Finally, the last segment of my Portland series. Sorry for the delay and enjoy all the food.
Ah, the quintessential representative restaurant in Portland. You may have heard of Pok Pok as it is famed for transforming from a street cart to a well-known restaurant brand with locations in Portland, New York, and Los Angeles. Prior to trying Pok Pok, I was doubtful whether it would live up to its hype. My meal at Pok Pok was nothing short of amazing, however, because the staff was attentive and gave suggestions on how to best taste each dish. Everything was so flavorful. We ordered the Fish Sauce Wings, Cha Ca “La Vong,” Khao Soi, and Khanom Jiin Naam Ngiaw.
The fish sauce wings are classic. The wings were so crisp and seasoned with the perfect amount of spices. It reminds me a bit of the chicken wings at San Tung in San Francisco. A must get at Pok Pok.
Cha Ca “La Vong” (pictured left) is its signature catfish marinated in rice. The fish had just the right amount of flavor and was very refreshing among meat dishes.
Khao Soi (pictured right) is its Thai curry noodle soup. We ordered the beef version and it was cooked just enough so that it was chewy but not too soft. The soup was the perfect dish to accompany the chilly weather in Portland.
Khanom Jiin Naam Ngiaw (not shown): I’m not a huge vermicelli fan, but this dish was supplemented with sauces that added more flavoring to the noodles. Although it was well-worth, I wished we got the papaya salad instead of the vermicelli.
28th & Division Street Cart-A-Palooza
We randomly stumbled upon this food truck area since it is located two blocks away from Pok Pok. Cart-A-Palooza is clean and the options here are endless. We came here at least 5x in two days, no kidding. From Hapa PDX, we got their tonkotsu ramen which served as the perfect lunch for a rainy day. My brother always bought the California Sushi Burrito at a nearby food truck as a snack. The Thai food truck, which served Pad Thai as well as Pineapple Fried Rice among their vast menu, was nothing short of generous at a reasonable price.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
You’ll probably look at the menu and wonder why this food cart is so popular. Their signature dish is chicken served as either light, dark, or a mix of the two along with seasoned rice. It’s so simple, but hits the spot since it reminds me of food carts in Asia.
Located in the same Downtown food truck vicinity as Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Gyro Place is the top choice for Mediterranean and Egyptian food. The lines for this particular food cart are longer than nearby Mediterranean food competitors. I got the large chicken over rice and it was very flavorful. The chicken wasn’t dry and the hot sauces added the perfect touch. The only minor con was that the food took a while to prepare.
Along the same food cart block, we picked up an order of seafood paella. Although via photos the dish looking delicious, it *honestly* wasn’t. The seafood had a lingering frozen taste which made the paella seem not fresh.
I can safely say I am a coffee addict, so it was a no-brainer to stop by Stumptown for a morning coffee. I got the cold brew which I enjoyed, while my dad tried their chai tea latte.
Oh man was it a struggle to get donuts in Portland. The locals we encountered did not like Voodoo Donuts at all, stating it is “just donuts with cereal on top.” So we opted for Blue Star. We stopped by twice on our first day to get our share, but alas the location we visited was out. On our second day, we made it our mission to purchase some Blue Star so we called one of the stores and inquired for their peanut butter and jelly donuts. The jelly had a hint of spice and it was such a strange but addicting flavor. We tried their matcha one at their airport location as well.
Salt & Straw Ice Cream at Wizbangbar
At Pine Street Market in Old Chinatown, there’s an ice cream shop called Wizbangbar which supplies Salt & Straw. I’ve had my fair share of Salt & Straw since there’s a location in Los Angeles, but my family never tried their ice cream before so it was high up on our eatery list. I got the Lucky Charms ice cream that didn’t really taste like Lucky Charms (which is good in my book since I don’t like overly sweet desserts). Definitely recommend as a pit stop if you’re in the area.
I was starving when I ordered a mushroom melt at the airport so I totally forgot to take a photo before scarfing down my sandwich. I did, ironically enough, take some footage which is in my vlog linked below:
Thanks for joining me as I traveled down memory lane! -Amanda