With hundreds of tiny kitchens throughout the city, Portland’s food-cart scene is legendary. The flavorful proliferation has drawn raves from Bon Appétit magazine and CNN (which declared Portland home to the world’s best street food).
Unlike other cities’ mobile food trucks, most Portland carts stay put in groups dubbed “pods,” making it a snap to sample several at a time. You’ll also find smaller groups and individual carts scattered around the city; Pioneer Courthouse Square features several carts. Here are some big pods to check out.
Downtown Food Cart Pods
Set on the MAX line, the Fifth Avenue pod sates downtowners’ daytime appetites with offerings like Korean tacos or Asian-fusion rice bowls at Korean Twist, and myriad other cuisines, including Indian, Thai and Egyptian.
The Third Avenue pod includes the popular DC Vegetarian, known for its vegan and vegetarian burgers and sandwiches, as well as carts offering cuisine from Mexico, Egypt, Thailand and Vietnam. Once you’ve got your meal, stroll to Waterfront Park and pull up a bench (or spot of grass) — instant picnic!
Portland State University
Located in the south end of downtown, the PSU pod is handy to the university campus and the shady South Park Blocks. Carts here include Thai, Mexican and Indian options, along with bento, sandwiches and more.
Southeast Portland Food Cart Pods
A favorite of late-nighters, Cartopia hosts Potato Champion, which dishes up crispy, twice-fried Belgian-style fries and gravy-doused poutine (pretty much perfect post-drinking food). Pyro Pizza delivers beautifully singed pizzas from a wood-fired oven, while Chicken and Guns heats up the night with its wood-fired Latin chicken, served with crispy, sea-salted potatoes and an addictive Peruvian sauce made of cilantro, jalapeños and sour cream.
Opened in 2019, Hawthorne Asylum is a large pod not far from Cartopia with ample covered seating, a fire pit and several food carts. Standouts include Smaaken Waffle Sandwiches, Burmese Delight and Montage Ala Cart, the reincarnation of beloved Cajun eatery Le Bistro Montage, which closed in June 2020. You can even get beer and cider at on-site bar, Black Dagger.
With up to nine carts offering Mexican, Colombian, Peruvian, Argentinian and Venezuelan specialties, Portland Mercado is a must-stop for lovers of Latin American flavors. This incubator for local Latinx-owned businesses also includes a grocery, coffee shop, bar and more.
The Cartlandia “super pod” in Southeast Portland is home to The Blue Room, a full-service bar with 18 beers and ciders on tap, a family- and dog-friendly outdoor beer garden and more than 30 carts representing 15 different countries.
North Portland Food Cart Pods
Set on hip, walkable North Mississippi Avenue, the choices at Prost Marketplace include vegan-friendly rice bowls packed with fresh ingredients at Native Bowl, acclaimed barbecue from Matt’s BBQ, Korean-style tacos from Koi Fusion and delectable breakfast sandwiches from Fried Egg I’m in Love.
The pod is anchored by brick-and-mortar German pub Prost! where you are welcome to eat your cart meal if you buy a drink. (Lagers go great with bulgogi burritos!) Or try a drink from cocktail cart Bloodbuzz.
Northeast Portland Food Cart Pods
Rose City Food Park
The full-service Rose City Food Park pod houses about a dozen carts and features frequent live music performances.
Popular Food Carts
Rather than being overwhelmed by the hundreds of food carts in Portland, choose a day's worth of meals from these popular food carts.
Portland’s Best Dumplings
Every February, Portland celebrates its love for dough-wrapped delights with Dumpling Week. Best of all? Delicious dumplings are available year-round.
Alberta Arts District Dining
Diverse Alberta offers food for every taste (vegan to carnivore), craving (foie-gras to fried chicken) and budget (PBR to Dom Perignon).
With a huge array of family-friendly attractions and activities, Portland can become any kid's playground.