The gist: Burma Joy is the newest addition of the fabulous Burmese restaurant mini-group Top Burmese, operating on NW 23rd Avenue.
The food: Everything at the Top Burmese restaurant is pure comfort food—these herb-laden dishes like the golden hill noodles or tea leaf curry explore the diverse culinary world of Myanmar, including its Indian and Chinese influences. The Majesty Noodle Soup is especially capable of driving out winter’s chill with its rich, aromatic broth, delicately chewy noodles, and plentiful herbs.
The gist: This is a must-hit Vietnamese-women-owned coffee roaster and banh mi shop.
The food: Owner Kimberly Dan wanted to change Portlanders’ perspective on what Vietnamese coffee could be like, sourcing all of her beans directly from her family’s home country. At her cafe and roaster she serves coffee drinks that include the classic Vietnamese iced coffee, ca phe su, as well as lattes, cappuccinos, and the like. The food menu is mainly bánh mì and includes vegan options.
The gist: A food cart serving “traditional” Filipino food in “not so traditional ways,” Baon Kainan is a celebration of Filipino heritage.
The food: The signature dish at Baon Kainan is the chicken adobo—served with rice, pickled vegetables, and bok choy, it’s a delicate but assertive flavor, and without any soy sauce, making it gluten free. Other popular dishes include a light, savory shrimp soup (sinigang), delicious kare kare fries with braised beef and peanut sauce, and on Monday nights only, crispy, golden fried pork lumpia. The cart also offers a fun Filipino brunch with offerings like biscuits with longanisa gravy as well as tosilog, a rich dish with fried eggs, pork, and fish sauce tomatoes and onions.
The gist: This food cart turned brick and mortar fuses Mexican cooking with Southern comfort foods for a truly indulgent meal experience
The food: If one dish exemplifies the cuisine at Nacheaux, it’s the burrito. This hulking wrap combines fried chicken with red beans, dirty rice, slaw, cheese, and a “Nacheaux” sauce. It’s big. If you’re looking for something “healthy” you’re better off going elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a hearty, satisfying, and delicious meal there’s fried chicken and cajun fries, shrimp or crawfish po’boys, and a variety of tacos and mac and cheese dishes. It’s a true soul food experience in a city where they are far between.
The gist: Bustling Williams Avenue gets a fast-casual Vietnamese sandwich shop and bakery.
The food: Though the vibe at Lúa is that of a bright, cheerful deli, the menu is rooted in Vietnamese street food and snacks. The most popular item seems to be the various banh mi, served with a choice of protein (including vegan options) with the usual pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro along with a housemade sauce (also with vegan options). The bread is fluffy with a delicate, flaky exterior and is baked in-house each morning. Lúa also offers its banh mi as sliders, something rarely seen in town. Other items include bao, vermicelli bowls, rolls, and even a pandan waffle for dessert.
The gist: This takeout- and delivery-only restaurant serves an interesting blend of Japanese and Brazilian cooking that’s heavy on the meat side of things.
The food: It’s no surprise that more and more restaurants are focusing solely on takeout and delivery during the age of COVID, but only some foods work well within that model. Luckily, chef Marlon Alonso—who spent time at Momofuku and Michelin-starred restaurants before moving to Portland—knew what traveled well when he opened his “ghost kitchen.” Brazakaya serves Brazilian dishes influenced by Japanese izakaya cuisine, with a meaty focus—yakitori skewers made with peppers, tofu, or meats like flank steak and pork belly; lamb burgers with housemade Japanese mayo; Brazilian cut steak with rice, beans, collards, and Brazilian salsa; and a whole platter of meats with similar sides.