Food and Drink

Discover Portland: A guide to the best food carts

Rebecca Harley

6th June 2024

Portland food cart

Portland is an internationally recognised destination for delicious food and drink, all thanks to its perfect location in the picturesque Willamette Valley. Innovative chefs, vintners, and brewmasters are attracted to the City of Roses with a shared desire to turn locally sourced produce into something truly unique.

Vineyards cover over 19,000 acres of the land here, producing an exquisite Pinot noir, as well as a very notable Pinot gris. Experience the spectacular scenery of the nearby Columbia River Gorge and great wine on our full day Waterfalls & Wine Tasting Tour. If you prefer beer, then locally grown hops can be tasted in craft beer served at local breweries across the city.

No matter where you eat in Portland, you’ll enjoy genuine farm-to-table cuisine, however we recommend that during your holiday you eat like a local at one of the city’s iconic food carts. You can join a guided tasting tour or read our guide below so that you know where to head when you start to feel peckish.

portland Food Cart Pods

There are now over 1,000 food carts operating in Portland, so we suggest visiting a food cart pod to make the experience less overwhelming. A pod is the name attributed to a group of food carts which are all located in one area, varying from a small pod of only two or three carts up to large pods with over 10 food carts. They often share a communal seating area and provide an excellent variety of cuisines for diners. Prost Marketplace is a very popular pod located in the Mississippi district of North Portland. There are lots of carts here to choose from, but we recommend eating at the legendary Matt’s BBQ for Texas-style BBQ food, including oak wood smoked brisket sandwiches, beef rib, and pork belly burnt ends. Food does sell out here, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

portland Breweries

Portland’s craft beer scene continues to thrive as entrepreneurial brewers push the boundaries of what is possible with the humble hop. You’ll need something refreshing to sip during your meal, so why not enjoy the best of both worlds, and visit a food cart located near one of Portland’s many breweries. Mole Mole is a family-run food cart on Northwest Alberta Street specialising in flavoursome Mexican mole dishes. The food is presented impeccably on brightly painted ceramic plates and pairs fabulously with a pint from next door neighbour, Baerlic Beer Co. Their award-winning Eastside Oatmeal Pilsner, is a good choice if you want to try something unique that typifies Portland’s innovative stance on food and drink.

eating in portland

No matter the time of day, there is a food cart to curb your cravings! If you like to start your day with a coffee, then you’re in the right place as Portland has an established coffee culture. Kind Coffee Cart situated in southeast Portland will provide you with a caffeine hit alongside a tasty breakfast sandwich.

If you’re in downtown Portland at lunchtime, visit the award-winning Kim Jong Grillin’ cart, where chef Han Ly Hwang delights visitors with his authentic Korean cooking. The Bibim Boxes are very popular and offer excellent options for both vegetarian and vegan diners.

Have an early dinner of soul food at Kee’s Loaded Kitchen, which is open Thursday to Sunday, 1-5pm. The menu changes daily and is released two hours before opening on Instagram. When you reach the serving window, all you need to do is select your main course – all sides shown are included – so it’s best to arrive hungry!

Image credit: Jamie Francis

Ready to explore Portland? Check out some of our most popular itineraries.

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