Portland is such a foodie city that I absolutely had to do a (Portland Eat Adventures) food tour during my visit and not only that, but a food cart tour since Portland is the birthplace of food carts with over 700 currently existing.
I paired up with local tour company Eat Adventures Food Tours to enjoy an afternoon of wandering around Portland’s various eclectic neighborhoods in their custom Eat Adventures van named Harold! Angie was my guide that particular day and she is a fellow traveler who’s eaten all around the world so she definitely knows good food. (She’s also great at parallel parking!)
I won’t name the exact food carts we visited since I’d rather you enjoy this wonderful tour with Angie as your local guide. The food stops do rotate anyway so every tour will certainly be a surprise when you visit. However, I’m sure some of you with good Google sleuthing skills can find out exactly what food cart it is if needed.
We met at the Heathman Hotel in the library located at the mezzanine. After some quick introductions and given a handy dandy color printed map of the city, we were off to our first stop.
Eat Adventures Food Stops:
The first stop was downtown where there was a nicely sized parking lot full of just food carts. Food cart owners that manage to get a spot here usually do it for the massive lunch crowds on weekdays. Note that food carts in Portland are stationary and do not move locations like food trucks (like in Washington DC).
We stopped at this food cart where they focused on khachapuri — the world-famous Georgian cheese bread. We tried the classic and oh my world, it was melty, good chewy cheese bread. Served piping hot, it was hard to eat just one slice. A nice & simple way to start the tour, we were off to the second food cart – in a different neighborhood.
Our second stop was Korean Tacos! I normally dislike Asian fusion unless it’s done exceptionally well and this was done exceptionally well. The beef was flavorful along with onions and lime juice squeezed on top and kim chi was served as a side. I was upset that we could only have one and was tempted to buy another as we left.
In between each stop, Angie would describe the feel and vibe of every neighborhood we drove through and answered questions from people on the tour. We learned all about food culture in Portland as well as the food cart scene and how they work together.
Food Cart Fact: A group of food carts together is called a pod and there’s many pods located all around the city. Some are well-known (like in downtown) and some are more hidden gems that mostly only locals know about and want to keep it that way.
Our third food cart stop was also a divine generous slice of warm quiche with a side of orange slice that was incredibly juicy & sweet to top off the tasting. This particular food cart is located in the Alberta 15 co-op food pod where the food carts are mostly paleo and vegan-friendly.
Everybody in our group finished this slice despite saying because it was quiche, it would be heavy and we HAD to save room for the next two stops. Lo and behold, nobody could help themselves!
Our fourth stop was Japanese Ramen noodles! I was SoOooOOoOoOoO happy with this tasting. The broth was flavorful and miso-ish without being overly salty which is something I find super common with ramen. According to Angie, oversalting ramen broth happens too often and such a shame. However, this bowl of ramen had soft chewy ramen noodles with a slice of pork, and the EGG. Delicious and soft. Apparently, this particular food cart’s chef went to Japan to study how to make perfect ramen before coming back to Portland and opening his own food cart.
Note: At this particular pod, you can buy beer! The beer (pictured above) was not included in the tour although I would imagine maybe a sampling or two at a food stop would be a great idea. 😉
Our last stop was for dessert! A Norwegian potato lefs – a thin rolled piece of flat bread that’s rolled by hand and roasted on a griddle. Our potato lefs was filled with roasted peaches and some kind of creamy cheese that was light, warm, and….delicious. A perfect way to end the tour and by this time, I was SO full. I could barely finish dessert so please – come hungry!
Here’s me…fully satisfied and satiated. Super happy despite feeling so full that I couldn’t walk. I loved the fact that the food carts were all delicious, high quality and had a great variety. Every tasting blended well with the next so the “flow” of the tour was great. We even had a vegetarian in our group and Angie made every effort to make sure she was able to enjoy all the five tastings on the tour.
Afterwards, we got dropped off at the original meeting point and Angie is happy to give you directions to your next destination if needed.
+ Many thanks to Eat Adventures Food Tours for hosting this foodie experience in Portland. As always, no fakin’ in the makin’ – all thoughts and opinions are mine.
+ If you’re a traveler without the time or energy to plan your next epic trip, check out my services at Up & Explore where I take the pain & stress away from planning your vacation.