Portland’s Mobile Food Scene

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I don’t know what it is about Portland and food carts, but somehow the combination of hipster culture in the rainy Northwest and simple, gourmet food on wheels has created a mobile food culture all its own here. In fact, mobile food has become so gourmet and varied that you can order Korean-Hawaiian fusion, Salvadoran pupusas and French crepes-among many others- for a fraction of what you’d pay at a restaurant. Portland’s mobile food scene has exploded- and here are some great picks!

Lebanosh For a city with great Lebanese options all around, this food cart is a standout. Early morning workers swear by their hot sausage and bacon rolls with cheddar, but the fresh Lebanese pita, hummus and falafel is just so simple and delicious.

BaoPDX It doesn’t get much simpler, cheaper or handheld than a $3 bao sandwich, a variation on the Chinese steamed bun that they open up and fill to create a cute little sandwich. The bao comes in 6 varieties including beef, pork, chicken and ginger orange tofu- you can’t go wrong with the jerk chicken, which is mixed with cilantro, jerk seasoning and white onion.

Artigiano This truck is a taste of Italy on wheels, opened by a chef who studied at Le Cordon Bleu before spending in village outside of Rome where she fell in love with the quality and simplicity of Italian cooking. The regular menu features salads and all sorts of pastas from handmade ravioli to brown butter gnocchi, but the daily special is always a great bet- the pictured special is fettuccine with garlic scapes, red pepper flakes and shaved Parmesean cheese.

Pepper Box This cart puts a new spin on breakfast with its New Mexican-influenced breakfast tacos and quesedillas. These are simple but sooo good, with egg, potato and cheese on a handmade wheat tortilla topped with green chile sauce (add on avocado, chorizo, or bacon!) And they’re not just breakfast either- Pepper Box has a whole array of quesedillas, sandwiches and salads, all with robust flavors and a unique Mexican spin.

Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen This food truck is all comfort food, all the time. Miss Kate herself was from Mississipi, and her grandson now runs the cart, bringing the down-home tastes of Mississipi to the Northwest. He’s got everything from fried chicken with biscuits, coleslaw, meatloaf, mac n’ cheese and Creole beans n’ rice with cornbread.

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