 bids farewell though, the winter Portland is famous for has arrived with a vengeance. That said, 2015 was another crazy eventful year for Portland’s food cart scene. One may think of 2015 as the Year of the Pod. Here are some highlights.



Every year, I enjoy looking back at the changes that have occurred using data. Growth continued, yet we also saw some loss, mainly in the form of Pods.

  • Last count from Multnomah county puts the number of mobile food units – carts, trucks, trailers – at around 848. Up again from 2014.
  • If you’re out and about seeking out food carts, you may not find all 900. By my last count, there are about 420 available in lots throughout the city. Many gather in organized pods, but there are more than a few who strike out of their own.
  • 2015 saw an increase in the number of fully mobile food trucks. Yes, in the city famous for our street food, we have few vendors who are fully mobile. In the last few years, vendors have launched trucks to visit corporate parks, weddings, festivals and catered gigs. By our count, there are now 60-65 fully mobile trucks roaming the streets of Portland.



2015 was the year of the pod. There are now over 40 organized pods in the city and suburbs. Happy Valley and Aloha included.

  • Tidbit, which opened in 2014, evolved into one of the city’s destination pods this summer with live music, great food, beer and non-food vendors.
food cart review 2015

The Portland Mercado

  • The Portland Mercado, a first for Portland opened in summer with 10 vendors serving up delights from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Cuba and more. Truly an amazing project to showcase these vendors, but also create a micro-enterprise solution for budding entrepreneurs.
  • Cartlandia on 82nd now boasts almost 30 carts year around along with an onsite pub with live sports and music.
  • Happy Valley Station opened in November to huge crowds. If you haven’t visited, get HVS on your bucket list. A pavilion built to house indoor seating, a kids play area and a beer/cider cart with 40+ taps, the roof extends over the fronts of the food carts there providing much needed cover when it rains. With 30 vendors open daily, there is a dish for everyone in the family.
  • Piedmont Station brought a great selection of new vendors to NE Killingsworth. Beer too.
  • Piknik Park in Sellwood launched later summer with 9 vendors and beer and wine. Our first Malaysian cart calls the pod home.
  • The Gantry in South Waterfront took over an underutilized space which use to be the main drag down that way. Six vendors sit under a monster ship gantry. Scout Beer Garden slings brews across the street.
  • Pollo Norte, while a restaurant, decided to open a pod on their property on NE 42nd.
  • The City of Milwaukie acted boldly in identifying a parcel they want to develop as a food cart pod. In my dealings with cities and street food, this may be the first city driven effort to create a designated space for carts. We’ll keep you posted on the progress in 2016.



As an eater, how does one pick favorites. On any given day, I get asked about my favorite cart. Tough question with so many options to choose from and more opening on a regular basis. I usually just provide a top 5 or maybe a list of those vendors I would bring Aunt Gini to. That said, I did enjoy a couple of dishes that simply blew me away and seared flavors into my taste memory.

food cart review 2015

Tajine fro La Camel

La Camel on SW 9th and Washington served up one of my favorite dishes of the year – Moroccan Kefta Tajine. I can still remember that first bite and the burst of flavors from this vibrant dish. Moroccan seasoned kefta (seasoned beef meatballs) in a rich tomato sauce with fresh chopped white onion, olives and topped with two fried eggs, cheese crumbles and chopped parsley. So good, I’ve returned for a few other Tajines throughout the year. Thank you Karim.

food cart review 2015

Chicken and Guns

Chicken and Guns. Just the name brings people to the cart. A project by seasoned food cart owner Dustin Knox (Perierra Creperie) and Woodsman alum Todd Radcliffe – the goal was to present the street food the two had enjoyed on the back roads of Central American while on surfing trips. The chicken is sublime – charred to perfection, moist and tasty, almost sinful, with a rich Peruvian style sauce. Add a fried egg because you can. Roasted potatoes and fresh greens if you need veggies, but the star of the show is the Latin-inspired chickens old-fashioned grilled over mesquite and oak. Cartopia at SE 12th and Hawthorne.


Brick and Mortar

As the economy warmed, the opportunity for cart vendors to spread their wings arose. Here are just a few of the vendors who opened Brick and Mortar shops in 2015.

  • The Big Egg on NE Alberta and 30th
  • Big-Ass Sandwiches on NE Glisan
  • Thrive Pacific NW in Alameda
  • Taco Pedaler on NE Broadway
  • Cackalack’s in Bethany
  • Burrasca on SE Clinton
  • ChickPeaDX at the Zipper in NE Portland
  • RUA at the Zipper
  • Pulehu Pizza has opened at The Lumberyard on 82nd
  • HOME, A Bar – a bar/restaurant by Bro-Dogs and Burgers and Brett of Food Carts Portland – SE 7th and Morrison
  • Gonzo took over the kitchen at Bar XV in Old Town
  • The Cheese Plate owners take over the kitchen at Culmination Brewing one day a week with vegan cuisine.
  • Koi Fusion – everywhere


News and highlights from 2015:

  • More than a few vendors closed this past year. Some to open restaurants, others to tackle new adventures. Here are some we’ll miss – Kargi Gogo, Ugarit Mediterranean (10 years), Italian Market, Gaufre Gourmet Waffles, Brunch Box (restaurant opened), Minizo, Burrasca (restaurant opened), Delicios Romanian
  • Henry’s Diner opened in Carlton in wine country. Such a great location for breakfast, lunch or just to rest while visiting one of Oregon’s magical regions.
  • Churros Locos enjoyed international stardom at the World Street Food Congress in Singapore in April. With a line up of 30 vendors at the street food jamboree, Daniel and Isabel and a team of assistants cranked out almost 10,000 churros and churro sundaes to the attendees over the course of five days. A wonderful representation of Portland’s street food vendors.
  • An early morning fire at the PSU pod in July close five carts, destroying a couple completely. Those vendors who’s carts were damages have rebuilt and reopened, yet two have yet to recover.
  • Portland’s Queen of the Carts – Nong Poonsukwattana – continued to wow us with an amazing performance on Chopped Impossible in October. While she didn’t win, social media believed she should have. Keep up the great work Nong.
  • An interesting story broke in February about two food carts in downtown purchasing stolen meat and then reselling it to customers. Chop Chop and Ren’s Bubble Tea owners were arrested in the case and the carts eventually left the lot. Chop Chop has since re-opened in SE Portland.
  • Smoke Buddy, a mobile marijuana cart, launched in August, rolling around and giving away joints due to a unique loophole in the law. According to the owners, they had the legal right to dispense, yet by the end of August, state authorities were looking into their practices. Maybe in 2016 we’ll see a true pot cart or truck.

What a year. For the past seven years, I’ve enjoyed sitting down in December and rounding up the year’s news. 2016 will be upon us shortly with a new crop of eager vendors showcasing their wares. Street food in Portland isn’t going away due to development. It will evolve and change, but never disappear. Happy New Year and best wishes from Food Carts Portland.

Portland Food Cart News for September


Some tidbits of food cart news for September:

Food Cart Pod Closures – we knew it was coming. With property values skyrocketing in the city, some food cart pods are going the way of development. Good Food Here in SE 43rd and Belmont will close soon and vendors are already seeking new locations. A new pod is sprouting up across the street. More details on that when it comes together. Q19 in NW Portland is closing. We’ve been contacted by multiple vendors there about the lot being developed in the near future and they are being evicted.


New Food Cart Pod in Sellwood. Piknik Park Food Carts and Beer is now open on SE 11th and Tacoma in Sellwood. The new pod has attracted a great lineup of vendors including:

  • Bent-Lee’s Kitchen – brats, schnitzel, tacos
  • City Slickers – specialties from cities around the USA
  • Devin’s Dive – plant based grub
  • Essential Whole Juice
  • Polli-Tico – rotisserie Peruvian chicken
  • SushiLOVE – vegan sushi
  • Straits Kitchen – Malaysian
  • Village Patisserie – French inspired bakery

The lot is new, so hours are still being flushed out, but expect vendors to follow the east side model doing lunch and dinner during the week including weekend service.


portland food cart news

Mini Mobile Bike Carts

Are you shopping for a mobile unit? There are many options – trucks, trailers, buses, vans. OR, you could go with a bicycle trailer solution. Mini Mobile Bike Carts is located down in the central east side industrial district where they build custom bike trailers that can be used for food service. So cool. Owner Jason Brown launched a Kickstarter to grow the business and bring his custom trailers to the masses. Maybe we’ll see a few roaming the city in the coming months.


New Vendors:

  • The Cluck Truck – SW 10th and Washington
  • Small Pharaoh – expanded to SW 3rd and Washington
  • MFTasty-  N Mississippi and Beech
  • Pineapple Bliss – Cartlandia
  • Tōv: an Egyptian/middle eastern themed coffee cart – SE 32nd and Hawthorne


The City of Milwaukie is looking into food cart pods. On September 22, the city will host a forum to discuss bringing organize pods to the city. If you’re from the area and want to have a voice in the decision, head on down to the Public Safety Building at 3200 SE Harrison St. at 6pm on the 22nd. The conversation will include identifying publicly owned land to be used to host vendors. The city also has a survey going if you can’t make the public meeting.


Labor Day usually signals the end of the summer sales season for the food carts in town. With the weather changing and tourists back home, sales are down for many. But we’re Portlanders. We have parkas. Head on out to your favorite food cart or pod this week and let them know you’re still a customer. Thank you for supporting Portland’s dynamic and ever evolving street food scene.

PDX Dönerländ

german food cart portland

PDX Dönerländ

Location: NE 7th and Killingsworth at Piedmont Station
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11:30-2:30 and 5-930pm; Sat/Sun, 12-9:30

The Story: Piedmont Station, one of Portland’s newest food cart pods, brings tasty treats to northeast Portland just off MLK Blvd and Killingsworth. Of the new food carts, PDX Dönerländ offers up a dish rarely found on the east side – döner kebab.

Owners Ron and Franziska are the team behind PDX Dönerländ. Franziska hails from Karlsruhe in Germany and Ron from San Francisco, yet they began their love over meat sandwiches while traveling in Germany. Franziska grew up with döner, a dish originating in Turkey and brought to Germany in the 50’s by guest workers, so opening a food cart and sharing the love came to pass. Franziska also has more than a few years as a professional chef under her belt, so that helps. Their mission is to serve the highest quality ingredients and use organic when possible and 100% GMO free. Everything served is made from scratch in the cart and you can tell by the freshness of every bite.

I’ve enjoyed a myriad of döner kebab over the years. Some served atop rice or with salad, others in a pita or other type of pocket bread. While traditional döner was usually mutton, most everyone now serves a mix of chicken and turkey, with some offering beef or lamb. At PDX Dönerländ, the kebab flatbread sandwich is stuffed with sliced chicken and turkey döner meat, lettuce, tomatoes, red cabbage, onions, pepperoncini and your choice of a yogurt-dill or red sauce. I was expecting thin slices of meat, but here, they were chunks, adding a texture and breadth of flavor I hadn’t expected. The sauce dripped throughout the meat and veggies, adding a cool sweetness to the entire meal. Lastly, the flatbread. Everything comes down to the bread right? Franziska nailed it, creating the best possible vessel for the cacophony of meat, veggies and sauce.

german food cart portland

Doner Kebab

I’m excited to see vendors bringing traditional street foods from Europe to Portland. There are excellent dishes under represented in the vast array of vendors throughout this fine town. Welcome to Portland PDX Dönerländ. Next time you’re up in the neighborhood, drop on by the pod, enjoy a döner kebab, maybe a beer and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Döner kebab sandwich – $9
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Doner – $9
  • Mediterranean Salads  – $7-9 depending on toppings

Facebook: PDX Donerland
Twitter: @PDXDonerland