5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

by Culinary Spelunker / Apr 23, 2019 /
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It’s hard to believe food trucks have only revved their foodie engines in the U.S. since 2008. In that relatively short window of time, they’ve become a culinary juggernaut. No longer a novelty in major metropolitan areas, food truck hubs are now common in mid- to small-size cities, too. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce found the food truck industry generated $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017 and has been growing on average at a rate of 7.9% every year.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

And if there were an unofficial epicenter for food trucks, Portland, Oregon could easily earn the title. In fact, a Food Truck Nation report ranked Portland the top town for food trucks. The rankings were based on several factors including the ease of operating a food truck, ability to get permits, and more.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

To make the most of Portland’s burgeoning food truck scene, here are a few tips to get you started.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

#5 Don’t call them food trucks.

Sure, Portlanders aren’t going to chide you for saying, “food truck,” but they might nudge you to call them food carts instead. There are more than 500 food carts in the Rose City. And while some are stand alones, for the most choices head to one of the many food cart pods.  

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

#4 Think twice before ordering.

The largest food cart pod, 10th and Alder, pretty much takes up the block. Northern Chinese food. Southern Chinese food. Iraqi shawarma. Grilled cheese. Vegan bowls. Mexican chorizo burritos. Persian food. German bratwurst. My advice is to go around the food block once to see all your choices before deciding.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene
5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

#3 Stake out your dining spot before you get your food.

While you’re doing your walk around the foodie block, start looking for where you want to eat. Seating is scarce at the food cart pods. When I ate my fresh-made dumplings today, I used a parking meter as my table. While my impromptu table worked out just fine, you may want to walk to a nearby park to enjoy your meal. If you happen to go to 10th and Alder, the Pioneer Courthouse Square isn’t far away and as a bonus, there’s usually some sort of festival going on you can watch while you eat.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

#2 Opt for a food cart tour

From the history of food carts, to sampling some of the best, you’ll do some of both as part of a food cart tour. Several are offered throughout Portland.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

#1 Chat with the food cart owner.

As long as there’s no line behind you, feel free to start up a conversation with food cart owners. Most relish the opportunity to tell you more about their fare.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Portland’s Food Truck Scene

 

Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines and Kids Editor for Wandering Educators

All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough

 

 

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