Portland has an amazing food cart culture offering a broad mix of international cuisines, including Cuban, Ethiopian and Czech, as well as American favorites — cheese steaks, sausages and fries. And while taco trucks might be a dime a dozen in other parts of the country, they may not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions Portland.
We’ve walked by the food carts in downtown Portland a few times, always on a weekend, because we just don’t seem to plan trips on weekdays when most of them are open. This time we got smart, planned a trip arriving on Friday and got there in time for lunch. I’ve been bookmarking food carts to try for ages — Kim Jong Grillin, Solar Waffle Works, Chili Pie Palace, but for this quick trip, we were centered downtown, which focused our options.
There’s a major grouping of carts on the corner of SW 10th and Alder, so we walked around the block and checked it out — People’s Pig looked great, Nong’s Khao Man Gai was really popular for Thai (there are 3-4 Thai carts on that corner), and there were a couple of Hawaiian places as well, including 808 Grinds.
That carnitas taco up there? It’s from Taqueria La Rodeo, one of the newer carts on the corner. We have a really hard time getting good Mexican food up in Seattle, so we’re always keen to try new taco joints. Food Carts Portland, a great resource for food cart info and reviews, just wrote it up last week, and true to their review, the pork was generous and tasty with hot sauce that had a nice kick to it — a problem for a lot of places here in the Northwest. Wish I’d tried the pastor or carne asada (especially having spent time in San Diego, we love our carne asada burritos) but for me, carnitas is always the test. If you’ve got good carnitas, that’s all I need to know. At $1.50 a piece, it’s a great value. We’ll be back.
Taqueria El Rodeo
SW 10th and Alder
RELATED: Portland (PDX) – Part 1: Tasty n Sons