Downtown food-cart clusters, like the mighty pod at SW Ninth and Alder, have been around since the 1980s, but new pods with names like Cartopia and Good Food Here bring fusion fare and fries to parking lots in more remote neighborhoods. (Cartopia is the lone late-night pod, serving food until 3 a.m.) According to Multnomah County, the city has more than 600 licensed carts, up from 450 two years ago; the definitive website to track this unruly lot is foodcartsportland.com.
(Real Good Food Belmont pod in southeast Portland)
Portland’s meat obsession is on display at this destination for all forms of pork in all forms of sandwich, including a pork meatball bahn mi ($8) and a burger topped with pork belly ($8).
(Mississippi Marketplace pod in north Portland; Twitter: @Burgatroyd)
The inspirational cart that launched Burgatroyd, Garden State, is gone and so is it's revered owner, Kevin Sandri. But the legacy of great burgers continues under the watchful eye of Jamie Anderson, former Burgatroyd sous-chef. The core menu will remain, featuring specialty burgers ($6 and up) topped with uncommon ingredients like pickled beets, arugula, pesto, morels and broccoli rabe.
(Good Food Here pod in southeast Portland; Twitter: @EuroTrashCart)
In addition to its 1980s-appropriate neon paint job, this cart is known for cheap eats with a Continental mash-up flair. The day’s menu might feature breaded and fried anchovies, known as “fishy chips” ($5), bacon waffles with eggs ($5) and optional foie gras, or a prawn baguette ($7).