Alder Street Food Cart Pod (PORTLAND, OR – DAY 3)

Portland, OR – Day 3

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151109 Prescott St (4)We started our final day in Portland a little later after staying up late the previous night and finally made our way back out to downtown Portland. After trying to look up where we can find a pod of food carts, we headed to SW 10th and Washington.

When we arrived the food trucks were just starting to open, we decided to walk all the way around to check out what we could get. This ended up being a lot bigger then we expected because the food carts actually wrapped along the block between SW Washington St. and SW Alder St. from SW 9th Ave. and SW 10th Ave.

This is one of the food card pods in downtown Portland also known as the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. And in the end, we got more food then we can actually eat (and even brought some back to San Diego).

We started out by getting spam musubi at 2 different food trucks to start the day.

808 Grinds

Downtown Food Cart
Corner of SW 9th and Washington
Portland, OR 97205

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808 Grinds was barely opened when we walked by and decided that we wanted to get some spam musubi 2 for $5.

All of the spam musubi was all pre-made but obviously still warm and fresh. These things bring back so many memories of my Hawaii trip and really hit the spot for me-ish.

Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque

Corner of SW 9th and SW Alder St. 
Portland, OR 97205
Yelp Page

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After having the musubi at 808 Grinds, we walked by another cart with spam musubi. I realized that you just cannot share spam musubi, so we got 2 more. Also 2 for $5.

Once again, they were barely opened. A young and rather cute guy took our order and then tried to make our musubi for us. We waited a little longer as we watched an older gentleman teaching/guiding him on how to make our spam musubi.

All 4 of us agreed that we preferred the spam musubi at Island Grill. This one was a little stronger and had more teriyaki sauce in the rice and on the spam making the over all flavor a little more balanced.

Altengartz Mobile Restaurnt Authentic GermanBrand Bratwurst

Corner of SW 10th & Alder
Portland, OR 97205

151109a Food Truck (15)As we continued to walk along SW Alder St. Sebas stopped at Altengartz (a basic food truck serving German sausages). Note that Sebas had just returned from a trip in Europe and was super excited when he saw this food cart.

He ordered the Currywurst and I had no idea what we were going to eat. The food cart was simple and had signs that listed the menu items. One particular thing I noticed while waiting was that the bratwurst is actually made in America and there are a few reviews posted by Germans who say the food at this food cart tastes quite authentic.

When we got our food, we had a seat at one of their plastic tables right next to their food cart (they are also one of the few food carts that actually provided their own sitting area).

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Currywurst is a bratwurst in a grilled bun topped with a curry ketchup (tomato) sauce served with a side of sauerkraut and grilled mushrooms. And this was yummy! I didn’t really taste any curry but when i searched for what currywurst is, it said it’s a ketchup or tomato sauce and topped with curry powder and spices. So I guess the curry flavor is not supposed to be as prominent?

Sebas said this was just as good as what he had while in Germany. I’ll take his word for it (for now).

Nong’s Khao Man Gai (The Chicken-&-Rice food cart)

Downtown Food Cart
SW 10th & Alder St.
Portland, OR 97205

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And before turning the block, we crossed SW 10th Ave to stay on SW Alder St. because we noticed a lot of people were walking along the street with a cute little paper bag from that way AND someone asked me where they could find the famous chicken rice cart. That was exactly what we found at Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

There were quite a few people walking up to this food cart, lucky for us the line was just clearing up when we arrived but of course there were more people lining up behind us. It looks like they have a system going since the chicken rice was pretty much all they serve. And we got our food in the super cute paper bag.

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We ended up picking up more food before finally finding a spot to eat all of this food! The chicken rice is wrapped in butcher paper. Rice, topped with chicken, and topped with a little tub of ginger sauce.

There are so many different versions of chicken rice, and having lived in Singapore I was skeptical as to how good this could be. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. The rice is well flavored and not boring jasmine rice. The chicken is cooked perfectly and moist (not over cooked and dry) and I don’t remember having to deal with the bones at all. Finally the sauce, I prefer the dark soya sauce that comes with the chicken rice in Singapore but this ginger sauce was good enough. The ginger was prominent but not over baring and too spicy.

This version is a Thai rendition of the Hainanese Chicken Rice (did you know it’s not called Hainanese Chicken Rice in Hainan?) And in Thai this is called Khao Man Gai.

The Dump Truck Food Cart

1071 SW Alder St,
Portland, OR 97205

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We decided to check out what else is located along this street and came across The Dump Truck Food Cart for some handmade dumplings with unique fillings. This is a rather tall truck overlooking almost all of the other carts nearby. From the street level where I was I could see a few steamers.

We ordered Le Super Sampler which is basically 2 of each dumpling of our choice. Dumpling choices and descriptions directly from The Dump Truck Menu (and my thoughts):

  • 151109a Food Truck (21)Mr. Ma’s Special – Tender seasoned pork dumplings with green onion and ginger, hand wrapped to ensure a flavor burst in every bite.  Served with a savory Soy & Vinegar Sauce or for those looking for a spicier bite our house-made Sweet Chili Hot Sauce (The somewhat traditional one)
  • Down to Earth – A unique combination of diced portabella mushrooms, rice noodles, and cabbage accented with tangy ginger and hand wrapped to ensure a healthy, earthy flavor. Served with a slightly spicy Tahini Chili Sauce. Vegan friendly (
  • Potato Curry – This Malaysian-style dumpling infuses potato with swaths of yellow curry, zesty leeks, and hints of creamy coconut. Served with a vegan-friendly, sweet Coconut Yogurt Sauce (at first bite, it was like eating a dumpling filled with mashed potatos)
  • Bacon Cheeseburger – Everything in a bacon cheeseburger wrapped in a dumpling … seriously. Served with our house-made Secret Sauce. Sssshhhhh (this one was awesome, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It really had all of the flavors of a cheeseburger, not sure if i remember the bacon though).

I had fun eating these dumplings. The dumpling skin was thick enough to hold all of the unique fillings and enough for me to taste the skin (my favorite part of a boiled or steamed dumpling). I will always go back to my pork and leek dumplings but I wouldn’t mind more of these once in a while.

E-san Thai Food Cart

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I actually did very little research on Portland before arriving. I decided I was just going to ‘wing it’ and hope that V, Sebas, and BH did a little more homework then I did.

We got the Pad Kee Mao – wide size rice noodles steamed with chili sauce, bell pepper, sweet basil leaves and broccoli. These noodles were extra wide compared to what I’m used to of getting and actually a little too spicy for me (but that would be because of the spice level Sebas ordered?).

From his research, this food cart is very popular and actually has it’s own restaurant (like many other famous food cart).

There were quite a few people ordering and waiting for food and the wait was actually kind of long. We decided to split up. BH and I continued along and arrived at our next stop.

Mac & Trees

950 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97204
Yelp Page

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151109a Food Truck (33)For Mac and Cheese lovers, Mac and Trees is the spot! Plus, look at how cute the green cart is.

We ordered a small Mac & Trees – grilled chicken, broccoli, parmesan, and breadcrumbs.

I don’t know the names of all of the different types of pasta, but I know this is not the elbow macaroni normally served in mac & cheese. These guys were bigger, fatter, and allowed for cheese to be in the middle of the pasta/macaroni.

I would consider this to be a yummy gourmet mac & cheese with basic (gourmet) ingredients. I’m sure I can get something similar at any other nice restaurant but this hit the spot and everything was well balanced.

Took the dude a while to make considering only one other person ordered before us. So while BH waited for our mac & cheese, V and I continued on for more food.

By now, we have eaten spam musubi, currywurst, and dumplings while carrying some chicken rice, pad kee mao, and mac & cheese. As if that is not enough we continued on and got food at TWO more food carts.

Taste of India

950 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97204

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This was what V decided to go back to after checking out most of the Food Cart Pod earlier in the morning. By the time we were back, there were quite a few people waiting for their food. The guys at this cart were super friendly and it looked like many of the people waiting were regulars.

V ordered the Chicken Tiki Masala. The chicken is diced in almost perfect cubes that look more like potatoes then chicken which was a huge surprise for us when we bit into what we thought were potatoes.

Mumbo Gumbo

930 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205

By the time Sebas joined us after waiting for his Pad Kee Mao at E-san Thai Food Cart, he had actually made another stop and ordered MORE food! What were we thinking!?

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We each basically had a bite of each and gave up. We had way too much food and our stomachs weren’t big enough. I guess our eyes are just bigger then our stomachs.

The Jambalaya was “sooooo flavorful and spicy” and as for the Gumbo “It was sooooo good!” according to Sebas.

We ended up walking over to a nearby park and tried to eat everything. We finished the Mac & Trees and Chicken Rice. And finished half of the Chicken Tikki Masala and Pad Kee Mao. We packed the two half finished items in the same box and took that all the way back to San Diego (along with the Gumbo and Jambalaya).

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