Last summer, we decided to maximize our holidays and went on a 5-day road trip from Vancouver to Portland with a few days in Seattle in between. Having heard the amazing food truck scene in Portland, I was doing tons of research before heading down. We figured out that there were hubs of food trucks and we decided to hit the two largest ones in the two days we were there.
On the first day, we went to:
First up, the Dump Truck.
Although "The Dump Truck" is not the most appetizing name, it made me think of bodily functions and junk removal, we had heard a lot about this and decided to give it a shot anyways.
We opted for the Super Sampler, which is a assortment of 8 dumplings for $7. The three kinds we got included their famous Bacon Cheeseburger. That's the darkest on on the right. We also got a more traditional Asian-style dumpling, the Mr. Ma's Special, a pork, green onion with ginger dumpling. These are really juicy and almost XLB-like. The last one was a vegetarian one, Down To Earth, made with portabello, cabbage and some rice noodles. The juiciness is again present here, and the hot sauces they have available give it that extra hint of punch. I would say that the Bacon Cheeseburger was a letdown, probably due to our high expectations. I was surprised that I didn't enjoy the bacon stuffed item, but it was a bit dry and bland.
Off to Nong's Khao Man Gai
The trucks in PDX are not as mobile looking as the ones here in Vancouver, in fact, they seem like actual shops or store fronts, albeit very small ones.
The packaging of this Chicken and Rice (Khao Man Gai) is amazing, and very environmentally friendly.
The chicken is poached, and there is a blend of white and dark meat. The rice is cooked in chicken stock and tons of Thai herbs. The dipping sauce to the left has a soy sauce base, with a blend of ginger, garlic, chilies and some vinegar or lime for a pucker. To enhance the freshness of the whole thing, they garnish with cucumbers and cilantro. For $7, you cannot beat this deal!
Then, a taste of Maui with Island Grill Hawaiian Barbecue
Ever since we had Spam Musubi in Maui, we have been searching for more. Who would have thunk we would find it in Portland!? The food truck is named Island Grill Hawaiian Barbecue but all we saw were Musubi.
These Spam Musubis are made fresh to order so be prepared to wait. But oh my goodness, they are the best thing to happen to rice since a fried egg! The rice is slightly warm to the touch, it's soft and moist and very reminiscent of sushi. They top it with a slice of marinated Spam, and the sauce is sweet, similar to a teriyaki sauce, but not too much to avoid "over-wetting" it.
We were going to get just one to try, but the owner looked like he was closing up, and to make it more worthwhile for him to make them, we ordered a trio of them. The Spam had a nice crust and the crispy seaweed covering made this dish exceptional. What more could you ask for, they're just $2 each!
Then, a taste Poland with EuroDish
So moving away from the Asian dishes, we decided to visit Euro Dish, also known as the "Traditional Polish Food Cart". This was the only place where we got more than one item. I really wanted to try their cabbage roll, but the schnitzel looked amazing on the menu.
This Golabki - Cabbage Roll is gigantic! Inside this baby are pork and beef, tons of rice as well as spices such as thyme and marjoram. Once rolled up, these are slow cooked in a tomato sauce until fork tender. This looks like it should be really juicy, but unfortunately, the cabbage roll was actually quite dry. The flavours were good, but the texture was a bit lacking.
The second item we got from Euro Dish was the Schnitzel Sandwich. The pork cutlet was fried to order and the topping of slow cooked onions and peppers were amazing. Don't get me wrong, this is a messy sandwich and the ciabatta bun did it's best to hold all the filling, but be prepared to have juices running down your arm. The best part of the sandwich was the crunchy pork cutlet, which retained its crispiness despite the plethora of toppings.