November 18, 2009
Eating Portland: Nong's Khao Man Gai
Portland's food cart scene is ridiculous. The food carts in Portland don't seem to be of the mobile variety (like the ones in NYC), but mostly parked in parking lots around the city, and mostly concentrated in the downtown area. There are so many carts, in fact, that there's a blog dedicated solely to food carts in the city. For comparisons sake, the sheer quantity of carts in just one of PDX's parking lots puts the Red Hook Ball Fields to shame (in quantity of carts and possibly quality of food — no he didn't? Yes, I did).
In the 10th and Alder (Southwest) parking lot is Nong's Khao Man Gai a Thai cart that specializes in Khao Man Gai, or chicken and rice. They're so specialized, in fact, that it's all they have on their menu. For $6, you get your chicken and rice, a side of ridiculously tasty sauce and some slices of squash as well as a soup (perfect for a chilly Portland day).
As good as the food is, sitting in front of Nong's and watching Nong Poonsukwattana interact with her customers is just as enjoyable.
Possibly the only thing I regret not doing in Portland during this trip was eating at more food carts. I only had time to eat at two. And one cart was actually sold out of meat! WTF?!