Dec 30, 2015 – Last count from the greater Portland area puts the number of mobile food carts at around 848. Since this date the numbers keep growing, and they’ve become one of the signature representations of the burgeoning Portland food scene. Unlike food carts in most other cities, Portland’s carts can be stationary, allowing for a unique street-food experience. Food cart locations are available online. When a grouping develops it’s called a “pod.”
Part of the appeal of food cards is being able to roll up to a pod and have the opportunity to choose from a number of very different cuisines from different parts of the world.
Food cart pods take decidedly different forms depending on which side of the Willamette River they are located on. West of the river, the pods tend to face the sidewalk and line the periphery of the parking lots. Downtown pods such as the one on Alder Street provide many different possibilities for cuisines but very few options for seating. Vendors are generally serving a lunch crowd that must retreat to the office or eat on the curb. East of the river, pods tend to be a bit smaller but configured in a more intimate and social way. These pods tend to serve a clientele that is off work and looking to eat on-site. The carts face inward, and instead of parked cars, the interior of east side pods tend to have seating, planters, and area for children to play. Most importantly, some of the east side pods harbor little beer gardens too.
So today James wants Koshari, I’d like to try the Nepal cart, and Jim is going with Philly Cheese Steak. Looks like we’re going to the pod on Belmont.