I grew up just across the bridge in Vancouver, Washington—home to many small breweries, coffee shops and unique restaurants. Little did I know that when I moved to Portland, I would discover all of my favorite cuisines at the convenience of food carts just two blocks from my doorstep.
As Portland State students and residents of a “food cart city,” we can discover delicious food around every corner. Many carts feature distinct flavors from countries all around the world, from Thai to Indian to Cuban and soul food.
Even dietary restrictions don’t limit your options. At every food cart pod you can find vegan, gluten-free, Halal, Kosher and many other options to suit your needs.
I took some time to meet food cart owners and customers. Kareen, an immigrant and owner of Kabab, said that even though profit is modest, she earns more by cooking than her previous career in her home country. “I’m just here now working in the food cart, meeting people and making food,” she said. “I love it!”
Rekhe, a cook at New Taste of India, told me that she appreciates students because they are loyal customers. “I love students because they come every day,” she said. “That’s why I like working here.”
The closest food cart pod to PSU campus is on SW 4th and Hall. Poom Pui is a popular Thai food cart which seemed to be the crowd favorite among students I interviewed. “I like the crispy pad Thai—it’s easy to eat,” Ayden said. “Yeah, it’s very good and the Thai tea is perfect!” added his friend, Tino. “You guys should try it!”
If you want more food cart choices, you can get off at the Portland Streetcar’s downtown Target stop and walk across the street to SW 9th and Alder to find dozens of other options.
With over 40 food carts on and near the PSU campus, and hundreds more around the city, you’re sure to find a new favorite cart that caters to your tastes and dietary needs.