Khob Khun Thai Food

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Khob Khun Thai Food

Khob Khun Thai Food

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

The lot at SW 5th and Stark is one of the oldest and most established in the city. Many remember Matlock’s and still ask where that cart went (it turned into BrunchBox.) The stainless steel cart next door has also been there for years having been numerous incarnations of international street food like Gyro King, Best of Kazakhstan, Creperie and now, we have Khob Khun Thai Food by Veli Thai.

You may recognize the last part of the name – Veli Thai. Just a few carts away, many Portlanders have been enjoying amazing Thai dishes from the venerable Veli Thai cart. I was resistant to try the newest version of the silver cart having seen it change hands and do so many different things so many times just in the past few years. When I saw they were affiliated with Veli, I had to give them a try and I wasn’t disappointed.

Spicy Basil Thai Style

Spicy Basil Thai Style

Being a fan of fried rice, I perused the menu for something quick and simple and a known quantity. Spicy basil fried rice was on the tip of my tongue when I looked over and saw the day’s special – spicy basil Thai style with ground chicken. Not sure what the big difference is, but I wanted to try it with ground chicken, not an ingredient you find on most Thai menus. The dish wasn’t fried rice, but a stir fry of ground chicken, red and green bell peppers, basil, yellow onions, and hot Thai peppers served over white rice. Something about the spice with the veggies and the sauce that they used made this a memorable dish. The onions, always a favorite of mine, were caramelized with some crispy bits to blend with the ground chicken which was savory with a touch of the saltiness you get from soy or tamari sauce. I enjoyed the meal so much, I returned a week later to get it again and had to leave with a different dish since it was no longer on the menu. I was sad. Trust me, if you see it on the menu, grab it while you can.

Khob Khun has now been open in the silver cart for more than a few months and they always have a long line of customers waiting for their food. With every order, you get a small cup of hot tea, so on those cold winter days, you can stand under their awning and warm up a bit. I’m glad to see one of the strip’s venerable older carts find a tenant that is succeeding. Lastly, along with the hot cup of tea, just after the new year, I found a cute little keychain in the bag as a way they were saying “Khob Khun” (“Thank You” in English.) Drop on by and enjoy some great Thai and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:
Upon arrival, you choose your dish, choose chicken, tofu or veggie and your spice level

  • Pad Thai: Medium sized rice noodles with pad Thai sauce, egg, green onions and bean sprouts – $5
  • Pad-Thai Woon: glass noodles with special pad Thai sauce, egg, green onions and bean sprouts – $5
  • Pad Kee Mao: wide sized rice noodles stir-fried with ground chili, egg, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and basil – $5
  • Pad See-Ew: wide sized rice noodles stir-fried with sweet soy sauce, egg, broccoli, carrots, cabbage – $5
  • Red, Yellow or Green Curry: Thai red, yellow or green curry with coconut milk, bell pepper, eggplant, bamboo shoot and basil; served over white or brown rice – $5
  • Mussamun Curry: mussamun curry with onions, carrots and potatoes; served over white or brown rice – $5
  • Spicy Basil Fried Rice: fried rice with chili sauce, egg, onions, bell peppers and basil – $5
  • Fried Rice: typical Thai fried rice with egg, peas, onions, carrots and tomatoes – $5
  • Pineapple Fried Rice: fried rice with pineapple, egg, raisins, onions, cashew nut, peas and carrots – $5
  • Much much more

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11am-5pm
Phone: 503 702 5844
Facebook: Khob Khun Thai Food

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Bulkogi Korean BBQ

dieselboi

Location: SW 5th and Stark

The Story:

Portland was first introduced to the Korean taco by Koi Fusion in 2009. Now we have a new cart on SW 5th offering them up without you having to know where they will be from one day to the next. Welcome Bulkogi Korean BBQ.

Korean tacos are usually defined by how the meat is cooked (Korean style with different methods of preparation) and what other toppings are included. For most, the uniqueness is from the kimchi that is added as filler. Mix these two together with some spice and you have a truly unique taco experience.

At Bulkogi, I ordered and enjoyed a Korean Chicken and Korean Beef taco. On their menu, they don’t list kimchi per se, but do let you know you are getting a “healthy Korean salad topping” with your taco. The tacos were a good size, two would be sufficient for lunch. The meat was well prepared and flavorful, yet what I liked the most was the Korean salad topping. It was made with shredded cabbage, finely chopped red onion, some lettuce and cilantro. It was all held together with a light spicy sauce that, when paired with the cilantro, gave the entire taco a zing. I love cilantro, but know it can sometimes overwhelm a dish. While there was a lot of cilantro here, it didn’t overwhelm, but complemented the taco nicely. I enjoyed both tacos and look forward to returning in a few weeks after they get in their groove to see if they are any different.

Bulkogi Korean BBQ is in the space where Dreamer’s cafe use to be, using the old Dreamer’s cart. They have modified it significantly with a front attached to the cart to create the serving counter you see here. Bulkogi is a family business, so like with most every cart, you’re ordering from the owner and chef and chief dishwasher. Lately, I have begun to appreciate that aspect of the carts so much more and enjoy having small chats with them about their stories. Check out Bulkogi next time your down there and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All tacos come with Korean Salad topping

  • Korean Chicken breast taco – $2
  • Korean Beef – $2
  • Korean Pork – $2
  • Korean Tofu – $2

Hours: Lunchtime, weekdays
Contact: unknown

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Vietnamese Food To Go

Food Carts Portland

Location: SW 5th and Oak/Stark Parking Lot

Description: I like establishments with straightforward names. Guess what this one serves? Vietnamese food of course. I like Vietnamese food for lunch because it can be filling but not too heavy.

VFTG makes a decent Pho, As in the spicy, Vietnamese Penicillin, good for what ails you noodle soup. Comes in either beef (pho bo), chicken (pho ga), or one they call “spicy beef flavor”. Each are $5.00 and come with the usual accompaniments of basil, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, and hot sauces, etc.

Salad rolls are a great bargain here with 2 for $3.00 or 3 for $3.50.

Other entrees include large rice or noodle bowls at $4.50 with things like grilled chicken or beef, some vegetarian options, and occasional specials such as the stuffed Vietnamese rice crepe known as Bahn Xeo and Bahn Mi Vietnamese sandwiches.

Hours: Mon-Fri Lunchtime Hours

Phone: Unknown

Website: None

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Veli Thai Food

Food Carts Portland

Veli Thai Food

Veli Thai Food

Location: SW 5th and Oak/Stark

Description: Thailand is a country that is obsessed with street food. In large cities like Bangkok or even the smallest of towns one can find all kinds of delicious food at bargain prices. You’ll see rich folks pull up in Mercedes and people of all types and classes slurping soups, dining on noodles, and enjoying other specialties.

Every time I walk by Veli Thai I get a whiff of garlic, lemon grass, ginger and a thousand other amazing scents that bring me back to my travels in Thailand.

Almost everything at Veli is $5.00 and includes Thai standards such a big container of Phad Thai, several different kinds of curries (red, yellow, green, etc), and lots of stir fries as well as fried rices. Salad rolls are 2 for $3.00 and make for a light lunch or perfect snack. Some recent specials also included a pineapple curry and a pumpkin curry. Just about everything is available in a vegetarian version.

[Updated with photo August 2009]

Hours: lunchtime Mon-Fri

Phone: 503-867-1514 or 503-475-3868

Website: None

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Real Taste of India

Food Carts Portland

Location: SW 5th and Oak/Stark Parking Lot

Description: Not to be confused with New Taste of India located a few carts down on the same “cart strip”, this one has a giant menu (how do they have such a huge menu in such small digs anyway) and the standard 5 piece combo for $5.50 which includes 2 entrees, dal, basamati rice, and nan bread, served either with meat or vegetarian. Ok, so it’s greasy and heavy food. This is also cheap and filling food. As a poor grad student I used to be able to get 2-3 meals out of one standard combo. A recent combo included chicken curry, chicken pakoras, chana masala for the meat variety and channa saag, dal tarka, and vegetable korma for the vegetarian option.

Real Taste of India also has over 60 things listed a la carte on their menu ranging from samosas ($3.00 for 2 samosas) to a wide variety of meat or vegetable curries and entrees ($5.00-$7.00), and even 3 different kinds of rice Biriyani ($5.50-$7.00).

They are also open late enough to grab to go food for dinner at home.

Phone: 503-295-5564

Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch to around 6 or 7 PM

Website: Unknown

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