Food trucks are so last year. In 2016, food carts are all the rage. Portland’s unique food and drink scene is renowned across the country. Food carts are just the tip of the iceberg. Seemingly cheaper to run than a full blown food truck and certainly more eye-catching, we wouldn’t be surprised if this cart trend started sweeping across the nation. Before it does, peruse some of the interesting options that Portland’s food carts have to offer.
With possibly the most interesting name out of all the food carts, Jook Joint serves up Asian fusion in style. This Joint fuses Asian food with Texas flavor. The idea came about after owner Ryan Ostler traveled to Southeast Asia several times and noticed complementary flavors in both areas. You may be wondering what Jook is anyway. It’s a chicken and rice soup that has the consistency of a dish like grits and is topped with an egg and ginger. At Jook Joint, you choose what you want (either Jook, a sandwich, or Baos), a protein, and whatever sides you’re craving. Sounds perfect for a gloomy Portland day, right?
There’s nothing quite like the refreshing flavors of Hawaiian cuisine. One of Portland’s food carts, Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill, brings Hawaii to Oregon. The owner of the cart, Roger Mumm, was born in Hawaii and wanted to bring the flavor of his birthplace to his current hometown. All of the Hawaiian classics like Kalua Pig and Loco Moco are on the menu. There aren’t that many restaurants outside of the Hawaiian Islands that feature their unique dishes, so don’t pass up the opportunity to try some different food served in food cart form.
Oaxaca is a state located in southern Mexico and it’s also where a dish called mole originated. As the name suggests, mole is exactly what the Mole Prehispanic Cuisine food cart prepares for patrons. The mole tastes genuine, too, as chef Luis Ochoa hails from Oaxaca. There, he developed a love for the powerful flavors of the region, which features dried chiles, seeds, and herbs. Along with those flavors are locally grown beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, which completes the perfect Portland-Oaxaca pairing. If you’re not in the mood for mole (which is the name of the sauce used in the dish), Mole Prehispanic Cuisine also offers empanadas and daily specials.
If you have a hankering for Malaysian cuisine, Straits Kitchen should suit you just fine. There aren’t many food carts or restaurants, even, that feature Malaysian food on their menu, so be courageous and give it a try. Chef Angie was born and raised in Malaysia and she brings traditional dishes to Portland, as well as a couple of her own takes on the cuisine. A sure thing to expect from Straits Kitchen are the unique flavors, such as the Roti Babi, which is shredded pork with soy sauce and cinnamon on a roll. This sounds like the Malaysian version of a BBQ pulled pork sandwich and I’m intrigued.