Street food used to be something that would excite mainly backpackers in Bangkok. But nowadays we live in an era when hawker stalls in Singapore earn Michelin stars and food trucks draw devoted followings of foodies. One of the world’s best cities in which to explore such mobile cuisine is Portland, where “pods” of high-quality carts cluster in various neighborhoods. And one of the best ways for a non-Portlander to find the most-exciting options among the city’s 500-plus trucks is by taking a tour with Eat Adventures Food Tours.
Our guide, Angie Johnson, co-founded the company five years ago, and she knows a great deal not only about food trucks but about the city in general. As she drove our merry band of eight around town, she gave us the history of each neighborhood through which we passed. We visited trucks in all five sections of Portland, starting downtown with some bao (Chinese dumplings) filled with curried chicken or pork with green onion. From there we headed north on trendy Northwest 23rd Avenue to a quirky smoothie truck, where the blender was attached to a stationary bicycle.
On the opposite side of the Willamette River, we tried “The Philly,” a cheesesteak-inspired bowl with thin-sliced sirloin, peppers and potatoes in a Swiss cheese-beer sauce, which delighted our entire group, and a “Viking” wrap featuring smoked salmon, cabbage, pickled shallots and dill crème fraîche surrounded by lefse, a Norwegian flatbread.
Nor did our sweet tooth go unsatisfied. In spite of feeling somewhat full already, we devoured fresh waffle sandwiches with fillings of coconut cream, banana and toasted almond, and raspberry jam, chocolate ganache and whipped cream.
We forwent a lunch at an expensive restaurant to take the food-truck tour and had absolutely no regrets about doing so. It introduced us to unfamiliar and fascinating neighborhoods in Portland and gave us access to all sorts of delicious things we never would have found on our own.