Taste of Korea

Food Carts Portland

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am – 4pm. Sat-Sun, 6PM – 3AM

The Story: Are Korean carts in Portland the new Thai carts? It seems like a few years ago it was almost all Thai all the time (I jest). But while I love a good Musaman Curry or Drunken Noodles, its Korean food above all else that fills my Asian soul food needs.

Thank goodness carts like Taste of Korea can now be found downtown. I was recently in Seoul on a long layover and it’s a street food loving city of the best of them. Stands specializing in just dumplings, some in mystery battered and fried things, grilled sea creatures with tentacles, and hot bubbling stews of all kinds. It was my friends, an adventurous food lovers paradise.

Taste of Korea sticks to the Korean standards Americans know and love: grilled soy sauce based Kalbi beef ribs, Fried Mandu meat and veggie dumplings, Spicy grilled chicken, and even a Ramyun variety or two (Ramyun is a Korean style of ramen). Most dishes are Bento types with your choice of two main or side items along with Jap-Chae clear noodles, plain rice, a simple iceburg lettuce salad, and kimchi on request. For a dollar or two less, you can get the “bowl” versions, which are simply the entree over rice. And yes, everyone’s favorite “all-mixed-up” rice bowl Bi-Bim-Bap is available with or without meat, and with a fried egg on top (or not) as you wish. It’s lunch for those who want big flavors and big portions but don’t want to spend a big wad of cash. The beef dishes especially would be easily $4-$6 more at a restaurant for the same quality and portions.

Sample Menu:

  • Bulgogi Beef or Kalbi beef ribs bento – $8.00
  • Spicy Chicken Bento – $6.00
  • Korean BBQ Tofu Bento – $6.00
  • Mandu Dumplings – 10 for $5.00, 6 for $5.00
  • Ramyun Noodles – $4.00

Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am – 4pm. Sat-Sun, 6PM – 3AM
Phone: 2132844108

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Wolf and Bear’s

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Location: SE 28th and Ankeny
Hours: 11am-10pm daily

The Story: Wolf & Bear’s focuses on Iraqi and Israeli cuisine. Falafel, Sabich and more. You can find our article on Wolf & Bear’s here. They have 2 locations, SE 28th and Ankeny and N Mississippi and Shaver.

Facebook: Wolf & Bear’s

Thrive Pacific NW

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rice bowl food cart portland

Thrive Pacific NW

Location: check their website for current location

The Story:

Earlier this year, after returning from a trip to California where I had to seek out food trucks all over the city, I drove down Division and saw a food truck parked in front of APEX bar. We have food trucks here in Portland, but most of the mobile vendors are congregated in lots throughout the city, so seeing a truck on the street is something kinda new. Thrive Pacific NW has been roaming the streets of Portland all summer feeding hungry eaters.

Thrive is the work of Stephanie and Erika who only met a year or so ago but have years of experience in the kitchen and wanted to try something new. With a beautifully outfitted truck, they launched with the goal of hitting events and under served areas where there aren’t any food vendors. You may have seen them at Powell’s Street Fair or Sunday Parkways or even the Zoo Concerts.

rice bowl food cart portland

The Argentinean from Thrive

The menu is designed around Erika’s travels internationally, but the food is all local. Vegetables sourced from local farms and vendors like Kruger Farms and Draper Valley. They even have their own garden plot which they harvested vegetables from throughout the summer. As the seasons change, so will the menu, focusing on what’s fresh and available. Delicata squash was mentioned and my mouth watered. I am a fan of sauteed fresh veggies whether it be kale or broccoli or snap peas. Done well and they retain the fresh out of the garden flavor with a bit of sear on the edges. The Argentinian bowl I enjoyed had a good assortment of sauteed vegetables, seared and seasoned tempeh and a to die for garlicky chimichurri sauce. All served over brown rice. Every bite, whether it was kale or brocolli or carrot or squash had a burst of flavor from the chimichurri. Such a wonderful dish, it made me rethink dinner plans for the nights to come.

Thrive Pacific NW cruises around town to different venues and events. They are regulars outside APEX Bar on SE 12th and Division on Wednesday nights, but you can find their whole schedule on their website which they update regularly. This is a truck to seek out and try. You’ll be glad you did. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Thrive is a Mobile Food Truck in the city.

Sample Menu (see website for current menu and pricing):

Protein can be added to any bowl: organic tempeh, $1; free-range chicken, $2; grass-fed hanger steak,

  • Japanese Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, sesame seeds, cilantro, tamari-sesame sauce, sea weed
  • Thai Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, cilantro, mint, peanuts, Thai coconut sauce
  • Mexican Rice Bowl: brown rice, black beans, sauteed veg, tomatillo salsa, avocado, creamy lime sauce
  • Argentinean Rice Bowl:
  • Kashmir Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, basil, cashews, Indian curry sauce

Hours: check website
Website: ThrivePacificNW.com
Facebook: Thrive Pacific NW
Twitter: @ThrivePacificNW

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Momo Cart

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Momo Cart

Momo Cart

Location: Roaming, check Facebook
Hours: check Facebook

The Story:

Young man visits Nepal. Young man returns to Nepal. Best friend from Nepal moves to Portland and marries. Three friends are together in the same city and Momo Cart is born.

Evan, a California native, lived in Nepal learning Nepalese and teaching English when he met Roshan, his now business partner. Roshon went on to marry Hailey, another friend and all three ended up in Portland to start the cart. Momos are steamed Himalayan dumplings and are available throughout Nepal from carts similar to the Momo Cart they crafted from a bike trailer here in Portland. Many parts of the cart were salvaged from one place or another in order to create something unique. Hailey even pointed out the timber bamboo on the corners that they harvested from the neighbor’s yard.

Vegan Himalayan Dumplings from Momo Cart

Vegan Himalayan Dumplings from Momo Cart

On the menu at Momo Cart you can get chicken, vegan or chard n’ cheese momos. At Last Thursday on Alberta, the vegan dumplings were hot and ready, so they plated them up for me. Using sugarcane based compostable plates, the boys learned that if they placed the hot steamed dumpling directly atop, they would stick to the plate. To mitigate that, they spread their secret chutney on the plate first as a bed for the tasty morsels. Each plate is five dumplings and served with a dollop of said chutney in the center. The vegan momo comes with carrot, cabbage, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper. Such a great mix of flavors. The ginger, tumeric and cumin blend well with the veggies which still have a crunch and fresh farm flavor. These dumplings are amazing.

Momo Cart is one of those elusive mobile carts you have to track down to enjoy. While they were spending their summers at local parks, come fall, they will switch it up, so follow them on Facebook for up to date locations and times. If you see them on their bikes rolling down the street, wave and say hi. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Hours: check Facebook
Website: MomoCart.com
Twitter: @MomoCart
Facebook: MomoCartPDX

Thai Mango

Food Carts Portland

Thai Food cart portlandLocation: SE 82nd and Harney (Cartlandia)
Hours:
Tues – Sun, 11am-6pm

The Story: Guess what this cart serves? Oh, come on. I bet you’ll never guess it from their name. Ok, give up yet? Surprise, It’s Thai Food!

All joking aside, I know Portland hosts more Thai carts than there are probably roses in our fair Rose City. Or so it seems anyway. PDX is crazy for Thai. And why not? Thai is satisfying any time: quick, super flavorful, filling, and affordable. Thai food makes for great cart eating for lunch, dinner or snacks.

The food at It’s Thai Food is what I call “home cooking Thai” – a bit rustic, total comfort food Thai style, with big portions and lots of standards you see in other Thai carts around town.  It’s Thai focuses on dishes such as spring and salad rolls, and plenty of curries.

Thai Food cart portlandI tried the Massaman Curry. “Massaman” is the English spelling of an old Thai word for Muslim. And yes, it may seem ironic that many Massaman curries feature beef, but this curry is named not for the religion or its people, but more its aromatic (almost North Indian continent) spicing, as well as hearty coconut milk, potatoes, and peanut flavors. I call it the Thai Beef n’ Potatoes, and it is pure rib sticking comfort food.

Thai Food cart portlandTwo other menu items grabbed my attention at It’s Thai Food, because they are two of my favorites and you don’t see them served too often from Portland carts. Both are desserts: Sticky Rice with Mango, and a Black Rice with Custard. I tried the Mango with Sticky Rice, and it was just what I needed: creamy, and warm with a generous serving of perfectly ripe, sliced fresh mango on top. A sweet ending to a sweet little cart.

(Cart renamed to Thai Mango in 2014)

Sample Menu:

  • Salad Rolls. Pork or vegetarian with plum sauce – $3.75
  • Spring Rolls. With Pork or Vegetarian – $5.00
  • Yellow, Red, Green, or Mussaman Curry with choice of beef, pork or chicken, or tofu. Served with rice – $6.50
  • Vegetable Delight Stir Fry, choice of beef, pork or chicken, or tofu. Served with rice – $6.50
  • Thai Fried Rice with Cashews and Pineapple, choice of beef, pork, or chicken, or tofu. Served with rice – $6.50
  • Sticky Rice with Mango – $5.50

Location: SE 82nd and Harney (Cartlandia)
Phone:
503-290-9329

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