Food Carts of Downtown Portland, Oregon: 3 Tasty Choices

Knowing our train would be rolling into Portland at about 6 pm, right smack-dab at Bergen’s dinnertime, we knew we needed a plan.  A loose plan, at least.  We needed to grab something quick for him and didn’t really have time to sit down.  We also needed to check into our hotel and get him to bed. Given that he had an early nap and walked up and down the line of train cars for most of the duration of our trip, he was more than ready to hit the hay.

With food carts being all the rage and definitely a kid-friendly way to go, we thought we’d give it a try.  A little bit of research is recommended as hours can be unexpected and locations can change.  In general our plan was to “wing it” and see what caught our eye on our walk from the train station to the hotel.  Just in case, ahead of time, I jotted down a couple of options that I knew would be open.

It turns out, that the three of us got our dinners from three different places.  Each cart served us delicious food, made to order, and extremely fresh.  Each “chef” took their time, in a good way; a way that let us know they were serious about their creation.

Portland Food Cart Piñata Takos

Piñata Takos: SW 3rd & Ash (Downtown Portland)

Just a block from our Embassy Suites hotel, we decided this Mexican joint would be perfect for Bergen’s dinner.  We ordered him up a quesadilla with carnitas: Something we knew he was sure to enjoy.  I started to worry when the guy who ordered tacos, and then the guy who ordered a burrito got their food before us, but it was worth the wait.  The tortilla was light and flaky, the carnitas flavorful, and the cheese melted just right.  The portion was of course more than enough for Bergen, and actually gave us (Slaed and me) a bit of an appetizer before Slaed ran out in search of dinner for the two of us.

Downtown Portland Food Cart-Piñata Tako:

As I settled Bergen into bed, Slaed went out on his mission, and came home with two winners.

Portland Food Cart-Elmasry Egyptian

Elmasry: SW 3rd Between Stark & Washington (Downtown Portland)

Elmasry was the one cart that I had my heart set on.  I knew it had late hours, unlike many of the trucks and carts that are only open for lunch.  I also knew it served one of my new favorite foods: Shawarmas.  I’m just beginning to learn about the shawarma, but from what I understand, it’s a  middle eastern specialty similar to a gyro.  It did not disappoint, and in fact as Slaed walked back to deliver it to me, passersby commented on how tasty it looked, and asked where they could get one! A great combination of well-spiced chicken, fresh cut veggies, and a cool yogurt sauce, all wrapped up in a warm pita, I devoured every last bite.

Downtown Portland Food Carts:

Taste of Korea: SW 3rd Between Stark & Washington (Downtown Portland)

Just a couple of carts away from Elmasry was a Korean BBQ cart where Slaed found his meal.  He chose spicy barbeque chicken, which was served with rice and kimchi.  I can attest to it’s spiciness as I watched Slaed sweat across the table from me.  He was a fan but determined that he might be a bit of a wimp, because it was just a little too much for him.  Nevertheless, he still highly recommends the cart.

For all of our meals, along with taste, the price was also right.  Each dinner was $6 or less.

Tell us about your street food experiences.  Where in the world is your favorite spot? Have you every tried something completely new to you? What did you think?

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This post is linked with Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday.

More adventures in Portland: 


13 thoughts on “Food Carts of Downtown Portland, Oregon: 3 Tasty Choices

    • They were so tasty! We were so happy that Bergen liked them too, because we sure didn’t have any other options at that point! 🙂

    • Portland would be such a wonderful place to live! We are always playing with the idea of moving down…so hard to leave Seattle though. Will definitely check out your OR coast post–thanks for sharing!

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  2. I think I tried Shawarma in Sydney, Australia. It was delicious! I like that your family got a variety of cuisines. In Austin, Texas, I really enjoy the food trailer parks, and I especially love the trucks Holy Cacao (cakeballs) and Mighty Cone (chicken wraps is an understatement that doeesn’t do this place justice). My oldest kid loves that I give him money at the trailer parks and the independence to go and order whatever he wants.

    • Thanks, Michelle! I love the Texas Food Trailer park thing…makes me want to visit just for that experience! 😉 And I love that you let your oldest choose his own cuisine, so many great lessons wrapped into one.

  3. It really is amazing how food carts/trucks have become so popular — and so good! I don’t take advantage of them as much as I should, especially living near San Francisco where there are so many. Looks like you had delicious choices in Portland.

    • It really was amazing how delicious and fresh our food cart food was, Cathy. And you are right, the trailer parks & trucks are popping up everywhere! Hope you get in on some of the action 🙂

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