Thanks, in part, to the city’s diverse and delicious food cart scene, Portland is home to plenty of authentic food carts and restaurants from every corner of Latin America. Read on for some of the best Latinx-owned eateries in Portland.
Latinx-Owned Eateries in Portland
Opened in 2015, Portland Mercado in southeast Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood has blossomed into a lively outpost of Latin American culture. Anchored by a carnicería and a full bar, the Mercado features more than a dozen Latinx-owned shops and food carts. Among them is Que Bolá, which serves up one of the city’s best melt-in-your-mouth Cubano sandwiches. Meanwhile, Tierra del Sol offers authentic Oaxacan favorites like tetelas and tlayudas made with organic blue corn. Jouk Li Jou boasts Portland’s only dedicated Haitian menu, including fried green plantains and oxtail stew.
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, the options are seemingly limitless. Affordable prices (tacos are $1.50 each) 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.
For an exploration of traditional Venezuelan street food, look no further than La Arepa. This food cart has locations in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants, both serving an extensive menu of Venezuelan classics. Offerings include staples, like arepas (cornmeal cakes) and empanadas (stuffed turnovers), along with intriguing options like patacón sandwiches. (The twice-fried plantains are sliced lengthwise to mimic bread, then filled with mountains of cotija cheese, pickles, ketchup and avocado.) With plenty of clearly marked vegetarian and vegan menu offerings, there’s something to please every palate and diet.
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 carnitasand lengua, 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 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 housemade 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 now ranks as one of Portland’s most cherished Mexican food destinations. Opened in southeast Portland in 2006, the family-run outfit has expanded to five locations. 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’ newest cart in East Portland, which serves an all-vegan menu.
Korita Sabor Casero
The pupusas are the real star at Korita Sabor Casero, aMexican 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.