One of the biggest food trends in Portland in 2016 has been the rise of Asian-inspired breakfast. Portland had tasty options for dim sum and more, and these new breakfasts and brunches brought even more variety, taking many palates where they’ve never gone before, whether with Chinese rice porridge or a new take on chicken and waffles featuring rice flour. Here are four exciting new Asian-inspired breakfasts and brunches to try out:
This sexy bar in the Alberta neighborhood does brunch weekends, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Named the best brunch in Portland by The Merc’s Andrea Damewood in June 2016, it delivers dishes like congee porridge served with poached eggs, a breakfast burrito involving shrimp paste and kimchi, and a rice waffle topped with hot fried chicken strips — all designed by Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy. See the truth: Pickles and maple syrup work together.
Whiskey Soda Lounge
Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker showed Portland his take on Southeast Asian-inspired breakfast noodles with Sen Yai, and when the restaurant closed in May 2016, he moved its breakfast down SE Division Street to Whiskey Soda Lounge. Think sunny-side-up eggs, with slices of Chinese sausage and ground pork served with baguette, and rice porridge in pork-bone broth, with fresh herbs, preserved radish, fried rice noodles, and your choice of pork or fish. Don’t skip the seasonings on the table. Brunch is served weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Zilla Sake and Sushi Bar
NE Alberta’s Zilla Sake and Sushi Bar launched breakfast in October, but aside from one article in Portland Monthly, it has virtually no presence online. You can currently beat the crowds by heading in anytime Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Zilla chef Katherine Koo tells Eater those hours will change to Wednesday through Sunday, starting November 26.
According to PoMo, Zilla chef serves a teishoku-style breakfast: a set platter of Japanese breakfast items. PoMo's Benjamin Tepler writes, "The menu centers around a choice of four mains: miso-marinated black cod, salt-roasted mahi mahi, rotating sashimi, or locally-made Ota tofu. Filling out the tray are seven sides, from mixed grain rice and miso soup to tamago (soft cooked egg in soy sauce broth) and tamagoyaki (Japanese omelets).” It costs $16 to 24, with option add-ons available, too.
Launching in 2016, Han Oak serves its brunch just one day a week — Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — and by reservation only. It’s worth a little pre-planning to taste chef Peter Cho’s Korean cooking, with $29 brunch trays featuring an evolving menu. Hopefully, the pork and chive dumpling soup will be involve, but Cho's other dishes rarely miss: savory waffles come with kimchi and pork belly and "steak and eggs" are served with omurice, a pork-rice-stuffed omelette.