Thanks, in part, to the city’s diverse and delicious food cart scene, Portland is home to plenty of authentic eateries from every corner of Latin America. Read on for some of the best Latinx-owned food carts, restaurants and markets in Portland.
Opened in 2015, the Portland Mercado in Southeast Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood has blossomed into a lively outpost of Latin American culture. Anchored by a carnicería (butcher shop) and a full bar, the market features more than a dozen Latinx-owned shops and food carts. Among them is Qué Bacano!, which serves up some of the city’s best melt-in-your-mouth Colombian empanadas. Meanwhile, Tierra del Sol offers authentic Oaxacan favorites like tlayudas and tetelas (stuffed triangular treats) made with organic blue corn.
Taqueria Lindo Michoacan
Located in the parking lot of a thrift store off Southeast Division Street is the no-frills food truck Taqueria Lindo Michoacan. Don’t be fooled by the setting; this eatery specializes in crafting exemplary street tacos. With freshly handmade tortillas and an abundance of flavorful meats like al pastor and cabeza (meat from the head), the options are seemingly limitless. Affordable prices encourage generous sampling by those looking to try something new. Don’t overlook their giant, plate-sized tortas, which are served on perfectly grilled sandwich rolls.
Tienda Santa Cruz
For one of the most beloved burritos in town, travel to North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. There, you’ll find a taqueria housed within Tienda Santa Cruz. In addition to an array of tasty, tender meats like carnitas and lengua (beef toungue), the avocado tomatillo salsa is downright saintly. When you’re stuffed, peruse the grocery store for hard-to-find Latin American imports, like ají amarillo (yellow chilli) paste and Nescafé Clasico.
Tehuana Oaxacan Cuisine
North Portland food cart Tehuana Oaxacan Cuisine provides a small sampling of items that exemplify the quality-over-quantity ethos. These include heaping tlayudas served in pizza boxes and tomato-sauce-doused tacos called entomatadas. Of the delicious house-made sauces, the spicy arbol chile holds a narrow lead. Don’t miss the memelitas (tiny discs of moist masa topped with refried beans and stringy queso Oaxaca).
With humble beginnings in a taco truck, Los Gorditos has become one of Portland’s most cherished Mexican food destinations. Opened in Southeast Portland in 2006, the family-run outfit now has locations across the city. Their three signature menus cater to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. The biggest crowd pleaser? The garbage burrito. This cult favorite is a massive concoction, stuffed with three proteins. Choose between chicken, beef and pork — or soy curls, “soyrizo” and tofu, for non-meat eaters. Vegans will also appreciate Gorditos’ cart in East Portland, which serves an all-vegan menu.
Sabor Casero Pupuseria
The pupusas (thick, stuffed griddle cakes) are the real star at Sabor Casero Pupuseria, a Mexican and Salvadorian eatery in Northeast Portland. Cushions of thick corn masa flour envelop a range of fillings, including gooey cheese, pickled jalapeños and silky refried beans. Compliment every bite with a healthy accompaniment of the housemade curtido — a lightly fermented and crunchy cabbage slaw.
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