Eater Portland's Food Cart Heatmap is regularly updated, usually swapping out two to four entries to keep track of the latest and greatest "it" places of the moment. This forum post will now serve as your resource for keeping track of former entries (and descriptions from the last time they appeared on the Heatmap). Going forward, the current Food Cart Heatmap will always be found right here.
Retired in June 2017
- Matt's Barbecue: In a town where everyone seems to have a bone to pick with barbecue, no one seems to have a problem with this food cart, serving Texas-style brisket and ribs. Matt's BBQ recently upgraded its smoker, and as soon at Matt finishes testing it out, he can make three times as much barbecue as before. Grab those ribs, the hot links, and that brisket, made simply with salt and pepper.
- Jook Joint: It's all about the Texas brisket-stuffed bao, coconut-corn fritters, and creative congee bowls, which run $7-8. Chef Ryan Ostler mingles the flavors of Asia and the American South.
- Chicken Adobo: Formerly located in Happy Valley, Chicken Adobo is a fresh addition to the Killingsworth Station (not Piedmont Station) pod. Specializing in cuisine from Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines, Chicken Adobo nails all the classics you may or may not be familiar with. A quick hit list includes a mouthwatering adobo chicken for $9, brightly flavored bistek for $10, and lumpia, the distinctly flavored Filipino spring rolls that are a hallmark of any gathering or celebration. They go for $1 a piece or 6 for $5. Better to be early if you want any lumpia — they sell out fast.
- Kingsland Kitchen: It takes a couple Brits to bring a proper fry-up to Portland. And it takes them being in sandwich-obsessed Portland to have the good sense to put that full English breakfast on a bun. Bangers, fried tomatoes, fried egg, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, it's all there, and it's available all day. Their other sandwiches pull inspiration from England's post-colonial melting pot of cultures, with Indian-spiced chicken with papapdums and raita, or jerk chicken with spicy pineapple salsa. But there's a classic meatball sub and fried egg sandwiches, too.
- Burmasphere: This cart gets props just for being the first to serve Burmese food in Portland. Try the tea leaf salad, the curries, and the chickpea fritters and wonder where it's been all your life (but watch out for that ghost chili ice cream). A vegan curry is available, and most everything costs $9 to $10.
- Teppanyaki Hut: Sushi burritos. Whether or not this is where we have culinarily jumped the shark is a matter of opinion. The fact is that the Teppanyaki Hut, a recent addition to the Mississippi Marketplace, makes them, and they're pretty damn good. The Volcanic Eruption comes with spicy tuna and salmon, jalapeno, tobiko, masago, and crab salad inside a rice and seaweed wrapper for $8. For a dollar more you can get the Black Widow stuffed with crab salad, soft-shell crab, tobiko roe, and crisp veggies with a tempura-riced exoskeleton. Now with a second location in the Cartlandia pod at 8145 SE 82nd Ave.
- Tight Tacos: Homemade tortillas? Check. Salsas prepared fresh daily? Check. Thoughtfully marinated meats? Check. See whether you'll join the chorus of taco fanatics already calling this fresh-faced cart the best place for tacos in the city. All tacos are $3.
Retired in February 2017
- Bing Mi: Until Bing Mi came along, Portlanders had no idea they were missing one of the most delicious Chinese street foods ever. Now it's on. The giant crepes are filled with egg, black bean sauce, and chile paste, plus herbs, pickled vegetables, and crispy wonton crackers. Add even more sweet-sour-savory notes with optional hoisin sauce and sausage if you so desire.
- Mixteca: Mixteca is owned by Doña Paula Asunción and her family, who come from Southern Mexico near Oaxaca, and she specializes in traditional tamales made with local ingredients. The must-eat Tamal Oaxaqueno is a massive corn tamale stuffed with shredded chicken and topped with rich mole sauce, and it'll only cost you $6. Not feeling like a tamale? Portland Mercado is home to eight other Latin food carts.
- Polli-tico: Here it's all about the chicken, grilled over charcoal on an imported Peruvian rotisserie until dark and crispy. Order it in a bowl if you must, but it's best by the plate, where you can fully enjoy that crispy skin. Even better, take a full bird home for dinner.
- Chicken and Guns: The Latin American-style grilled-chicken craze is strong in Portland, and Chicken and Guns fires up one of the best, grilling local chicken over oak and serving it in quarter, half, and whole birds, for $8, $14, and $20, respectively. And sure, you could order the light salad with chimichurri as a side, but really, you know it's all about the crunchy potatoes smothered in spicy Peruvian aji sauce.
Retired in December 2016
- The Wild Hunt: The second food cart from the team behind Viking Soul Food pulled a rather ingenious move, teaming up with the Teutonic urban winery. Sit down for saffron-infused seafood chowder, an open-faced Oregon pink shrimp smorrebrod, or a "Troll Snack" (Jarlsberg cheese and roasted shallot spread on knekkebrod). It turns out Scandinavian pairs excellently with riesling and Teutonic's other Oregon wines.
- Back to Eden Bakery: Alberta's popular gluten-free and vegan bakery has entered the cart scene with a sweet little spinoff in the Tidbit cart pod. It's all about donuts, cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies, and ice cream, which you can get by the waffle cone or in sundaes, milkshakes, and kombucha floats. The dairy-free soft-serve is made in-house, while the hard-pack comes courtesy of Coconut Bliss.
- The Parmacy: Founded on the principal of parmesan, The Parmacy makes standout East Coast-style chicken parm and eggplant parm sandwiches with homemade tomato sauce ($9-11). Start there, then move onto the pasta and salad options.