Portland Pods

Upon arriving in Portland, I quickly got onto the task of locating the food carts for the impending dinner hour. As soon as I searched “food carts in Portland”, I learned that this city makes it easier for me to find food carts around the city by organizing them into “pods”, which are like mini cities of food carts located in various parts of the city. Of course, there are random food carts strewn about and they make for a great find if you’re lucky enough to chance upon them on your walk through town. We visited the pods that are located in the downtown Portland area and tried a handful of them.

El Cubo de Cuba
Pod at SW 10th Avenue at SW Alder Street

Had the Cuban sandwich with a side of maduros (fried plantains) for $7.50. The sandwich is pressed (think grilled panini) and has mayo, mustard, pickles, cheese, pork, and ham. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of it because I prefer a stronger flavour but it’s filling.

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Korean Twist on 5th
Pod at Stark & SW 5th Avenue

Kept reading on the internet that Korean tacos are a must-try in Portland and who am I to argue, as I adore Korean food. Found this truck from which I excitedly ordered a 3 taco platter. These are soft shell tacos, filled with bulgogi, spicy pork, and spicy chicken (there was also a tofu option). The combo was $5 ($2.50 for one taco) and well worth it! These things are absolutely delicious if you enjoy meat with Korean flavoring.

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Brunch Box
Pod at Stark & SW 5th Avenue

I was very recently introduced to a TV show called Eat St. (I don’t have a TV) and they do stories on food carts in various cities; lo and behold, when I was on the flight to San Francisco, the TV on the plane had this show and the episode about Portland…and needless to say, I watched it. It featured Brunch Box and their ridiculous burgers, like the redonkadonk, a burger with egg, bacon, beef patty, garnishing vegetables, and two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. Had to visit this food truck but was not adventurous or hungry enough to try such a crazy burger…so went with the Hawaii 5-oh, which is a burger with grilled pineapple and spam. For $6, it was different from any other burger I had tried and it was delicious! The combination of spam and pineapple is amazing! And don’t say you don’t like spam before trying this.

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Koi Fusion
Find where they are @Koifusionpdx

They have Korean-influenced tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sliders, and a rice bowl. You have a choice of toppings/ingredients of bulgogi beef, pork, chicken, tofu, short ribs and maybe kimchi. We had pork tacos, where an order costs you $2 and you get one soft-shelled taco with marinated pork and topped with bean sprouts, cucumber, and cilantro. It was good but I preferred the tacos from Korean Twist on 5th.

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I like Thai food
Pod at SW 10th Avenue at SW Alder

We needed a quick meal before a film screening so decided to grab one of the specials on the little board in front of this food truck: pumpkin curry with brown rice for $5. This was probably the best value that we got at a food truck. They gave us a good containers’ worth of curry and a little Chinese takeout container (the ones you see in movies of New York) full of brown rice. The curry was spicy and absolutely delicious! Definitely recommend giving this truck a try if you enjoy Thai (the sentence even rhymes!).

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Sorry the image is sideways!
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Taste of India
Pod at SW 10th Avenue at SW Alder

We shared the meat curry lunch special for $6, which included a chickpea curry, saag curry, chicken curry, basmati rice, and two pieces of naan. Because it was so hot outside, we also had a glass of lemonade for $1. The chicken curry was delicious but I had had much better saag and chickpea curries. The lemonade is not fresh-squeezed (they never advertised it as such) and tasted like it had been made either with chlorinated water (light pool water) or in a container that had recently been sanitized with bleach…not the thirst-quenching drink I had been hoping for. The meal is a bit small to share between two people, even though neither of us was super hungry.

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