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Hands hold baking sheets full of yellow and red tarts, bright green spongecake, mango roll cakes at Berlu’s bakery
Berlu’s baked goods
Christine Dong / Official

Portland’s Top Pandan Treats

From mochi doughnuts to cheesecake, pandan is showing up in desserts all over the city

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Berlu’s baked goods
| Christine Dong / Official

Aromatic pandan leaves have found a place in kitchens across Portland, from pop-up bakeries to Indonesian restaurants. Even if diners might not recognize pandan by sight, they might be familiar with the distinctive scent that’s like a cross between fragrant jasmine rice and an herbal vanilla.

For years, pandan has subtly flavored the tap water served at Pok Pok and perfumed the rice used in Nong’s khao man gai. But more often than not, pandan is the culprit in many vibrantly green sweets in the Southeast Asian canon—from Malaysia’s ais kacang to steamed Vietnamese layer cakes. Locally, the ingredient has popped-up in HeyDay’s nonya kaya doughnuts (as well as Portland’s other two mochi doughnut offerings), Canard’s “Wings of Liberty” cocktail, and many more places, both traditional and otherwise. This map focuses on desserts made with pandan. Have a favorite not on this list? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

A number of Portland restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. GrindWitTryz

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7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97211
(808) 348-2734
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Runaway food cart hit, GrindWitTryz, draws hour-long waits for its massive, well-priced portions of Hawaiian food. There’s also often a dessert special (check Instagram for details), which was recently butter pandan mochi, a chewy, unmistakably green treat, cut into individual springy squares. The cart is open for takeout, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon until it sells out.

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Pandan Butter Mochi be ready by 2pm

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2. MATTA

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1533 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(971) 258-2849
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Matta, the popular Alberta “việt kiều” or “overseas Vietnamese” cart, employs pandan in both sweet and savory preparations: fried coconut-glazed pandan doughnuts as a meal-ender or the pale green pandan milk buns that cradle fish sandos or cheeseburgers, depending on the daily special. Matta is open for takeout or delivery.

3. White Elephant Asian Fusion

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4233 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 766-9855
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This North Mississippi food cart might have fusion in its name, but the menu isn’t a free-for-all. Most dishes either lean Lao, Thai, or Vietnamese, including pandan mango sticky rice — the familiar coconut milk-drizzled Thai dessert — kicked-up with the addition of pandan essence to give the glutinous rice a brilliant green color and pleasing aroma.

4. Gado Gado

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1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 206-8778
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Hollywood District’s Gado Gado made its name on Indonesian classics, bolstered by playful twists. Its versions of rendang and laksa get rightful attention, but pastry chef Crystal Ayala’s desserts aren’t exactly slouches. The kaya cake has been served with different seasonal toppings like blueberrry compote, but the base is vanilla cake that gets a tres leches soak and is filled with layers of the namesake pandan coconut custard and vanilla frosting. Gado Gado is open for takeout, delivery, or patio seating.

5. Muse Cheesecakes

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2816 NE Halsey St
Portland, OR 97232
(541) 968-3439
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Pandan is one of this hidden bakery’s signature flavors. The base is a classic New York-style cheesecake, infused with fresh pandan leaf puree for flavor and a natural avocado-green color, set atop an almond shortbread crust, and enrobed with a coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk glaze. Order online for pickup, and don’t be deterred by the signless exterior—it’s a commissary kitchen, not a public cafe.

6. Mikiko Mochi Donuts

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1221 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 208-2852
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One of three purveyors part of Portland’s mochi doughnut boomlet, Mikiko has expanded its operation from delivery-only to selling its glutinous rice flour-based pastries out of the West space in Northwest. While flavors range from rose milk tea to Hawaiian passionfruit, orange, guava a.k.a. POG, the pandan-glazed doughnut, sprinkled with powdered matcha, makes use of two Instagram-beloved green ingredients. Takeout is available at West from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

Box of a colorful half-dozen donuts from Mikiko
Mikiko Mochi Donuts
Krista Garcia/EPDX

7. Wajan

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4611 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 206-5916
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East Burnside’s Wajan is the place for homestyle Indonesian dishes like nasi campur and beef rendang. It’s also one of the few spots in Portland serving es cendol, a shaved ice-based treat, doused in palm sugar syrup and coconut milk, filled with chewy green “noodles” made from rice and tapioca flour infused with pandan, and topped with optional jackfruit. Similar to halo-halo, it’s fun to mix it up for a mouthful of contrasting textures and flavors. Wajan is open for takeout or delivery.

8. Fifty Licks Ice Cream

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2742 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 395-3333
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The delicate almost-vanilla scent of pandan makes perfect sense as an ice cream ingredient. In fact, Salt and Straw’s first vegan flavor (now in the vault) involved pandan-cilantro caramel, and Fifty Licks regularly sells a Thai rice ice cream, flavored with ground jasmine rice and pandan, a natural pairing. Fifty Licks is open for delivery or pickup.

9. Lotus Kitchen

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101 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97216
(971) 666-7149
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While Gado Gado has put the breaks on brunch — meaning no more pandan waffles topped with Crunch Berries — diy brunchers can take matters into their own hands by stocking up on three-packs of pandan waffles, sold in plastic containers (or prepared à la minute) at Lotus Kitchen, the bakery and deli inside of Hong Phat supermarket on 82nd Avenue. Those waffle-packs are fun to trick out at home, with things like honey and whipped cream.

Table full of green waffles in plastic containers at Lotus Kitchen
Lotus Kitchen’s pandan waffles
Krista Garcia / EPDX

10. Berlu

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605 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

Berlu’s transition from tasting menu restaurant to a dairy-and-gluten-free morning bakery has resulted in three pandan sweets: made-to-order waffles, a layered crepe cake filled with sliced strawberries and a chiffonade of lime leaves, and the bánh bò: a baked cake using a combination of glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch to create a distinctive chew and honeycomb-like interior. The takeout window is open Fridays through Sundays, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Green slice of cake with a honeycomb-like interior at Belu
Berlu’s bánh bò
Krista Garcia / EPDX

11. Magna Kusina

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2525 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 395-8542
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Carlo Lamagna of the modern Filipino restaurant Magna takes Portland’s beloved Basque cheesecake and puts his spin on it, infusing it with pandan. The subtly fragrant cheesecake is still soft in the center, charred on top for extra caramelization, and garnished with crumbled brown butter polvoron, a Spanish shortbread. The pandan cheesecake is available for takeout during lunch.

An individual round of cheesecake on a turquoise plate at Magna
Magna pandan cheesecake
Krista Garcia / EPDX

12. Bambū Desserts & Drinks

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8001 SE Powell Blvd M
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 774-2005
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Icy Vietnamese dessert-drink hybrids called chè are where it’s at, when it comes to creativity and hot-day refreshment. Bambu, in a Jade District strip mall, offers the Fruit Addict (number 6 on the menu) filled with a tropical bounty of lychee, longan, jackfruit, and coconut, plus jello and squiggly pandan jellies in a bold shade of chartreuse. Bambu is open for takeout.

13. An Xuyên Bakery

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5345 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 788-0866
Visit Website

Portland’s classic French-Vietnamese bakery, An Xuyen, is known for its banh mi, as well as macarons and pastries like the Tiger Roll, a multi-hued Swiss roll cake with a swirled layer of seafoam green pandan sponge cake filled with whipped cream. An Xuyen is open for takeout or delivery.

A green and yellow swirled roll cake at An Xuyên
An Xuyen’s tiger roll
Krista Garcia / EPDX

1. GrindWitTryz

7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97211

Runaway food cart hit, GrindWitTryz, draws hour-long waits for its massive, well-priced portions of Hawaiian food. There’s also often a dessert special (check Instagram for details), which was recently butter pandan mochi, a chewy, unmistakably green treat, cut into individual springy squares. The cart is open for takeout, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon until it sells out.

7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97211

2. MATTA

1533 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Matta, the popular Alberta “việt kiều” or “overseas Vietnamese” cart, employs pandan in both sweet and savory preparations: fried coconut-glazed pandan doughnuts as a meal-ender or the pale green pandan milk buns that cradle fish sandos or cheeseburgers, depending on the daily special. Matta is open for takeout or delivery.

1533 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

3. White Elephant Asian Fusion

4233 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217

This North Mississippi food cart might have fusion in its name, but the menu isn’t a free-for-all. Most dishes either lean Lao, Thai, or Vietnamese, including pandan mango sticky rice — the familiar coconut milk-drizzled Thai dessert — kicked-up with the addition of pandan essence to give the glutinous rice a brilliant green color and pleasing aroma.

4233 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

4. Gado Gado

1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

Hollywood District’s Gado Gado made its name on Indonesian classics, bolstered by playful twists. Its versions of rendang and laksa get rightful attention, but pastry chef Crystal Ayala’s desserts aren’t exactly slouches. The kaya cake has been served with different seasonal toppings like blueberrry compote, but the base is vanilla cake that gets a tres leches soak and is filled with layers of the namesake pandan coconut custard and vanilla frosting. Gado Gado is open for takeout, delivery, or patio seating.

1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

5. Muse Cheesecakes

2816 NE Halsey St, Portland, OR 97232

Pandan is one of this hidden bakery’s signature flavors. The base is a classic New York-style cheesecake, infused with fresh pandan leaf puree for flavor and a natural avocado-green color, set atop an almond shortbread crust, and enrobed with a coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk glaze. Order online for pickup, and don’t be deterred by the signless exterior—it’s a commissary kitchen, not a public cafe.

2816 NE Halsey St
Portland, OR 97232

6. Mikiko Mochi Donuts

1221 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Box of a colorful half-dozen donuts from Mikiko
Mikiko Mochi Donuts
Krista Garcia/EPDX

One of three purveyors part of Portland’s mochi doughnut boomlet, Mikiko has expanded its operation from delivery-only to selling its glutinous rice flour-based pastries out of the West space in Northwest. While flavors range from rose milk tea to Hawaiian passionfruit, orange, guava a.k.a. POG, the pandan-glazed doughnut, sprinkled with powdered matcha, makes use of two Instagram-beloved green ingredients. Takeout is available at West from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

1221 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

7. Wajan

4611 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97215

East Burnside’s Wajan is the place for homestyle Indonesian dishes like nasi campur and beef rendang. It’s also one of the few spots in Portland serving es cendol, a shaved ice-based treat, doused in palm sugar syrup and coconut milk, filled with chewy green “noodles” made from rice and tapioca flour infused with pandan, and topped with optional jackfruit. Similar to halo-halo, it’s fun to mix it up for a mouthful of contrasting textures and flavors. Wajan is open for takeout or delivery.

4611 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97215

8. Fifty Licks Ice Cream

2742 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

The delicate almost-vanilla scent of pandan makes perfect sense as an ice cream ingredient. In fact, Salt and Straw’s first vegan flavor (now in the vault) involved pandan-cilantro caramel, and Fifty Licks regularly sells a Thai rice ice cream, flavored with ground jasmine rice and pandan, a natural pairing. Fifty Licks is open for delivery or pickup.

2742 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

9. Lotus Kitchen

101 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97216
Table full of green waffles in plastic containers at Lotus Kitchen
Lotus Kitchen’s pandan waffles
Krista Garcia / EPDX

While Gado Gado has put the breaks on brunch — meaning no more pandan waffles topped with Crunch Berries — diy brunchers can take matters into their own hands by stocking up on three-packs of pandan waffles, sold in plastic containers (or prepared à la minute) at Lotus Kitchen, the bakery and deli inside of Hong Phat supermarket on 82nd Avenue. Those waffle-packs are fun to trick out at home, with things like honey and whipped cream.

101 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97216

10. Berlu

605 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214
Green slice of cake with a honeycomb-like interior at Belu
Berlu’s bánh bò
Krista Garcia / EPDX

Berlu’s transition from tasting menu restaurant to a dairy-and-gluten-free morning bakery has resulted in three pandan sweets: made-to-order waffles, a layered crepe cake filled with sliced strawberries and a chiffonade of lime leaves, and the bánh bò: a baked cake using a combination of glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch to create a distinctive chew and honeycomb-like interior. The takeout window is open Fridays through Sundays, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

605 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

11. Magna Kusina

2525 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
An individual round of cheesecake on a turquoise plate at Magna
Magna pandan cheesecake
Krista Garcia / EPDX

Carlo Lamagna of the modern Filipino restaurant Magna takes Portland’s beloved Basque cheesecake and puts his spin on it, infusing it with pandan. The subtly fragrant cheesecake is still soft in the center, charred on top for extra caramelization, and garnished with crumbled brown butter polvoron, a Spanish shortbread. The pandan cheesecake is available for takeout during lunch.

2525 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

12. Bambū Desserts & Drinks

8001 SE Powell Blvd M, Portland, OR 97206

Icy Vietnamese dessert-drink hybrids called chè are where it’s at, when it comes to creativity and hot-day refreshment. Bambu, in a Jade District strip mall, offers the Fruit Addict (number 6 on the menu) filled with a tropical bounty of lychee, longan, jackfruit, and coconut, plus jello and squiggly pandan jellies in a bold shade of chartreuse. Bambu is open for takeout.

8001 SE Powell Blvd M
Portland, OR 97206

13. An Xuyên Bakery

5345 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206
A green and yellow swirled roll cake at An Xuyên
An Xuyen’s tiger roll
Krista Garcia / EPDX

Portland’s classic French-Vietnamese bakery, An Xuyen, is known for its banh mi, as well as macarons and pastries like the Tiger Roll, a multi-hued Swiss roll cake with a swirled layer of seafoam green pandan sponge cake filled with whipped cream. An Xuyen is open for takeout or delivery.

5345 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206

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