Portland Street Food: 10 Carts We Really Love

[Photographs: Maggie Hoffman]

You could eat incredibly well in Portland without ever stepping foot into a restaurant. The food cart scene in this city continues to evolve and multiply, even since we last visited two years ago for the Serious Eats book. Apparently there are over 475 carts around Portland, which are clustered in "pods."

Some pods are bigger than others, like the downtown mega-pod at Alder Street between 9th and 11th. It's like the United Nations of street food with options for Thai, Scottish, Indonesian, Indian, New Orleansian, German, and plenty of other options all lined up along the blocks. Then you walk a few more blocks and find a Czech cart making schnitzelwiches. Portland is really just one big amazing food court.

If you drive (or bike, this is Portland after all) over the Willamette river to the other side of the city, all the way up to 43rd Street and SE Belmont, you'll find the Good Food Here pod. It's smaller and more curated than Alder, only about 10 carts, with a very chummy vibe among the cart owners. Here, Maggie and I ate a four-course lunch: salmon tacos, Norwegian lefse wraps, fried Spanish anchovies, and whiskey-chocolate-pecan pie. (Pretty great four-courser, right?)


Out of all the city's carts (and trucks, Airstream trailers, double-decker buses, shacks, huts, and many other contraptions), it's hard to select just ten favorites, but these are the ones we loved most.

Portland Street Food: Our 10 Favorites

Wolf and Bear's
Sugar Cube
Viking Soul Food
The Frying Scotsman
Nong's Khao Man Gai
Grilled Cheese Grill