Chez Dodo

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Chez Dodo

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: M-F, 11am-11pm; Sat, 11-9pm

The Story: A taste of Mauritian Paradise. That is all I needed to know before visiting Chez Dodo, a new vendor in the ever changing lot at the corner of N Fremont and Vancouver. Chez Dodo moved to SW 5th and Stark January 2014.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the south east coast of Africa. When the Portuguese arrived in the 1500’s, the island was uninhabited except for the famed Dodo bird. After a few centuries of different colonial rule, the culture of the island in the 21st century is a mix of several ethnicities – mostly of Indian, African, Chinese and European descent. At Chez Dodo, the cuisine reflects the inspiration of French, African, Indian, Creole and Chinese cuisine.

Upon arrival, Chef Shayamal leaned out the window to greet me and immediately listed off the day’s specials and instructed me to the vast menu and how to order. You start with a base of either flat bread, noodles or rice, add a curry sauce and then top with accompaniments like bean curry and potatoes, chicken or lamb. I chose pan fried curry noodles with the Island Fever spicy curry sauce and lamb. During the prep of the meal, Shayamal leaned out with a huge skillet of noodles and a fork to ask if the spice was sufficient. What brilliant service. A huge plate of noodles with vegetables and lamb was handed over. More than I could eat in a sitting, but so flavorful, spicy and complex, I couldn’t put the fork down. If you’re going, go with a friend as Shayamal is a giver of food and will load you up.

Curry Noodles from Chez Dodo

You may recognize the name Chez Dodo as his vegan pre-made products have been in local stores now for over a year. Chef Shayamal offers numerous options for vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian diets. He stated, “If it weren’t for the vegans buying my product, I wouldn’t be open.” Thanks vegans! Chez Dodo is open from lunch through late night and on Saturday, so there is no reason you can’t visit. The lot now has five different mobile vendors and the are continues to change for the better with a New Seasons store opening this year. Drop on by for a taste of Mauritius and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Bases:

  • Dholl Puri Flat Bread; Pan Fried Curried Noodles; Brown Rice Pulao or Rice Noodles

Curry Sauces:

  • Healthy Vegan: mild curry sauce cooked with a blend of exotic spices and herbs
  • Tropical Happiness: creamy tomato based curry sauce cooked with spices, coconut and cashews
  • Island Fever: spicy curry sauce with 3 different peppers, onions, ginger, garlic, tamarind, lemon and vinegar

Accompaniments:

  • Assorted bean curry and potatoes – $4.99
  • Wild combo of mushrooms with lentil fritter – $5.99
  • Chicken cooked in red wine sauce – $5.99
  • Lamb Curry pressure cooked and sauteed – $7.99

Phone: (503) 284-4575
Facebook: Chez Dodo
Twitter: @ChezDodoPDX

Batavia

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Batavia

Batavia

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-3:30pm; Sat, 9am-5pm

Please welcome guest author Aaron Wakamatsu

The Story:

While downtown Portland has a stunning array of cuisines to choose from, there aren’t too many places offering Indonesian food. Thus, Rizky and Nella opened Batavia, a family-run food cart near SW 3rd and Washington. Here, you’ll be treated to this family’s take on Indonesian flare.

Since I love spicy food, the spicy beef satay (sate padang) caught my eye. Usually, the meat is boiled first to soften it, then gets seasoned, skewered, and grilled. Four or five skewers of cubed juicy grilled beef is set atop an alluring yellow sauce containing rice flour, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, etc. At the base of the dish lies several sliced pieces of rice cake that possess a smooth texture…think a whitish-colored polenta without the grainy, mealy feeling. You’ll even get a small bag of crispy shrimp chips with the satay. The dish is prepared to order, so you’ll get a steaming, hearty container of yummy goodness in this chilly weather.

Beef Satay from Batavia

Beef Satay from Batavia

Was the dish spicy? Well, it depends on your tolerance for heat. As a person who has eaten “ghost peppers” before (not a smart idea), I could easily handle a spicier dish, but my taste buds were at least prodded out of their slumber.

Batavia offers Indonesian coffee that comes from Rizky’s father, so of course, I had to try that. The aftertaste on the coffee commands an exotic presence that domestic coffees lack. It’s a full-bodied, rich coffee experience. Batavia also has two types of Indonesian teas (from SariWangi): Melati Flower and Jasmine. (a Jasmine tea) and a cold bottled tea. Batavia has got some seriously good eats. Check them out today!

Sample Menu:

  • Fried Noodle – $4.99
  • Chicken Curry – $6.99
  • Fried Rice – $5.99
  • Beef Rendang – $6.99
  • Chicken Satay – $6.99
  • Spicy Fried Chicken – $6.99
  • Spicy Beef Satay – $8
  • Noodle Soup – $6.99

Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-3:30pm; Sat, 9am-5pm
Phone: 503 954 7529
Twitter: @bataviapdx
Facebook: Batavia PDX

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Sanjai’s Teriyaki

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Sanjai's Teriyaki

Sanjai's Teriyaki

Location: SE 52nd and Foster
Hours: Everyday, 11am-6pm

The Story:

Some of the first street food I enjoyed back as a younger man was yakisoba noodles. While it is now widely available throughout the city, finding it on a cool winter day while driving through southeast Portland brought back some great memories. Sanjai’s Teriyaki has some great yakisoba.

Sanjai’s Teriyaki started as a street vendor doing events and catering. I had heard about them and how good they were from friends who had enjoyed their food at the Pirate Festival. When I saw the cart at the lot on 52nd and Foster, I did a loop around the neighborhood and parked. I needed some lunch. The menu offers yakisoba noodles, Pad Thai noodles and fried rice – with or without chicken. Pretty straightforward and simple which allows them to focus on what they do well. I asked for my vegetarian yakisoba noodles to be super spicy – Thai spicy. They obliged and even threw in a small cup of their spicy Thai pepper oil. I commented that I love the Thai oil and the owner, Tony, detailed how to make it at home for myself. I ended up walking away with some great noodles which were blazingly spicy and a recipe for myself. A win-win situation. The noodles, with chopped cabbage, sliced carrot and plenty of hot oil were just what I was looking for and satisfied my craving.

Yakisoba Noodles from Sanjai's Teriyaki

Yakisoba Noodles from Sanjai's Teriyaki

Sanjai’s Teriyaki is now open at the pod at SE 52nd and Foster which now has indoor seating and is looking to add a cocktail cart in the near future. If you’re in the area, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Yakisoba Noodles – $6; w/chicken, $8
  • Pad Thai Noodles – $6; w/chicken, $8
  • Fried Rice – $6; w/chicken, $8
  • Combo plate with all of the above – $10
  • Eggroll – $2

Hours: Everyday, 11am-6pm
Contact: 503 453 3096
Facebook: Sanjai’s Teriyaki

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Minizo

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Minizo

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11-3

The Story:

Ramen is the new pork in Portland with carts and restaurants alike revisiting this wonderful Japanese dish. Minizo, Noodleburger, opened this month to offer both ramen and burgers along with other Japanese delights

Minizo is the work of Tamio Nojima and Yasuharu Nojiri who are with Shigezo, a Japanese Izakaya downtown by the south park blocks. Shigezo is part of a larger company with over 100 restaurants in Japan. Portland is their first stop stateside and Minizo is their first cart. Oh, and Minizo translates as small Shigezo. How cool is that? When you visit, you may also run into Toku, a manager or Ken, an executive chef, both from Shigezo.

Minizo Abu-Ramen

Minizo Abu-Ramen

Minizo offers up Japanese style noodle soups, Japanese style curry and their version of burgers. The Abu-Ramen, one of the many styles of ramen out of Japan, is made with fresh wheat flour noodles, green onion, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, seasoned soy sauce – kaeshi, chili oil and chashu pork. What you’ll notice about this dish – there isn’t a clear broth like we might expects with ramen. The noodles are tossed in a seasoned kaeshi sauce that sticks to the noodles. While you can slurp, you’re not spooning broth. The ramen was exceptional, with a breadth of flavors, both spicy and salty and you could taste the care in the thick handmade noodles. I’m definitely heading back for more.

Minizo isn’t just ramen. They do have their own styles of burgers – a chicken katsu burger or a shrimp burger. Something new to try. I’m happy to see another Japanese cart open. Such great food and so few places to enjoy it. Drop on by Minizo and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Abu-Ramen: green onions, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, seasoned soy sauce, handmade noodles, chashu pork, chili oil – $6
  • Veggie Abu-Ramen: noodles tossed in original shiodare sea salt sauce and mixed with green onions, bean sprouts, seasoned burdock root and carrots, fried tofu and chili oil – $6
  • Okinawa Noodle Soup: homemade pork and bonito broth with green onion, shredded omelet, chashu pork, and a side of red ginger – $6.50
  • Brown Curry: curry sauce made from slow simmered onions, fresh carrots, ginger, potatoes, garlic and Japanese spice blend – stewed together with chicken broth and served with steaming rice and pickled radish – $5
  • Chicken Katsu Curry: curry served with deep fried chicken katsu – $6.50
  • Veggie Curry: curry with vegetable and seaweed stock. served with fried eggplant, zucchini, carrot, potatoes and onion -$6.50
  • Chicken Katsu Burger: deep fried chicken breast dressed with sweet amazu vinegar soy sauce and served with cabbage and lettuce – $6
  • Shrimp Burger: fresh shrimp, eggs and white onion dressed in white bechamel sauce, breaded in Panko and deep fried – $6

Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

 

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