You could make a case for New York’s hot dogs, halal carts, and street meat, or Chicago’s dragged-through-the-garden red hots, but Portland has so embraced the concept of street food that it’s become a way of life. It helps, too, that most of the hundreds (estimates range from 400-700 operating on any given day) of food carts out there aren’t limited to slinging meats simmering in dirty water or roasting on an exposed spit for days. In fact, Portland’s street-food scene is like a staging ground for the restaurants of the future, as evidenced by numerous carts that worked out their culinary kinks before opening great restaurants.
The carts are often clustered together in “pods,” where there’s often beer and sometimes cocktails. And the variety of foods on offer is astoundingly diverse. Where else can you get a foie gras burger, Ethiopian food, steak frites, lobster rolls, lesser-known Thai delicacies, octopus balls, burritos, fried pies, pasta, cake, cheese plates, Mauritian curry, wood-fired pizza, hand-churned ice cream, poutine, porchetta, tandoori chicken, arepas, sushi, or a waffle cone stuffed with pulled pork all in one neighborhood (and for under $10)? Oh, and if you really, really need some halal food, street meat, or a Chicago dog, well, they’ve got those too.
Known for: Everything, really