The Best Portland Food Carts

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Portland, Oregon

Everyone told me to check out the Portland food carts but I was not prepared for what I would see. I thought I would see a few grouped together, I had no idea there would be two blocks of carts in one area and more around the city.

With only a week in the city I decided to try the best Portland food carts, but that is not an easy task as there are lots of posts claiming to know the top 10 food carts, I don’t know if my list is the definitive best but here’s what I enjoyed in the city.

 

Koi Fusion

Koi Fusion

One of the most interesting blends of cultures is the Korean taco and despite thinking Portland has few minorities, the food doesn’t suffer.This truck is very simple with Korean barbecued meat served on tacos. The Korean short rib taco at $2 was wonderful.

 

the whole bowl

The Whole Bowl

The self-proclaimed most cherished vegetarian food cart. There are two sizes to the bowl and you can have brown rice,  beans, a number of vegetables and cheese. But what makes this bowl popular is an unconventional lemon-garlic sauce; no one knows what it is but everyone loves it.

 

Bao PDX

baoPDX

At the biggest congregation of food carts, SW 9th and Alder, baoPDX is one of the most popular locations. There are a number of fillings on the pillowy bun so I asked for a recommendation, the jerk chicken is the most ordered items but I liked the pork belly best, the pickled salad was a nice complement to the pork belly. This is also a great location for vegetarians as there is a ginger orange tofu bun.

 

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

This cart seems to top every list and I loved it. Nong only makes one dish – Khao Man Gai and it reminded me of when I had it years ago at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. She has been written about in almost every major food publication and online and it’s well worth it.

 

 

Join the Conversation

  1. The lemon garlic sauce sounds amazing. I think it would make any of those combinations delicious. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was very strange but also very delicious.

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    The food carts in Portland blew me away too. I was not expecting so many concentrated in different spots throughout the city, and I was not expecting such amazing variety and quality (at extremely affordable prices too).

    I wanted to try so many, and I did my very best. I didn’t even get to the ones you tried (although I did hear about Nong’s). La Jarochita was so good I went back twice!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was shocked to see two blocks of carts, I don`t know if they have anything like this in other places in the States.

  3. Chrystal McKay says:

    mmmmmmmmmmm the vegetarian bowl looks GREAT! I honestly know NOTHING about portland so hearing they have a street cart scene is very interesting – is it like a fair? But always set up?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Exactly they are permanent instead of trucks and located in the middle of the city so people can go grab lunch there.

  4. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Koi Fusion and baoPDX are now on the list for my next trip back to Portland.

  5. Emily in Chile says:

    This is making me hungry!

  6. Antoinette | love.antoinette says:

    You’re making Portland reaaallyyy appealing at this point! 🙂 Food’s always a great intro to any new place I’d like to visit! I’m the biggest fan of pork belly so I’d definitely go for that baoPDX first!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was surprised how much I liked Portland. I knew people raved about it but this is one of the rare cities that lives up to the hype.

  7. Great to hear that Portland has such a good street food truck culture. All of these recommendations sound fantastic, I especially want some of those Korean tacos!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Korean tacos may be my favourite type of fusion.

  8. I regret not trying any food carts now. Will just have to go back!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You didn`t try any of them, you must go back!

  9. Susan @ Travel Junkette says:

    Omg looks so yummyyyy. I got the best Philly cheesesteak I’ve ever had from a food cart in Portland!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have no doubt in that!

  10. Shanna Schultz says:

    I am gonna have to make a point of checking out this food cart phenomenon some time soon! Someone from Austin, TX clued me in to the fact that food carts are huge there, too. Looks yummy!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Do they have blocks of them in Austin like they do in Portland?

      1. Shanna Schultz says:

        Yes, I have been told by an Austin native that the food cart thing is big there, too.

        I don’t know if they aren’t in “blocks”, though…I guess the best food carts in Austin actually move around, depending on the day of the week.

  11. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Up in Vancouver we often hear about Portland food carts. We plan on going down and checking it out soon!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You were so close and you didn`t go down? I think you would really enjoy the food scene in Portland.

      1. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

        Well the first three years we were working 7 days a week and since selling the business we’ve been traveling. Soon, we’ll go soon, I swear 🙂

  12. We are yet to get interesting food trucks here in Perth. It’s taken off in Sydney and Melbourne…surely we will catch up with the rest of the world! That Korean taco looks scrumptious

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You know it has taken Toronto a really long time to get them as well but give it time, they are coming!

  13. I loved the food carts in Portland too – I was amazed by the amount of choice and the quality of the food. I’m heading back there next July so will definitely be trying out these recommendations 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It`s also a good place to bump into friends since everyone is there 🙂

  14. I’m drooling. I want all of those dishes.

    I need to try more of the Boston ones, but they just haven’t impressed me as much as Nashville. Except for the fried avocado taco. That was amazing.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Fried avocado is something I definitely want to try.

  15. Lorenzo Gonzalez says:

    I love food carts! I shouldn’t have read this post before eating!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well good thing we have our fair share in Toronto.

  16. Great photos. And everything looks so delicious!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And it was!

  17. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Oh wow super yum!!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was so hard to choose just once place, also tons of veggie options for non-meat eaters like you.

  18. Oh I am SO crossin my fingers carts in T.O will beef up their menus sometime soon too!!! Looks yummy 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think we now have over 100 food trucks in Toronto, we are slowly getting there.

  19. I love that lady at the Whole Bowl. She is SO cheerful and lovely!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yep it seemed like everyone who worked at the food carts really enjoyed their job.

  20. This looks amazing!! I want to go food truck hoping now.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Get a babysitter and we`ll head back to Portland!

  21. Balanced Melting Pot says:

    Everything there, expect the last dish, look delicious! I’m convinced that street food has flavors that cannot be recreated indoors.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It`s hard to make chicken look good but it was fantastic.

  22. Tawny- Captain and Clark says:

    We are headed to Portland in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait to stuff my face with all of this deliciousness. Seriously. I drool.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Make sure you read my other post about Olympic Provisions and Ned Ludd – absolutely amazing places to eat.

  23. Ada | Adaphobic Travels says:

    I regret visiting your blog in this time where I’m very hungry!! HAHAH!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I will post a warning next time!

  24. I was just researching about the shrimp trucks in Hawaii so I have food trucks on the brain right now! These look awesome!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was in Maui and I didn`t see many food trucks but there are a few.

  25. Kent @ No Vacation Required says:

    Yum… a lot for us to try on our return.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes please come back to Portland during WDS but this time stay longer.

  26. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I love food out of the back of a truck.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There`s nothing better, well maybe food out of the back of a car…

  27. Do they each cost around 2$? If so ther’re a bargain IMO…assuming the portions are as big as the y look?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They were actually really big portions, which explains the long line-ups.

  28. I love Korean tacos! There is a really popular place in Austin with them!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I adore tacos and I am not big on fusion but melding with Korean cuisine is perfect here.

  29. Love the top photo! Classic American – love it. I didn’t actually know Portland was big on food carts, definitely another reason to visit. I keep hearing great things about Portland. I must investigate.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think Portland may now be the biggest city, I certainly cannot imagine anywhere else that has as many food carts as they do.

  30. Food cart is the new way of enjoying fine-cuisine… so many great ones! I enjoyed a few in Austin, Texas. I knew Portland is famous for their food but didn’t know about the food carts. Yum!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh the food carts there are incredible, it`s entire blocks.

  31. Reg of The Spain Scoop says:

    Yes, the food carts are fab and endless. Ask a restaurant owner how they feel about them for another perspective. The carts get breaks that restaurants don’t. The only downside I can see in the carts is that it rains most of the time in Oregon, so, no where to sit and eat your food…though a few carts do have simple seating.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      We have just gotten into food trucks in Toronto and I have no idea how they will fare in the winter.

  32. I am so jealous of your Portland trip. I’ve always wanted to go! I recently passed through San Francisco for one night — and I was told I had to go to the food truck event, like this one. Such a trend in the NW US!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And one that Toronto has been adopting lately and it`s so much fun. Maybe next summer we do SF together?

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