Traditional Russian Cuisine

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Traditional Russian Cuisine

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-7, 8pm on Mon, Fri and Sat

The Story: I often receive calls and emails from national and even international media interested in Portland’s wonderful food cart scene. Without fail, they always ask what kinds of foods are available from Portland’s hundreds of carts. Honestly, the answer is, “what don’t we have?” Instead of a seemingly endless laundry list of our city’s boundless and creative food cart menu items,  I simply state the few cuisines we seem to be short on. For the longest time, Portland was lacking food from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Eurasian continent. A new vendor, Traditional Russian Cuisine is here to fill that void.

Located in Cartlandia, Portland’s largest food cart lot on the east side, Traditional Russian Cuisine is the work of Lyla and Bella, Moscow natives who want Portlanders to enjoy what their culture has to offer. If you’ve never enjoyed Russian cuisine, you’re in for a treat. I’m a huge fan of dark hearty Russian breads, but at Traditional Russian Cuisine, you can get piroshky, cabbage roles, pelmeni (a type of dumpling), borscht (beet soup) and more.

Piroshky are a simple, yet amazingly flavorful fried buns with different fillings. Here, you can get chicken, cheese and vegetables or salmon, egg and green onion, or what I enjoyed hot out of the oven – a lamb, potato and onion piroshky. So good. Salty, starchy and sweet. Everything I wanted to start the day. Pair piroshky with borscht, a traditional beet soup, and you have a hearty lunch.

At Traditional Russian Cuisine you get a taste of the motherland. Lyla and Bella are welcoming and generous. I luckily remembered some Russian from a past life and was able to tell them how отлично (excellent) their piroshky is. Drop on by if you’re in the neighborhood or if you too have been craving something hearty. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

(This cart moved to SE 102nd and Stark)

Sample Menu:

  • Piroshky – meat or vegetable options – $2.49
  • Manti – steamed dumplings stuffed with lamb, minced onion and spices – 8 for $$6.99
  • Pilaf salad –  $4.99
  • Cabbage Rolls – $5.99
  • Russian Beef Cutlets – $5.99
  • Pelmoni – dumplings of fillings wrapped in thin dough – $4.99-$5.99
  • Borsch – Russian beet soup – $2.49-$3.99

Phone: 503-745-0619
Website: Traditional Russian Cuisine

Ninja Wings

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Ninja Wings

Ninja Wings

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7:30pm

The Story:

Over the year, some carts have taken on buffalo wings trying to create the perfect sauce and great taste. There are only a few carts in town offering such vittles until Ninja Wings opened. The difference though is that these are Thai chicken wings.

From the owners of Veli Thai and Thai Garden comes a new cart focusing on menu items not offered at the other carts. The Ninja Wings are just one piece of the expanded options which includes papaya salad, chicken larb, pot stickers, and a dish named cheesy crab. The Ninja Wings are larger than the normal wings I’ve ordered and served with your choice of sauce on the side. I opted for the ninja sauce which was a sweet spicy sauce to pour atop and then use to dip. The wings were juicy and flavorful and there were more than I could finish. Served with sticky rice, if you’re with a friend, order a different dish and share.

Ninja Wings

Ninja Wings

Ninja Wings is now open at the A la Carts pod at SE 102nd and Stark. They have covered seating with windbreaks for those chinook winds that we’ll begin seeing in a few months. Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cheesy Crab – $3
  • Pot Stickers – $3
  • Ninja Wings and Salad – $6
  • Ninja Wings, Papaya Salad – $6
  • Golden Chicken, Rice & Salad – $6
  • Chicken Larb – $6
  • Ninja Salad – $6

Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7:30pm
Phone:
971 344 4058

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Thai Garden Food Stand

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Thai Garden

Thai Garden

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm

The Story:

The lot at southeast 102nd and Stark has become the go to spot for the areas eaters. With food choices ranging from Indian to Salvadorian to Mexican to Phillapino, you can traverse the culinary world by only walking about 20 feet. Thai Garden is there to fill that gap.

Thai Garden serves up authentic Thai cuisine with a menu of curry and stir fry dishes. This is one of those carts that has explicit ordering guidelines – 1. Select Food; 2. Choose chicken or tofu; 3. How Spicy?; 4. White or brown rice? I love that. It makes it easy and simplifies the decision process. The menu here includes noodle dishes, fried rice, curry or stir fry. The day we visited, it was fried rice with tofu, egg, onion, broccoli, peas, carrots and tomatoes. Fried rice is a dish I love unconditionally as it is simple and full of crunchy vegetables. You can eat it hot or cold and it gets better in the fridge for leftovers. Thai Garden’s fried rice was well done.

Basil Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Thai Garden is open weekdays and Saturday for lunch and dinner and has attracted a large following. Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Salad Rolls – $3
  • Egg Rolls – $3
  • Pad Thai – $5
  • Pad Kee Mao – $5
  • Fried Rice – $5
  • Basil Fried Rice – $5
  • Pineapple Fried Rice – $5
  • Mussaman Curry – $5
  • Yellow Curry – $5
  • Pra Ram Stir Fry – $5
  • Spicy Basil Stir Fry – $5

Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm
Phone: 503 887 5935

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La Cocina De Chepe

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La Cocina de Chepe

La Cocina de Chepe

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11am-8pm, Sat/Sun, 10am-8pm

The Story:

The east wind blows cold in winter and the lot at 102nd and Stark is right in its path. That doesn’t close the carts though. Inside the seating area for La Cocina de Chepe, picnic tables are surrounded by space heaters while customers enjoy some wonderful Salvadorian fare.

La Cocina de Chepe – Chepe’s Kitchen – is one of those carts everyone talks about. Chepe, the owner, opened the cart in early August and by the end of the month, customers were bringing their own chairs and tables to setup in the lot. Chepe servers up authentic Salvadorian food and ensures he is using ingredients that you would find only in El Salvador. The Salvadorian red bean is an example of an ingredient he has a difficult time sourcing in Oregon, so he gets it from LA. It may be more expensive, but their signature Pupusa wouldn’t be authentic without it. As the crowds came and continue to come, La Cocina de Chepe became a beacon for the Salvadorian community in Portland. Chepe even reconnected with a high school mate who came to the cart for lunch. Small world.

El Salvador is famous for the pupusas which is a tortilla filled with cheese, beans, chicharron, and other ingredients. When I first thought of chicharron, I imagined the type of chicharron one would find at Mexican restaurants. Chepe instructed me how Salvadorians do it by making chicharron from pork, but then mixing it with beans and blending it to make a paste before adding it to the pupusa. Watching them make the pupusa was an art form – molding it and adding the fillings and frying it on the flattop. There are many traditional fillings for pupusas and La Cocina de Chepe has them along with some new signature items Chepe has designed for Portland. They even have queso y loroco which is made with the flower bud of the loroco plant from Central America.

The pod at SE 102nd and Stark has many options for street food dining. La Cocina de Chepe is open every day except Monday till 8pm so you can either grab lunch, an afternoon snack or dinner for the family. In the summer, be sure to bring a chair. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pupusas: numerous options which include beans, cheese, chicharron, squash, loroco, pork – prices range from $2.25-$3
  • Pan Con Pollo: chicken sandwich with sauce, water cress, sliced cucumber and other vegetables – $6.50
  • Steak Encebollado – steak w/smothered caramelized onion with rice and beans, fresh salad and fried plantains – $8.95
  • Sandwich Cubano – ham, cheese and roasted pork, mustard and pickles – $6.50
  • Yuca con Chicharrones – broiled or fried yuca root served with chicharrones, fresh salad, tomato sauce and curtido – $6.50

Hours: Tues-Fri, 11am-8pm, Sat/Sun, 10am-8pm
Phone: 5039339483

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Philippine Cuisine

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Philippine Cuisine

Philippine Cuisine

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Fri-Wed, 11am-8pm, closed Thursdays

The Story:

A Philippine food cart in SE Portland serving up signature dishes like lumpia, chicken adobo, curry chicken, curry shrimp and other Philippine delights.

Sample Menu:

  • Caldereta: sauteed beef, similar to beef stew – $7
  • Lecheon Paksiw: roasted pork in sweet and sour sauce – $8
  • Sweet and Sour Fish: fried fish filet in sweet and sour sauce – $6
  • Lumpia: ground beef and vegetables wrapped in a wheat wrapper – 3 for $2
  • Chicken Adobo: chicken sauteed in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and onions – $6

Hours: Fri-Wed, 11am-8pm, closed Thursdays
Phone: 971 506 8367

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