Grab a bite at one of the 500 food carts throughout Portland. (Photo credit: Nickie Bournias)

Portland will be simmering with visitors this fall with Feast Portland — a world-class celebration of food and drink. For those culinary trippers new to the Rose City, we thought we’d offer an introduction to the food cart scene. Here are some tips from a man in the know, Brett Burmeister, managing editor of

How many food carts does Portland have?
There are about 500 available on any given day throughout the city in about 25 different pods.

When did Portland’s food cart scene start sizzling?
The current scene has been around since the 1980s, but it grew dramatically in 2008 when we saw a shift from fair food to more artisan cuisine.

What’s so special about Portland’s food carts?
Where else can you get escargot or foie gras or Swedish lefse wraps or Chinese flatbread sandwiches from a cart? You can get cuisine at an affordable price, and the variety is mind-boggling.

Describe the range of options at typical pod.
At S.W. 10th Avenue and Alder Street, you can choose from 60 different carts including Thai street food, Carolina BBQ, flatbread sandwiches, Hawaiian, Indian, Portuguese, grilled cheese sandwiches and dumplings.

Can you recommend some starting points for newbies?
Try S.W. 10th Avenue and Alder Street — the largest pod in the city. Mississippi Marketplace on North Mississippi Avenue and Skidmore Street have good carts and beer. Try Cartopia at S.E. 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Street for late night (open till 4 a.m.).

Any other advice for cart-seekers? has iPhone and Android apps with cart locations, hours and sample cuisines.

Visit for reviews, maps and tasty inspiration.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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