Mizu Ramen

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Ramen food cart portland

Mizu Ramen

Location: SE 82nd and Harney at Cartlandia
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11:30-3pm; Tues-Fri, 4:30-8pm

The Story: Portland loves ramen, that’s a fact. Just a few years ago, lines wrapped the block at the only ramen joint in town, but now every street and neighborhood sports options ranging from affordable and simple to expensive and rare. I simply love the diversity. Mizu Ramen, one of only a few food carts crafting the magical noodle dish offers their wares up at Cartlandia in SE Portland.

When I first dove into the ramen rat hole, I learned more about the dish than what Top Ramen shilled all those years. Miso, Shoyu, Shio, Tonkotsu, Alkali noodles, soft boiled eggs, chashu, the list goes on. Exploring the differences between the styles has become an obsession and joy. At Mizu Ramen, they keep it simple and straight forward – Miso, Shoyu (soy sauce broth), Shio (salt broth) and vegetarian Miso as options. Each bowl comes with chashu pork, bamboo shoots, spinach, seaweed, 1/2 a soft boiled egg and green onions. The vegetarian option comes with Tofu. For $9, this is one of the more sizable bowls I’ve had. A monster. The chashu pork had just a hint of fat which fit well with the seaweed and spinach. Everything about the bowl, the noodles, the rich broth, the veggies, the pork – spot on. I just wish they were closer to my home so I could enjoy their offerings more.

ramen food cart portland

Ramen from Mizu Ramen

Mizu Ramen is located at Cartlandia in SE Portland which offers covered seating and a bar for you to enjoy your meals out of the rain and cold. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they have a great menu for everyone. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu:
ramen food cart portland

Facebook: Mizu Ramen

Teppanyaki Hut Ramen and Sushi Bar

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ramen sushi food cart portland

Teppanyaki Hut Ramen and Sushi Bar

Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Mon, 11:30-4; Tues-Sat, 11:30-7:30; Sun, 11:30-6

The Story: Mississippi Marketplace continues to shift vendors around, bringing in new choices for us north Portland eaters. Teppanyaki Hut brings us ramen and sushi, much needed in the N Mississippi corridor.

ramen sushi food cart portland

Volcanic Eruption from Teppanyaki Hut Ramen and Sushi Bar

Teppanyaki Hut offers up ramen, sushi in the form of nigiri and sushi burritos. Ramen starts with broth – tonkotsu (pork), miso (bean paste), shoyu (soy), and finally shio (salt). You chose pork, fish or vegetarian options with tofu. A great mix up can be had. The sushi burrito intrigued me most of all. Imagine a large hand roll with all the fixin’s. The Volcanic Eruption wraps spicy tuna, spicy salmon, jalapeno, masago, tobiko, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber and crab salad inside rice and a seaweed wrapper. Truly burrito size and with the mix of the spicy fish and eggs with the cool cucumber and cabbage, the roll was brilliant.

Teppanyaki Hut is located at Mississippi Marketplace in North Portland which offers up covered seating and access to the onsite pub. Check out their offerings and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
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Facebook: Teppanyaki Hut

Pause Japanese Bistro

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japanese food cart portland

Pause Japanese Bistro

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-7; Sunday, Noon-6pm

The Story: Portland offers up some amazing treats from street food vendors around the neighborhoods. Every so often though, a true gem arrives with something new and refreshing. Pause Japanese Bistro may be this summer’s fresh gem, serving up light, refreshing Japanese bowls.

Pause Japanese Bistro’s menu is a variety of bowls from Chirashidon to Yakisoba to Yasaidon, all with fresh vegetables and leafy greens and your choice of tuna or tofu.  So, what are these? The best way to describe it is a large bowl of love. A bed of white or brown rice topped with greens, chopped vegetables and tuna, either raw or seared. Their own signature sauces top the bowl – Wasabi Soy, Korean Chili, Spicy Mayo, Sweet Chili, Teryaki or Tamari. The Chirashidon bowl I chose –  a mix of spinach and romaine, julienned carrots and red cabbage and topped with raw tuna with the Korean Chili sauce. A salad bowl with rice. Brilliant. Also, for $8, it is a huge and satisfying portion for anyone.

japanese food cart portland

Pause Japanese Bistro

Pause is the work of Chef Hyeyeon who lived in Japan and learned how to craft these dishes from her grandmother. Now, Portland gets to enjoy her creations. Pause is located at Rose City Food Park, one of the city’s amazing pods with numerous vendors and a beer garden. Recently, they expanded to downtown with a cart at SW 10th and Washington. Next time you’re in for a treat, give Pause a try and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu

Facebook: Pause Japanese Bistro

Buki

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japanese food cart portland

Buki Food Cart

Location: SE 28th pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wed-Fri, 11-8, Saturday, 11-9 (check Facebook for updated hours)

The Story: Japanese street food is making a play in Portland. We’ve all enjoyed the Ramen craze the last few years, but now, with the help from a few food cart owners, we’re being introduced small bite street food from across the pond.  Buki at Tidbit nails it.

Buki is the work of Jack and William, college roommates and friends ever since. Taiwanese born, both experienced Japanese street food while living there and fell in love. William is the number 1 grill man according to Jack, but chatting with them, I can only assume both do the food justice. The Takoyaki, the cart’s signature dish, is what businessmen eat after imbibing a bit to much. Jack shared a story about late night wandering in Japan and seeing men in suits just mowing through plates of Takoyaki with the Japanese mayo and takoyaki sauce all over.

japanese food cart portland

Takoyaki from Buki

So, what is Takoyaki? Well, I would describe it as a small ball of yummy. Honestly, there isn’t anything like it I’ve tried. On the menu, you can get Takoyaki with sausage and cheese which is more of an American style dish or do a spicy version with kimchi and spicy mayo. I opted more traditional and chose the octopus. Yep, octopus balls. Chewy octopus is battered in wheat flower and served in a boat with a bamboo skewer. Then topped with Japanese mayo and Takoyaki sauce, a thick sweet sauce, along with a generous helping of bonito flakes. I couldn’t wait to dive in and even burned my tounge on the first bite. Each little ball – a chewy, savory experience. Paired with a cold beer from Scout Beer Garden onsite and I imagined myself on a bench at midnight in Tokyo with all the neon I could take in.

Buki also offers up Taiyaki, another staple of Japanese street food – fish shaped cookies filled with chocolate, Nutella or bean paste. In summer months they offer Bubble Tea. In winter, Jack mentioned he was putting in soup warmers to offer homestyle Taiwanese beef stew noodle soup, a dish they grew up eating and a recipe from Mom. Buki is an excellent edition to the street food scene here and they are “Armed with Deliciousness.” Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Takoyaki – numerous flavors, 8 balls for $7
  • Taiyaki – $3.50-3.75

Facebook: Buki
Twitter: @BukiPDX

Wabi Sabi

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Japanese street food

Wabi Sabi

Location: Government Camp, OR
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm

The Story: In a 1965 Grumman Olson step van brought all the way from Long Island, Chefs/Owners Jason and Makoto Cooper are excited to offer traditional Japanese street food and ocean safe sushi. They have brought Wabi Sabi to Portland.

The vintage Grumman Olson van is hard to miss. Shiny silver, simlar to the iconic Airstream, the truck will knock your socks off when you first see it. Jason and Makoto sourced it in NYC where it was built and brought it to Portland on an epic journey they liken to traveling the original Oregon Trail. Somewhere in Indiana, the RV they were towing the truck with died, so Jason sold it for $100 and rented a Uhaul for the remainder of the trip. I know opening a food cart or truck is hard work for anyone. But a story like this? There had to be times when they threw up their hands and almost called it quits. Nope. They powered on and opened earlier this summer in SE Portland. Wabi Sabi’s mission is to offer traditional Japanese street food and ocean safe sushi using sustainable fish, non-gmo soy, organic produce as often as possible and serving in compostable recycled material. They were destined to be part of Portland’s street food scene.

Japanese street food

Yakisoba from Wabi Sabi

At Wabi Sabi you’ll find Hako Zushi, sushi pressed in a Hinoki wood box layered with ingredients, traditionaly used in old Japan for travel. Albacore tuna, pickled mackerel, tilapia sashimi or a mix of all in the chirashi bowl. They also do vegetarian sushi. My eyes though skipped past the sushi to the non-sushi yummies like ramen, hiyashichuka – a cold egg noodle type salad, and yakisoba. I’ve been a fan of yakisoba since I was a kid, so couldn’t pass up this traditional Japanese festival noodle dish. The noodles are sauteed in in a tangy J-BBQ sauce, mung bean and cabbage then tossed with bonito flakes, Kewpie mayo and pickled ginger. I added in spicy kimchee for fun. The first thing you see is the mountain of bonita flakes, but diving into the noodles, you find treasures hidden in every bite. The kimchee added a depth of spice, but didn’t overpower the yakisoba which was some of the best noodles I’ve eaten in awhile. Salty, spicy, a generous amount of ginger and sweetness. A dish I’ll recommend to anyone who asks.

Wabi Sabi is a great addition to our ever evolving street food scene. We have other vendors tackling Japanese street food which is awesome and to see Jason and Makoto bring in their style is even more exciting. Head on down to the SE 32nd and Hawthorne and check out not only the coolest vintage van in town, but some tasty Japanese street food. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Wabi Sabi moved to Government Camp in spring of 2015.

Sample Menu:

  • Hako Zushi – different styles with tuna, tilapia or mackerel – $8
  • Combo of Hako Zushi – $10
  • Vegetarian Sushi – $7
  • Yakisoba – $7. add kimchee for $1
  • Shoyu Ramen  – $8
  • Hiyashichuka – $8

Website: Wabi-Sabi-Kitchen.com
Facebook: Wabi–Sabi-Kitchen

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