We’ve thought about opening a food truck in Baltimore, but with my driving skills, it’s better off I stay as far away from any vehicle bigger than a Toyota Camry. Not that I’m a bad driver, I’m a SAFE driver – I’d say most people would trust me to chauffeur around their grannies and babies. I take that as a compliment even if most people don’t. HAHA. I don’t know why I get made fun of for driving at speed limit and with both hands on the wheel. 😉 I remember a few years ago, I was driving behind my brother (this was before everyone had GPS or SATNAVs in their cars) and he calls me and says ‘Where are you?!?!?! We’ve been at the restaurant waiting for you for over an hour.’ har har har very funny ‘Oh Stop it, you know I’m right behind you, I don’t drive that slow!’
So anyway, goodbye food truck idea in Baltimore! You know where I’d fit in perfectly though? Portland! They have a huge food cart culture (food carts are smaller than food trucks) and Oregonians drive pretty slow, like me 😀 There are more than 600 food carts in Portland – street food lovers’ paradise! You don’t have to constantly check twitter to see where your favorite food truck would be parked today. In Portland, there are designated blocks for clusters of food carts called ‘pods’ that they can call home. It’s like Baltimore’s gathering but everyday!
I went online and did some research and made a list of all the food carts I wanted to try – Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Tabor, Potato Champion, Aybla Grill, People’s Pig, Wolf & Bear, Noodle House, EuroTrash, Gonzo and Viking Soul Food. (Some of the carts I looked up were actually closed – EuroTrash and Viking Soul Food.) I was looking forward to a day of eating solely from food carts – from morning to night. But I was being too ambitious. We only got around to trying 3 carts before we were too full to look or even think about food. We were staying in SW Portland so we started our adventure at the Alder pod. We thought lunch in the SW, dinner in the SE. Unfortunately, we were still too full and skipped dinner at the carts. Instead, we split a hot fudge sundae waffle from the Waffle Window.
First stop, Nong’s Khao Man Gai. The chicken is so tender, rice is fluffy and their sauce is amazing. Simple food done extremely well! It was at the top of all the food cart must eat lists I found. Well deserved ranking. If I lived in Portland, I could see myself eating Nong’s khao man gai every week, maybe more than once a week. They also give you a cup of their chicken broth – It made me think of the broths my mom cooks for hours on the stovetop at home. Slurp! So good!
Next stop, Aybla Grill. When I looked this place up, it said it was on the SE (they have 5 locations in Portland). We were planning to have it for dinner. Good thing it was on the SW because we never made it to the SE carts, and I would’ve been sad if I missed out on their gyros. We ordered a super lamb gyro and I would’ve ordered another (super delicious), but I was already starting to get full. (You’d think I’d be able to eat more!)
I could only fit in one more dish…it was between People’s Pig (pork sandwiches), Noodle House (hand pulled noodles) and Wolf & Bear (falafel and mediterranean). I ended up getting seafood noodles from Noodle House. The hand pulled noodles drew me in but it wasn’t as delicious as I had imagined it to be. I was thinking it would have the texture of 쫄깃쫄깃 noodles (pronounced: jjol git jjol git, translations: chewy chewy) like you’d find at hand pulled jja jang myun or kalguksu places, but they didn’t. Oh well, you never know if somethings good until you try it. If I could go back in time I think I would’ve chosen People’s Pig. We already had one Asian dish and one mediterranean dish. I should’ve gotten that porchetta sandwich!!!
We also went to Lardo, Grassa, Olympic Provisions and Tasty & Sons during our stay. If you guys are planning a trip to Portland, those restaurants are not to be missed! I will probably write about them in future posts.
We will definitely be traveling to Portland again. I think for two people who knew very little about Portland before going there, we did a good job searching out great food! 🙂
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