Food trucks flourish in Portland’s culinary scene, though in Portland they are called food carts. With hundreds 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).
Find the Perfect Cart
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. Explore international flavors and unique new food concepts — without the wait of a sit-down restaurant — at Portland’s many food cart pods. Many smaller groups and individual carts are scattered around the city, but 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 Mexican, Thai and Egyptian.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Sitting right in the heart of downtown Portland, the Pioneer Courthouse Square food cart pod is home to several lunchtime favorites. Here, you’ll find Olympic Provisions Salumeria Food Cart, inspired by the sandwich and charcuterie traditions of Italy, and Fried Egg I’m in Love, known for its namesake sandos. Amelia’s Mexican Food serves crowd-pleasing Mexican specialties. Grab a delicious meal at any of the carts and take your seat on the bricks in Portland’s living room.
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, kababs and more.
The Third Avenue pod includes the popular Stretch The Noodle, known for its chewy hand-pulled noodles made fresh every day, 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.
The Cart Blocks
Opened in 2021, the Cart Blockscomprise a group of food carts that were previously located at the (now-closed) Alder Street food cart pod, including Anna Thai Basil and Kafta House. Grab a bite and enjoy a stroll through the adjacent North Park Blocks.
Southeast Portland Food Cart Pods
The Cartlandia “superpod” 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.
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). 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.
Carts on Foster
Head to Carts on Foster, an all-weather pod on Southeast Foster Road, to sample from over a dozen food carts. Order from Bari Food Cart for some classic Italian street food or indulge in flakey fish and chips from Year of the Fish. Complete your meal with a drink from Pod Bar, boasting an impressive tap list alongside craft ciders and nonalcoholic drinks. You can even get a haircut after lunch in the ‘70s-inspired vintage trailer that houses Salon Bucci.
Questions About Portland Food Carts
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Do food carts accept cards, or is it cash only?
Eastport Food Center
Eastport Food Center stands on bustling 82nd Avenue, near the diverse Jade District and Foster-Powell neighborhood. Bring your appetite to this large pod with indoor and outdoor seating and spend the day trying out dishes from different parts of the world. You’ll find ample vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. For a sweet treat, hit up the Bobablastic cart, where you can mix and match flavors to craft the perfect cup of bubble tea.
Opened in 2019, Hawthorne Asylum is a large cart 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 the on-site bar, Black Dagger.
Piknik Park Food Cart Pod
After exploring the charming Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, swing by the Piknik Park Food Cart Pod. Besides ample dining options, there’s a craft beer garden with a stand-up bar, bathrooms and a covered, heated seating area. Choose from comfort food at Sauc’d, classic Moroccan cuisine at Taste of Casablanca or vegetarian Chinese food from Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen, among several others.
The Lot at John’s Marketplace
What’s better than a food cart pod with mouthwatering slow-cooked barbecue (Holy Trinity) and Insta-worthy fried chicken sandwiches (JoJo)? That same pod right next to beer-topia John’s Marketplace, one of Portland’s largest bottle shops. You can find all of the above plus a covered patio with plenty of seating at The Lot at John’s Marketplace on Southeast Powell Boulevard.
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.
North Portland Food Cart Pods
Cartside Food Carts
Conveniently located a stone’s throw from both the Moda Center and the Oregon Convention Center, Cartside Food Carts pod is the place to fuel up before a Blazers game, concert or a big tradeshow. Here, you’ll find authentic Korean food at Ko Sisters Seoul Food, traditional Lebanese food at Yaba Yabaa and Thai staples at PP Thai Food Cart, among others. Best of all, you can wash it all down with some draft brew from the Cartside Taphouse.
International offerings abound at Killingsworth Station Food Cart Pod, with Salvadorian food from La Puerta and Oaxacan food from Tehuana Oaxacan carts, in addition to Southern offerings at Taste of Soul.
Park the Carts
Sitting at the crossroads of North and Northeast Portland, Park the Carts offers a variety of options, including several Black-owned carts, as well as indoor and outdoor seating. Sample a rotating menu of Hawaiian classics from the acclaimed Grind Wit Tryz or go for the melt-in-your-mouth fried catfish and sweet potato pie from Ja’ Das Soulful Eatz. If a classic — but by no means ordinary — burger is your jam, then Union Burger will not disappoint.
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.
St. Johns Food & Beers Porch
Located in the quaint St. Johns neighborhood, the St. Johns Food & Beer Porch has over a dozen food carts and a variety of local brews, ciders and more on tap. With a covered seating area and regularly scheduled events, this food cart pod will keep you fed and entertained all day long. Try a po’boy sandwich from NoPoBoys for lunch, one of the Caribbean and Southwest fusion dishes from Calypso Southwest for dinner and an acai bowl or smoothie from Sissy’s Beverage Emporium in between.
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With a neighborhood grocery, meat market, coffee shop, food cart pod and more, the Mercado is one of the city’s most delicious destinations.
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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. Enjoy fresh Vietnamese food at Vivi’s Yummy Rolls or satisfy your sweet tooth with an indulgent Nutella stuffed pancake at Rocket Breakfast.
William Gordon Plaza
Located off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, William Gordon Plaza offers several food carts with international flare and a covered outdoor seating area. Take your pick from West African offerings at Kabba’s Kitchen, specializing in Senegalese and Gambian dishes, or Southern-style wraps and sandwiches from NERDBOXER Food Cart or comfort soul food at the popular Kee’s Loaded Kitchen.
Northwest Portland Food Cart Pods
Nob Hill Food Carts
Located in a classic Northwest Portland neighborhood, the Nob Hill Food Carts pod is home to a wide variety of carts with plenty of covered seating to enjoy your meal. Favorites include Chinese crepes from Bing Mi, burgers and salad from the buzzy Farmer and the Beast, and authentic ramen from Ramen Ippo. To quench your thirst, The Pour House serves up fresh pints of draft beer from a charming vintage trailer.
Slabtown Food Carts
After working up an appetite at the weird and wonderful Freakybuttrue Peculiarium stop by the nearby Slabtown Cart Pod. You can grab a Louisiana hotlink or a farm-raised reindeer sausage at Beez Neez Gourmet Sausages or a plate full of carne asada fries at La Sabrosita.
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