I gotta be honest Portland is surprising me. (Except that everyone in town looks like they’re sponsored by Patagonia and North Face). Portland’s food scene rocks and you can tell the town loves it’s food! It is diverse and rockstar chefs are everywhere. Block after block I walk, and it’s never ending- I love it! The downtown area is packed with restaurants, bars, breweries, deli’s, and coffee houses.
Yesterday, I had a busy day trying to fit in as many places as possible: Multiple restaurants, Deli’s, Michelin star restaurants, and food trucks. The highlight of my day was the food truck area in downtown between 9th, 10th and Alder. Food Carts Portland. It is an entire block of the square, with parking in the center, lined with food trucks. And I mean every square inch of those 4 blocks. I was there standing so tightly squeezed with zero available seating. (Not a highlight for me). I watched people eat off of garbage cans like eating food while taking a dump, straight up heinous. Still Gagging at the thought! However, that didn’t change my mind. Up to this point Austin was the food truck capital in my mind, but no longer. The reason???? Portland’s food truck scene is hands down the most ethnically diverse one I have ever visited. No joke, I walked this square 3 times before I could take it all in. Currently, there are 848 registered food trucks in Portland , spread over 40 different lots. A bloggers wet dream.
What this jammed packed food truck lot amazing, was that it was not a cluster fuck of fusion. It makes me so fucking crazy seeing a combo of Chinese, Italian and Mexican and win awards!!! “WHAT, you don’t like my Kung Pao, Spaghetti Burrito???” Then they think you’re an asshole, “NO Chitamex for you!!” I have eaten so much food truck fusion crap it’s unappetizing. What I can appreciate is being myopic- being focused, yet creative. Ohhh grasshopper yes!! When checking out my video, you will see a mosaic of the world’s cultures and its food, tucked into this little square. I don’t like using the word traditional when I speak about food – traditional to what? My grandma made fried chicken in Arkansas different than your grandma in California. We are both are from the US; however, our experiences of how fried chicken is exactly made and tastes vary based on our experiences.
So as I saw it, this food truck scene was a true experience. The vendor honored how they envisioned their cultures food through memories. Each place, as I perused their menus, I saw a lot of focused cultural efforts- and it made me happy. Every vendor I spoke to had a story of where they came from and how they saw their food. Good shit – something to see when you visit Portland. However, and you know there is always a however with me, there were some cultural efforts that were less than appetizing and or made absolutely zero sense. Look for my next post on the Yucky in Takoyaki.
Like stories about Portland, check out this story on the oldest restaurant in Portland and its crawfish, Jakes.