Food carts hold a treasured place in the heart of Portlanders. With over 400 food carts operating in the city, you can find every type of food you can possibly imagine (and quite a few you never would have thought of). Like whales and teenagers, Portland’s food carts love to hang out in groups (known locally as “pods”), which makes it easy to sample a wide variety of delicious treats. The largest downtown pod is the Alder Street pod; you’ll also find the 5th Avenue Pod and the 3rd Avenue Pod downtown. Other popular pods are the Cartopia Pod located on SE Hawthorne at SE 12th Ave, and the Cartlandia Pod located along the Springwater Corridor bike path in Southeast Portland. Obviously with so many food carts in Portland any Top Ten list is bound to be open for debate, but here are some of our personal favorites:
Nong’s Khao Man Gai (Alder Pod) Perennial contender for Best Cart in the City does one thing and does it to perfection: their namesake Khao Man Gai (Chicken and Rice)
Koi Fusion (6 locations) One of Portland’s original food carts, this local favorite offers Korean-infused Mexican food like bulgogi beef burritos and kimchi quesadillas.
Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen (Mississippi Marketplace) Features the owner’s grandmother’s recipes for Southern staples like biscuits and gravy, collard greens, and some of the best fried chicken in the city.
Tábor (5th Ave Pod) Homestyle Czech specialties like potato pancakes and borscht, but the star of the menu is their famous Schnitzelwich, a huge breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.
The Frying Scotsman (Alder Pod) Run by a Scottish ex-pat, this “chippie” offers the genuine British fish and chips experience, serving up cod, haddock, halibut and more.
People’s Pig (Alder Pod)- Known for their mighty pork sandwiches made several different ways, like BBQ pulled pork, Cubano, and the always-satisfying porchetta sandwich.
Grilled Cheese Grill (Alder Pod) From basic grilled cheese sandwiches to the monster Cheesus Burger which has grilled cheese sandwiches in place of buns, this food cart puts the distinctive Portland flair on childhood favorites.
808 Grinds (Alder Pod) Authentic Hawaiian lunch plates like kalua pork, fried chicken, and Spam musubi, all served with rice and macaroni salad.
Haan Ghin (PSU Pod) Skip the ubiquitous Thai food and try some delicious Laotian cuisine at the Portland State University campus. Try the Laap Gai (basically DIY chicken lettuce wraps).
Pyro Pizza (Cartopia) Another one of those carts that has become a Portland institution, the specialty here is authentic Italian-style wood fired pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients. They even make their own natural sodas!
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