Ploy Thai

dieselboi
Ploy Thai

Ploy Thai

Location: SW 5th and Oak
Hours: Lunchtime, weekdays

The Story:

A grouping of carts has sprung up on Oak street between SW 4th and 5th around the corner from the 5th avenue carts. Among them, Cuban, Mediterranean and two Thai carts including Ploy Thai.

Ploy Thai is the work of Ploy who came to Portland after serving her brand of Thai street food at the markets in Thailand. She would create her dishes and take them to the markets for all to enjoy, experiencing why we gather – to eat and become a community. At the Ploy Thai cart you can find all of your favorites like salad rolls, Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai and more. What surprised me was some items I don’t normally see at the carts, like Garlic and Pepper, a dish served with your choice of chicken, pork, shrimp or vegetables and comes with Jasmine or brown rice and steamed veggies. I chose chicken with brown rice and it was one of the healthiest Thai dishes I have had from a cart in awhile. The chicken had been spiced with garlic and black pepper and served over brown rice, but not with a thick sauce. The flavors were bright and peppery, the black pepper coming through lightly which I love. The veggies were fresh and steamed just right to keep them crunchy. Overall, an excellent dish that I will return for.

Garlic and Pepper

Garlic and Pepper

Ploy Thai is a great addition for Thai food cart lovers and the rest of us. Drop on by next time you are down that way and try some of Ploy’s home cooking. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Egg Rolls – 4 for $3
  • Salad Rolls – 2 for $3
  • Papaya Salad – shredded green papaya, Thai chili, garlic, tomatoes and peanut with spicy lime juice – $6
  • Larb – ground chicken or pork with Thai rice powder, green onion, red onion and spicy lime juice – $6
  • Tom Yum soup – choice of chicken, pork, tofu, veggies or shrimp – hot and sour lemongrass soup with galanga root, kaffir leaves, lime juice and Thai chili – $5.50-6
  • Moo Ping/Gai Yang – BBQ marinated pork or chicken with Thai spices and sticky rice – $5
  • Ping Yang Combo – papaya salad and one of the BBQ dishes and sticky rice – $7.50
  • Garlic and Pepper – choice of chicken, pork, tofu, veggies or shrimp, fresh garlic and black pepper with rice and steamed vegetables – $5.50-6
  • Pad Thai – stir fried noodle with egg, tofu, green onions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts with pad Thai sauce – choice of meat – $5.50-6
  • Sukiyaki – glass noodle, egg, pickled bean curd, Thai chili and green onion – $6
  • Full menu at PloyThaiCart.com

Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Phone: 503 267 0849
Website: PloyThaiCart.com

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Korean Twist on 5th

dieselboi
Korean Twist on 5th

Korean Twist on 5th

Location: SW 5th and Oak

The Story:

One of our oldest cart pods is seeing some new blood arrive this year. The pod at SW 5th between Stark and Oak has seen three new carts arrive since the holidays and Korean Twist is the most recent addition. A bright yellow Step-Van that use to sell Brazilian food opened a few weeks ago and has had a crowd ever since.

Portland was first introduced to Korean style tacos by Koi Fusion, a mobile truck that took Portland’s cart scene to the next level in 2009 and is still going strong. Earlier in the year, we saw the opening of Bulkogi Korean just down from Boolkogi on SW 5th and Stark. What makes a Korean taco different from a traditional taco is the seasonings and preparation of the pork and beef. At Boolkogi, as with the others, they serve boolkogi beef (their spelling as I know others spell that differently,) spicy pork, spicy chicken and tofu in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, a little sprig of cilantro and a signature Korean sauce. All in all, a good taco with a flair.

Korean Twist has been open now for two weeks and has been doing brisk business. I can only surmise that once Portland was introduced to the Korean taco, they now can’t get enough. They are competitively priced and you can try three tacos for $5 and get one of each to see what your favorite may be. Welcome to the streets Boolkogi! When you visit, let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tacos: choice of boolkogi beef, spicy pork, spicy chicken or tofu – $2 or 3 for $5
  • Rice bowls: choice of meat with rice – $6
  • They also do pot-stickers, teriyaki chicken and beef and combination plates

Hours: Monday thorough Saturday, lunchtime
Phone: 503 810 8968

Mr. Taco

Jonathan Amato
Mr. Taco

Mr. Taco

Location: SW 5th and Oak

Description:

Mr. Taco. Shouldn’t it be Senor Taco? Mr. Taco is one of two taco/burrito carts at the lot on SW 5th Avenue between Stark and Oak. Always a crowd out front, I decided to try them this week, even with the horrible weather. Luckily they have an awning so I could hang out and be less wet while I ate my lunch.

Mr. Taco serves up the traditional taqueria menu – tacos, burritos, tortas, fajitas, enchiladas and the like. You can get your choice of steak, chicken, carnitas, shredded beef, ground beef, pastor, machaca, chorizo, shrimp or vegetarian.  They even offer up breakfast with your choice of 17 different breakfast burritos.

Torta from Mr. Taco

Torta from Mr. Taco

Earlier in the week, I was introduced to the Torta, a mexican sandwich which is like a burrito, but on a bun. It being my new favorite Mexican food, I ordered one up. While I stood there awaiting my torta, I watched as they built another customer’s burrito directly on the grill. I didn’t realize they made tortillas 24″ round. Not really, but when they finished rolling up all the goodies, I swear that burrito was the size of a tree trunk. My torta came next and I was glad to see it prepared with such care. I enjoy the torta because it is a sandwich. Unlike a burrito, there isn’t a way all the beans and goodies can spurt out the bottom. As a sandwich, it all stays together while you eat it. At least that is how I think about it. I enjoyed the carnitas along with the big chunks of avacado. I threw on some hot sauce and it made my rainy day.

Mr. Taco opens up early to serve up breakfast and stays open until late afternoon for you late lunchers. If you’re hungry, they will feed you and their prices are reasonable. If you do visit, enjoy your food and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Mr. Taco was originally listed in August of 2007 by Cuisine Bonne Femme. This post was updated with description, menu and hours by Dieselboi in December 2009]

Sample Menu:

  • Choice of meats – steak, chicken, carnitas, shredded beef, ground beef, pastor, machaca, chorizo or shrimp
  • Crisp Tacos – $1.50
  • Flour tortilla taco – $1.75
  • Corn tortilla taco – $175
  • Enchilada Burrito – rice, beans, enchilada sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream – $6
  • Fajitas – beef or chicken; rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo cheese – $6
  • Big Nachos – chips, cheese, meat, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo $6
  • Torta – sandwich with meat, rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream, avocado, cheese – $6
  • Shrimp plate – shrimp served with peppers and onions, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese – $6
  • Breakfast Burritos-  between $3.50 and $5 – so many choices including eggs, ham, spinach, chorizo, potatoes, sausage – almost anything you want

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8am-2pm
Phone: 503 935 4321 (available for orders to go

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Spoons

Jonathan Amato
Spoons

Spoons

Location: SW 5th and Oak/Alder Parking Lot

Description:

The other day I was wandering around from pod to pod, trying to decide what to eat. I just couldn’t choose, so kept walking and enjoying the fall air and moisture. After checking out about 25 carts and pausing at a couple, I decided upon soup. It was a cool day, but not rainy and soup just sounded good. Spoons is one of a few carts in town who offer exclusively soup and when I decided to order, I was excited that they had borscht. Earlier in the week, I wondered aloud with friends if there were any carts selling borscht.

Borscht from Spoons

Borscht from Spoons

Borscht originated in the Ukraine, but has become the soup of central and eastern Europe. Many in America associate it with traditional Russian food. Made with beets as the base, it is famous for its deep red or burgundy color. The soup is usually served with a dollop of sour cream atop. That contrast of stark white with the deep red is simply beautiful. Yet once you mix it together, you sometimes get a color of the soup that may seem strange – a pinkish hue. No worries, it still tastes great.

The borscht I enjoyed at Spoons was deep burgundy, so I wasn’t able to see the bright contrast. As I ate it, I tasted the beets, onions and cabbage. I wasn’t sure if it was a meat stock, but the overall flavor of the soup was wonderful. Hot and savory and served with a small baguette, I enjoyed every bit, even tipping up the cup and drinking the last bits.

Soup is one of my favorite foods when winter comes. I have images of carrying around a thermos that is always full of hot miso or a Hungarian mushroom or potato leek – a thermos I can just pop the top and drink in the soup. Spoons’ soups were what I needed that day. When you are seeking a meal that will warm you up on these cold winter lunches, stop on by Spoons and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[profile updated Nov. 2009]

Sample Menu:

  • All soups come in either a cup – $3.50 or a bowl – $4.50 and come with a small roll
  • Soups change daily – visit website for updated list
  • Soup and salad combo – $7
  • Oregon fall seasonal salad – mixed baby greens, fresh pears, hazelnuts, blue cheese, cranberries, marinated red onions, champagne vinaigrette – $5.50
  • Classic Caesar – $4.50

Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30AM-2:00PM.
Phone:
503 522 3576
Website:
www.spoonson5th.com

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La Jarochita

Jonathan Amato

La JarochitaLocation: SW 5th and Oak/Stark Parking Lot

Description: This small maroon colored cart is extremely popular, and we know why. It’s because everything they make is just outstanding even basics like burritos and tacos. However, what Jarochita really specializes in are their huaraches, tamales (“wrapped in banana leaves for extra flavor” they state), and sopes. Taco truck expert Extra MSG rates this one as an A-, and I agree. It’s one of the better Mexican carts in the city. In one of those “only in Portland” ethnic cuisine hybrids to meet market demand, they even offer a tofu burrito in addition to meat, bean and cheese, or chile rellenos varieties.

Open from 7AM to 6PM, there are lots of breakfast options for very reasonable prices. The breakfast burritos here must weigh at least 4 pounds each, and come a choice of meats, veggies (including potatoes) and other additions such as eggs and/or sour cream ($4.00 to $5.00). Other breakfast items include a simple (but giant) cheese and vegetable omelet ($4.00), Breakfast Tacos with scrambled eggs and all the other usual fixings ($1.50 each), and a lip-smacking good smokey-salty Chorizo sausage and scrambled egg taco ($1.50). Jarochita_outside.JPG

Jarochita also sells the creamy and refreshing rice based and cinnamon flavored drink known as horchata ($1.00) in addition to several kinds of American and Jarritos (Mexican sodas), and occasionally has other specials. In addition to the outstanding food, nice servers and expanded hours make this one a perennial winner among the mass of taco trucks found around Portland.

Sample Menu:

Tacos: Meat choices include – chicken, fish, asada (steak), pastor (marinated pork), shredded or ground beef. Tacos (comes with rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, onion, tomato). Crispy corn taco – $1.25, corn tortilla taco – $1.25, flour tortilla taco – $1.50. Vegetarian taco (rice, beans, cheese, etc) – $1.50

Burritos: All are $4.oo. Meat choices include Asada, carnitas (pork), chicken, ground beef, shredded beef, pastor (marinated pork), chorizo (Mexican sausage), fish, shrimp, Fajita (chicken or steak grilled with peppers and onions), Machaca (shredded beef with scrambled eggs), chile relleno, vegetarian. Beans, rice and cheese burrito for $3.00. Beans and cheese burrito for $2.50

Combination Platos: All are $5.00. Platos come with beans, rice, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, onion, tomato and lettuce. Comes with your choice of meat.

  • 2 Tacos with choice of corn, flour, or crispy tortillas.
  • Enchilado (their spelling) Burrito Plate
  • Burrito Supreme Plate
  • Chile Relleno Plate
  • Quesadilla Plate
  • Fajita Plate
  • Chicken Tamale Plate

Taco Salad with choice of meat $4.50

Tortas (Mexican sanwiches) come with mayo, beans, cheese, sour cream, onions, tomato, lettuce, avocado. Your choice of meat $4.00

Sopes (thick homemade corn tortilla) $2.00

Huaraches (a thick corn type masa tortilla stuffed with your choice of good things and toppings) $3.00

Hours: M-F Lunch, Open until 5 or 6PM most days, Open Saturdays (sometimes)

Phone: 503-421-9838

Website: Unknown

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