Gado Gado Meg Nanna

Abyssinian Kitchen | 2625 SE 21st

Abyssinian Kitchen—named for the kingdom that once spanned Ethiopia and Eritrea—is easy to miss. Tucked into the first floor of an inconspicuous Southeast Portland bungalow with only a small sign to signify its existence, the restaurant isn’t clamoring for attention—and it doesn’t need to. The tangy, fresh, and filling plates are enough to keep curious first-timers coming back for seconds. The kitchen’s carnivore selection is broad, from cubes of lamb steeped in ginger and garlic ($18) to stewed tilapia topped with serrano chilis ($15), but it doesn’t ignore Portland’s vegetarian and vegan diners. I devoured the vegetarian sampler ($17), which featured stewed yellow lentils, seasoned collards, and spicy red lentils (a flame perfectly soothed by Abyssinian’s homemade ginger lemonade). Instead of the classic pizza-pan-sized sheet of injera smothered with different dollops of food, Abyssinian neatly rolls its spongy flatbread next to its entrees, making the edible utensil a little easier for newbies to use. (Tues-Sat 5-9 pm) ALEX ZIELINSKI

An Xuyen Bakery | 5345 SE Foster

I’ve been going to An Xuyen a couple of times a month for the better part of a decade and love it every time. I always get the veggie meat, which is a glutinous protein doused with a sweetish savory sauce, topped with the standard banh mi toppings of carrots, cilantro, jalapeños, and a healthy spread of mayo. Sometimes they run out of the veggie meat around lunchtime, so I go early, which works great, because a spicy sando and an iced coffee for $5 at 10 am will guarantee an A-plus Sunday. Also, the other morning I went there for breakfast treats and purchased FOUR GOURMET, HOMEMADE pastries for SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. TOTAL! There are some places in town where you’re lucky to get two hard vegan donuts for that price. So please, by all means go, but don’t start going before me and making them run out of the veggie meat even earlier. (Tues-Sat 7 am-6 pm, Sun 7 am-3 pm) ELINOR JONES

Aybla Grill | 3003 SE Division

Aybla Grill is a food cart success story. What started as a single cart is now a restaurant and catering service, and their lamb gyro ($8) makes it easy to see why. It’s meaty! Large portions of flavorful lamb form the center of the gyro, all of which is wrapped in crisp lettuce and a soft wrap that provide a nice mixture of textures. Not into meat? Their falafel ($7) is perfectly cooked, with a satisfying ratio of crunchy exterior and fluffy interior. It’s all served with just the right amount of their tangy house-made tahini sauce. (Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm) JOE STRECKERT

Best Baguette | 8308 SE Powell

Best Baguette is where I go if it’s the wrong time of day for An Xuyen or if I’m heading east on Powell. Their bánh mì is just a little too big, which maybe is not a deterrent for most people. And there’s a drive-through, which more places really should offer. My go-tos at Best Baguette are the sweet chili chicken banh mi that’s more sweet than chili, and—from the European sandwich menu—the egg and cheese on a croissant that is a protein-packed gut bomb. All of the sandos at Best Baguette are less than $5. If you go on a weekend, it’s filled with families gossiping in Vietnamese and you can pretend they’re talking about you and feel popular. (Daily 7 am-9 pm) EJ

Bing Mi! | NE 60th & Halsey

Hailing from the streets of Northern China, jian bing is Asia’s breakfasty answer to the Crunchwrap Supreme—a savory crepe stuffed with scrambled egg, crunchy wonton-style crackers, black bean paste, cilantro, chives, and pickled veggies. After experimenting, here’s my preferred customization of the $6 basic bing: choose the spiciest option—it’s a chili-laced kick that burns without demolishing—add the plum sauce, which brings an umami-sweet balance to the savory ingredients, and definitely invest in extra wonton crackers (50 cents), which kick up the texture at the bottom of the bing where things tend to get soggy. Sausage ($1) is pleasant, but only necessary if you’re super hungry. (Tues-Fri 2-7 pm, Sat noon-7 pm) ANDREA DAMEWOOD

Burrasca | 2032 SE Clinton

Tucked into the Clinton neighborhood, one of the last bastions of quaintly bustling Southeast Portland, the patio at chef-owner Paolo Calamai’s Burrasca feels like eating in a well-to-do friend’s backyard. Part of that is a Florentine menu so idiosyncratically regional that being unfamiliar with a dish like sformato (a seasonal vegetable flan, recently made with sweet pea or artichoke, $13) or an amaro like Elisir Novasalus (shockingly bitter on its own, but paired beautifully with root beer and gelato in the “Messner Climbs McKinley” dessert float, $13) is half the fun. (Sun & Tues-Thurs 5-9 pm, Fri & Sat 5-9:30 pm) THOMAS ROSS

Cedo’s Falafel & Gyros | 3901 NE MLK 

Cedo’s Falafel & Gyro outpost on MLK has long been a lunchtime staple of Northeast Portland, and with added Saturday service, the rest of the city can finally see what all the hype is about. Falafel balls are fried up fresh upon ordering and always arrive warm, crisp, and bursting with flavor. The sandwich ($10) is substantial, especially if you make it Jerusalem style ($12) and get a serving of tabouleh added to the mix. Say yes to the hot sauce on the side and be sure to apply it generously. It’s not overly spicy, especially when combined with the fresh yogurt sauce and juicy tomato slices lining the pita. If you’re feeling extra hungry, add a side order of potatoes ($2) for dipping and a piece of baklava ($4) for the road. (Tues-Thurs 11:30 am-7:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-3:30 pm) CHIPP TERWILLIGER 

Chungdam Korean Fusion | 7901 SE Powell, Suite A1

Set the table with a tall Hite beer and a bottle of soju, and then plunge headlong into Chungdam’s vast Korean menu—and don’t be intimidated by the array of options, because everything’s solid. The haemul pa jeon ($14.95), an egg pancake with seafood and green onion baked in, is an excellent starter, and the numerous hot pots and bulgogi entree stews will satisfy any craving. The yangnyeom chicken wings ($14.95) are finger-licking good, and not as spicy as you might fear, and the nakji bokkeum ($17.95), a stir-fried octopus and vegetable dish served with rice, is one of many main dishes that’ll feed the whole table. With K-Pop videos soundtracking all this deliciousness, your only problem at Chungdam is too much food. (Mon & Thurs 11:30 am-3 pm & 4:30-9 pm, Wed & Sun 11:30 am-9 pm, Fri 11:30 am-3 pm & 4:30 pm-midnight, Sat 11:30 am-midnight) NED LANNAMANN

Culture | 2422 SE Hawthorne

Part nightclub and part fine-dining restaurant, Culture isn’t easily pigeonholed—a quality that spills over to their menu, which circumnavigates the Mediterranean and touches on European, Asian, and African cuisines. Just be sure to bring your wallet, as Culture ain’t cheap. The tableside shawarma is the star of the show here, ranging from $26 to $34 per person (three-person minimum) for their lamb, chicken, beef, and veggie options; the shawarma machine sits tableside, roasting and rotating for an hour while you prep your taste buds with mezze (grape leaves, hummus, grilled eggplant, and more). The rest of Culture’s menu includes spaghetti bottarga ($26), storzapretti crepes ($16), and appetizers like stuffed peppers ($10) and calamari ($12). Everything’s immensely flavorful, with fresh herbs bringing out the best in every dish. Grab a Lebanese soda ($4) and a seat on the patio, and settle in for the night. (Tues & Wed 4-11 pm, Thurs 4 pm-1:30 am, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 11 am-11 pm) NL

Desi PDX | 4233 N Mississippi

Dodge the patio day-drinkers and weave past the lines for Matt’s BBQ to get to Desi PDX, a unique and excellent Indian-themed food cart tucked in the corner of the busy Prost Marketplace pod. I say “Indian-themed” because these are Indian dishes done Northwest style—or Northwest dishes done Indian style, depending on your viewpoint. The tastiest plates are the irresistible methi mirchi shrimp ($13), stir-fried with fenugreek and pepitas, and the cardamom chai chicken ($13), which is brined, steamed, and glazed with tea, resulting in a perfectly moist, supremely flavorful chicken-drumstick experience. Virtually everything is gluten-free (and dairy-free, except for the creamy, cooling raita that comes on the side), and there are vegan options aplenty on their terrific menu of complex, intricately spiced fare. (Tues-Sun 11 am-8 pm) NL

Duck House Chinese Restaurant | 1968 SW 5th

This former taproom turned Szechuan Chinese joint has become famous citywide for their delectable, must-have xiao long bao (steamed buns, $12.95-13.95), wontons ($10.95), and dumplings—seriously, if you’re not eating their delicious lamb dumplings ($11.95) at this very moment, you need to make some serious life corrections. But neither should you sleep on their more standard Szechuan fare, in particular their Mongolian beef ($14.95). I love this stuff. Spicy, marinated beef tossed in an array of peppers and grilled onions, this dish is a meaty, mouth-rockin’ pleasure from start to finish. (And smart diners swing by for their great lunch specials [$9.95] in order to beat the lines that form every night for dinner.) To make matters even better, their fantastic service is always on point, so... I’m sorry, but what are you waiting for? (Wed-Sun 11 am-2:45 pm, 4-9:15 pm; Mon 11 am-2:45 pm, 4-8:30 pm) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Du’s Grill | 5365 NE Sandy

Take notice: this little Rose City Park hole-in-the-wall has the good stuff. The plates ($9-$11.50) are huge, fast, and fucking delicious. The primary offering is the teriyaki plate lunch—choose chicken, pork, beef, or some combo of the three—and you get a pile of protein, a steamy football-sized quenelle of rice, and a refreshing iceberg salad with creamy poppy-seed dressing. The chicken ($9.75) is my favorite; you get two or three juicy thighs’ worth, with smoky-charred edges and sauced in sweet-sticky-garlicky teriyaki. There’s a tofu bowl or yakisoba noodles for the vegetarians in your party, and a side of tangy, probiotic kimchi ($3.50) is big enough to take home for later. (Mon-Fri 11 am-8:45 pm) HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON

Enat Kitchen | 300 N Killingsworth

Enat Kitchen likely offers one of the most rewarding and satisfying meals in Portland for the money. Though they’ve discontinued their lunch buffet, Enat has reasonably priced lunch or dinner entrees, from $9.99 to $14.99, with choices of chicken, beef, lamb, fish, or veggies. My date and I ordered the beef key wot—small chunks of tender beef, marinated in spicy berbere sauce—and the veggie combo, which comes with five veggie sides, all of which tasted fresh and uniquely spiced. A frequent complaint of some Ethiopian restaurants is when I need to request (and pay for) additional injera; not so with Enat, who offered so much that neither of us could finish what we started. Enat has a cozy vibe inside, which is a good thing, because service, though friendly, was a little on the cozy side of prompt. (Mon-Sat 11:30 am-9 pm) SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

Frank’s Noodle House | 822 NE Broadway

Located in an old Craftsman right next to the Crown Memorial Cremation and Burial Center, Frank’s Noodle House is endorsed by celebrity chef Guy Fieri (who once stopped there with his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and even signed the wall), which should be enough reason to visit. After enjoying complimentary hot and sour or egg flower soup, along with kimchi and pickled daikon (for dine-in customers only), order Frank’s signature stir-fried, hand-pulled noodles (or else just GTFO)—the dish can be made vegetarian with thin-sliced bell peppers, onions, and cabbage, or elevated with a variety of meat options (my favorite is pork belly, $7.95). With its lovely porch, customizable spiciness levels, dynamite prices, and super-fast service, Frank’s Noodle House is the closest thing Portland’s got to Flavortown. (Mon-Sat 11 am-3 pm & 5-9 pm) CIARA DOLAN

Gado Gado | 1801 NE Cesar E. Chavez

Gado Gado made the jump from Indonesian pop-up to full-service restaurant just last month, and our first bites have been wildly tasty. Celebrating the travels of Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly, along with Thomas’ Chinese-Indonesian heritage, this new Hollywood District spot is already making waves with its signature Gado Gado salad, with tempeh and a thick spicy peanut sauce ($12); chicken bakmi ($15), with chewy yellow noodles and a rich side broth; and a host of non-alcoholic cocktails (a nod to the largely non-drinking Muslims in Indonesia) that rival the high-proof sips. (Wed-Mon 5-10 pm) AD

Güero | 200 NE 28th

Sometimes I dream about Güero. It’s Portland’s ultimate torta hub—they offer seven different sandwich options, but my favorite is the vegetarian refrito ($12), which smooshes refried beans, pickled onions, avocado, roasted serrano peppers, poblano crema, and chile-lime mayo between a fluffy toasted telera roll. I can’t visit without also getting a side of the esquites ($3), corn sautéed with chile garlic and served with aioli, cotija cheese, lime, and ground ancho chiles. It’s hot, spicy, creamy, and citrusy—basically all of the holiest flavors contained in one paper cup. Smother everything with Güero’s impossibly perfect homemade carrot-habanero hot sauce and you’ll be crying salty little tears of joy. Bonus: They sell jars of the sauce to-go, so you can also smother everything in your fridge with it. (Daily 11 am-10 pm) CD

Hanoi Kitchen | 7925 NE Glisan

Love Vietnamese food but want to tiptoe outside of the familiar confines of bánh mì and phở? Hustle over to Hanoi Kitchen and dive into the Northeast Portland restaurant’s elaborate menu. My favorite are their bowls of vermicelli rice noodles topped with fresh vegetables, shrimp, lemongrass pork, shrimp patties on sugarcane skewers, and a light sauce with a kick of spice ($10.50). More of a plate person? Try the deeply satisfying cốm hà nội ặc biệt ($10.50), a dish blending sticky rice with pork, baked egg, shredded pork skins, shrimp, and fresh vegetables. The best part? Hanoi Kitchen’s servers are eager to show inexperienced diners the best way to blend and devour entrees. (Tues-Thurs 10 am-3 pm & 6-10 pm; Fri & Sat 10 am-10 pm; Sun 10 am-9 pm) AZ

Hat Yai | 1605 NE Killingsworth, 605 SE Belmont

I think the argument can be made that fried chicken in all its forms (nugget, strip, on-the-bone, etc.) is the best food in the world. Every country has a version, and each one is finger-lickin’ good. And the perfect bird at Hat Yai could put anything the Colonel ever made to shame. This fast-casual concept serves Southern Thai style fried chicken, delectable curries, chewy fried roti breads, and some seriously spicy salads. At lunch, $9 will get you a fried thigh and drumstick with a mound of sticky rice, or a curry of braised chicken thigh with roti to sop it all up. You’ll want to order both, but remember, you can go back tomorrow. (Sun-Thurs 11:30 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-10 pm) AD

Ha VL | 2738 SE 82nd, Suite 102

Ha VL is a small shop located in a teensy tiny strip mall off Southeast 82nd that you’ll miss at least once while looking for it. That said, this place is hardly an unknown hole-in-the-wall—lots has been written about its ridiculously delicious Vietnamese noodle soups—and has gotten national attention from far fancier food writers than me. But here I am as well to tell you: Yum! Ha VL offers two soups daily, and I like chicken curry Wednesdays but really want to get there sometime for snail Thursdays. (SNAIL!) Lunch costs $10, but with an extra 50 cents to-go, so I’d recommend picking up your favorite free biweekly newspaper and tucking in there among foodie tourists and Southeast Asian immigrants. (Wed-Mon 8 am-4 pm) EJ

Himalayan Food | 10125 SE Stark

While this Himalayan food cart may have a simple name, it has a very large menu. The best bang for your buck is their intoxicating chicken curry ($7.50), which comes with a heap of boneless bird covered in tangy gravy with a side of lentil dal and two puri (fried flatbread). But be sure to make a return trip for their warming and filling thukpa ($6.50), a hearty noodle soup packed with meat and veggies or the always-popular momos ($7), the steamed dumplings that taste even better when doused in their house-made hot sauce. (Wed-Sat noon-7 pm; Sun noon-3 pm) BOB HAM

Jamaican Homestyle Cuisine | 441 N Killingsworth

Immediately recognizable for the pungent clouds of smoke wafting from the barrel smoker outside, Jamaican Homestyle Cuisine has carved a respectable niche for itself on North Killingsworth near PCC’s Cascade campus. Menu options include pricier dishes like oxtail and curry goat, but if you’re a broke-ass college student, try the jerk meal ($9.99): chicken leg quarter, sides of rice and beans, and steamed cabbage. The rice and beans and cabbage are nothing spectacular, but you’ll want something to relieve some of the heat from the chicken, especially if you add Grace Hot Pepper sauce (which you absolutely should). (Tues-Thurs 11 am-8 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-9 pm, Sun 1-6 pm) SEH

Korean Twist | SW 5th & Oak, SE 11th & Madison

Few things are more truly American than Korean tacos, and Korean Twist has some of the best in town. The spicy-sweet bulgogi beef tacos ($2.50, or three for $7) are the stars of the menu, and pork and chicken are also available. The burritos ($7) come stuffed with the same meat as the tacos, but with more rice and less veggies. If you want a bunch of meat juice soaked into carbs (and you should want that), eat one of those. Korean Twist’s yakisoba ($7.50) is also worth checking out. The griddle-fried Japanese noodles are greasy, salty, and satisfying in the best way. (SW: Mon-Fri 11 am-5 pm; SE: Daily, 10 am-8 pm) JS

La Piñata Takos | 432 SW 3rd

For years, I’ve studiously endeavored to discover what makes the veggie burrito from La Piñata Takos INCREDIBLY, VASTLY SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHER BURRITOS. Thus far, my thorough experiments have led to this hypothesis: Uh, it’s the cheese, maybe, I think? Unlike other places that just cram some shredded cheese in the mix and call it good, the friendly heroes at Piñata melt theirs between the layers of the tortilla—where it complements perfect proportions of beans, tomatoes, guac, sour cream, and lettuce. (Basic ingredients, yes, but there’s some straight-up alchemy going on here.) It’s hefty and filling—a fantastic deal for $6.50—and, if you load it up with their green sauce, has just the right amount of kick. But more research is needed, so goodbye, I’m going to go get another one. (Mon-Thurs 10 am-7 pm, Fri-Sat 10 am-3 am) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Taqueria Lindo Michoacan | 4035 SE Division

If you can find a more beloved Mexican cart in Portland than Taqueria Lindo Michoacan, I beg of you to share that information. This cart, conveniently located in the Village Merchants parking lot, has an overwhelming menu, but you can’t go wrong with any of it. This is largely thanks to two things: thick, large, and delicious handmade tortillas, and their slow-cooked meats. Show up before the lunchtime rush for perfectly seasoned and savory carnitas and al pastor on or in... well, just about anything, but especially the sope ($4) or burritos ($5.50-8). Their quesadillas are also miles above average, and Lindo is one of the few places that offers corn quesadillas ($4) for my gluten-free sisters and brethren. Pair any and all of that with a five-star street taco that only costs a buck and a half? Like I said, if you can, please direct me to a better cart. (Mon-Sat 10:30 am-7 pm) WSH

Los Gorditos | 1212 SE Division, 3420 SE 50th, 11155 NE Halsey, 922 NW Davis, 902 N Killingsworth, 4937 SE Division

I never thought I would be advocating for trash lunch, but in the case of Los Gorditos, the garbage burrito is the way to go. The legs of the burrito are the taqueria’s traditional chicken, beef, and pork, and it’s filled out with beans, rice, cheese, sour cream, two kinds of salsa, onion, and cilantro. The garbage burrito is like a half-dozen street tacos stuffed into one extra-large flour tortilla and at $9.50, it’s a steal. Not into carnivorous feasts? Fear not! Gorditos is well respected for their vegetarian and vegan menus—yes, that’s a full menu for each, not just one or two dishes without meat. The majority of menu items is less than $10, and the lower Division location adjoins Apex, a beer bar that’s home to one of Portland’s many epic patios. Gorditos will even deliver your burrito next door so you can make it a three-IPA lunch—just be sure to let them know where you’re sitting! (Daily 9 am-9 pm) BRI BREY

Mekong Bistro | 8200 NE Siskyou

Mekong Bistro bills itself as the first (only?) Cambodian restaurant in Portland, located next to a beauty school in a strip mall on a particularly unattractive part of Northeast 82nd. You’re here for their soups, broadly influenced by the convergence of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia along the banks of the Mekong River. The Kao-Pune soup ($9.95) is still priced shockingly low, considering it was featured in the New York Times in 2014. It’s a hulking bowl of red curry with vermicelli noodles, topped with ground pork and vegetables. If you’re a fan of Asian soups, or good deals, you can’t miss this one. (Mon 6 pm–midnight, Tues-Fri 11 am-2 pm & 6 pm-midnight, Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 11 am-midnight) AD

Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant | 10543 SE Fuller

Psst! At the risk of blowing the whistle on one of my fave under-the-radar Mexican places... oh, hell. I’m just gonna go ahead and blow it. TWEEE! TWEEE! TWEEEEE! Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant is great! Tucked away in a tiny strip mall off Southeast 82nd, don’t be fooled by Mi Pueblo’s humble exterior. It’s got a wildly colorful atmosphere, plays cool music, has an attentive staff, offers homemade corn tortillas and killer margaritas, and boasts a “can’t go wrong” menu of Mexican delights. In the morning, I slide in for their huevos rancheros ($11.50) which features three fluffy eggs and a killer ranchero sauce, and for dinner I make plenty of room for either the slow-cooked pulled pork of their carnitas tradicionales ($14), or the pollo fundido (charbroiled chicken topped with avocado and melted Monterey Jack, $14). While “family-style” restaurants can often be viewed with suspicion—sometimes rightfully so—everyone in your family will love Mi Pueblo. (Daily 11 am-9 pm) WSH

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Nayar Taqueria | 5919 SE Foster

You’d be hard pressed to find a faster, friendlier, and tastier taco joint than Nayar. Burritos ($6.25-8.25) are hearty, evenly portioned, and neatly rolled. The mole chicken ($8.25) is my go-to, while the burrito de rajas ($7.95) with roasted poblano peppers makes for a great vegetarian option. Nayar also offers taco fillings aplenty—the al pastor, tinga, chile verde, fish, and machaca are all excellent choices. Order a side of fresh hot chips and guacamole ($3.25) and use them as a vehicle for getting the most out of Nayar’s addictive creamy red and green salsas. Balance out the heat from dollops of the spicy green salsa with a tall horchata borracha ($7.50), a refreshing mix of horchata and rum. (Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm) CT

Nong’s Khao Man Gai | 609 SE Ankeny, Suite C

With Nong Poonsukwattana’s trademark sauce now readily available in bottled form, I can’t be the only one who’s attempted to replicate her deceptively simple take on chicken and rice in the confines of my own kitchen. While my meal prep session wasn’t a complete disaster, the experiment left me with even more respect for the empire Nong has created serving up her signature khao man gai ($11) to hungry locals and tourists alike. The strips of poached free-range chicken are always tender and moist, layered atop a hearty scoop of jasmine rice that’s been simmering in the flavorful stock, all packaged up neatly with a side of their one-of-a-kind dipping sauce, as well as a light chicken soup that’s perfect for warming your belly on a rainy day. (Daily 10 am-9 pm) CT

Open Tandoor | 4311 NE Williams

Open Tandoor owners Kinder Gill and Navi Kang—both Punjab natives—replaced their Portland Masala food cart with this brick-and-mortar in 2016. Now, thanks to their all-organic, locally sourced menu of authentic Indian fare, they’re a neighborhood favorite. While I’ve heard great things about their tandoori chicken wrap ($11), I always bask in their sublime vegetarian options. In fact, I’d make visits solely off the strength of their veggie pakoras ($8): Coated in chickpea flour and fried, they’re a heavenly combo of cauliflower, spinach, onions, and potato. Most notably, they’re served with two contrasting but equally amazing chutneys in mint and tamarind. Don’t sleep on ordering some of their plain/garlic/cheese naan ($3-4), a filling entrée like the vegetable curry ($14), or channa masala ($14). (Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 5-9 pm) JENNI MOORE

PDX Empanadas | 2 SW Naito

Empanadas are the street food of choice in Uruguay—and at the Portland Saturday Market, where PDX Empanadas sling out these tasty fried meat pockets all weekend long. You can go traditional with the roasted pork shoulder (seasoned with dried plums and cranberries) or pick a seasonal special like the Caprese (same as the salad). Just remember to save room for dessert: dulce de leche, quince, or fig and goat cheese, also in empanada form. This food cart is only open on weekends, but they do online orders and deliveries now, so you never have to be without them. (Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 11 am-4:30 pm) BLAIR STENVICK

Peri Koshari | 1080 SE Madison

Food carts are often best when they make one dish perfectly. Lucky for us, a new cart in the Hawthorne Asylum pod is perfecting koshari, a little vegan carb-and-bean-bomb that’s a combination of culinary mish-mash and comfort. Owner Faisal Faisal told the Oregonian he loved going out for the dish while growing up in Cairo, and here he’s reconstructed the $9 bowl with (stay with me): brown rice, macaroni noodles, lentils, chickpeas, and the bestest caramelized yellow onions known to cart-dom. Douse the whole number in the spicy koshari tomato sauce, add the vinegar-garlic dakka, mix with your finest spoon, and enjoy. (Daily 11 am-8 pm) AD

Phở Oregon | 2518 NE 82nd

As far as I’m concerned, this is the best ph in town. The huge banquet hall can fill up during weekend hours, but if you go for an early lunch on a weekday, it’s likely to be you and a few older Vietnamese guys, slurping up vermicelli noodles and rare steak slices that cook in the rich five-spice and anise-tinged broth. My order is a small No. 2, with noodles, round steak, flank, fatty brisket, tendon, and tripe for $10.95. If that’s too much adventure meat, there’s all manner of combo options. A small is still huge, both in size and flavor, but the gargantuan large bowls top out at no more than $11.95. If you haven’t had Phở Oregon, you haven’t had Portland phở. (Daily 9 am-8 pm) AD

Pinolo Gelato | 3707 SE Division

Since 2015, Pisa-born owner Sandro Paolini has been quietly turning out gelato with big taste. This little Southeast Division shop holds the best gelato in Portland: dense, soft and with flavors so balanced and intense they’re often better than the original. This summer, Paolini is focused on aromatics, including a vibrant pink dairy-free strawberry sorbetto with elderflower grown in the backyard of Mercury contributor Heather Arndt Anderson, which pairs perfectly with a deep cocoa sorbetto infused with thyme and rose. There’s usually not a line, but there should be. (Daily 11:30 am-10:30 pm) AD

Que Bolá? | 7238 SE Foster

Que Bolá? (Cuban for “What’s up?”) is one of the crown jewels of the Portland Mercado, and it’s true, there are many dishes to enjoy: picadillo Cubano (Cuban beef hash simmered in tomato sauce, $9), papas bravas (spiced Yukon Gold potatoes with chorizo, $9), and pan con bistec (grilled steak sandwich, $8). But then there’s God’s favorite sandwich, the Cubano ($8), which features island-style roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese on a grilled hoagie roll—and time comes to a stop when you’re eating it. The pork is tender and flavorful, the pickles and mustard are its best friends, and ohhhh that melted Swiss. If there is a better sandwich in the world, I’ll be happy to give it a try—but I won’t hold my breath. (Daily 11 am-8 pm) WSH

Roman Russian Market | 10918 SE Division

Give yourself some time on your first visit to this amazing market. All the better to peruse the shelves of pickled vegetables, grains, and chocolates. And all the better to work up an appetite for their deli. Options are plentiful, including an array of sweet or savory pastries, “herring under a fur coat” (a cold casserole of pickled fish, beets, and veggies; $6.99 per pound), and smoked meats... oh so many smoked meats. Their hot counter features an ever-rotating array of goodies, including pelmeni ($5.99 per pound), lovely chicken dumplings seasoned liberally with dill, and herrings ($4.99 per pound) fried whole and salted to perfection. (Daily 9 am-11 pm) BH

Rose VL Deli | 6424 SE Powell

Rose VL is the younger cousin of the world-famous Ha VL, and follows their model of offering two soups daily in the $10-11 range. “That seems like a lot for soup, Elinor,” you say. “Soup is mostly water,” you say. No, it’s not!! It’s some intricately flavored combinations of stuff that you and I probably wouldn’t recognize at Fubonn and it’s served in a gigantic bowl that you will loudly slurp while closing your eyes and going “MMMMMMM” and making other diners uncomfortable. And you won’t care. Because that’s some REALLY good water. I’ve only ever had the chicken curry because I don’t eat pork or beef, but I don’t know why anyone would eat anything else. (Fri-Wed 9 am-4:45 pm) EJ

Sherpa Nirvana | 5429 NE 42nd

Sitting in a slightly awkward locale between two taquerias, this charming little shack, painted in bright primary colors, doles out serving after serving of momos, those delectable steamed dumplings from South Asia stuffed with chicken, beef, or vegetables. The price for these little wonders is just right ($8 for a dozen) for you to mix and match. That should leave you plenty of room for a dish of their dal bhat ($6), a perfectly spiced lentil dish that comes with a heap of white rice and a side of steamed veggies. (11:30 am-8 pm; Tues & Thurs, 2-8 pm) BH

So Good Taste Noodle House | 8220 SE Harrison, Suite 215

Located in the heart of a strip mall with other tasty gems, patrons come to So Good Taste for the meat and enjoy an almost identical sprawling menu like that of Chen’s Good Taste in Chinatown. Dive into a heaping bowl of wonton soup with crisp roasted pork for $7.50. If they’ve run out for the day, consider a swap with barbecue pork. Each bowl boasts plentiful servings of bok choy and succulent wontons simmered in a subtle, savory broth. Stir in copious spoonfuls of chili oil for good measure. Other standouts include the lightly fried pepper and salted squids ($9.95) and roasted duck over egg noodles ($7.50). (Mon-Sat 9 am-9 pm; Sun 9 am-8:30 pm) EMILLY PRADO

Spice Kitchen | 8245 SE Division

This place is in one of those low-profile buildings around 82nd and Division that you’ll drive by a million times and foolishly not notice. But you should! Because it. Is. Incredible. The cuisine is Halaal Indian-by-way-of-Fiji, and there’s a sign outside that says, “Lunch 5.99” which drew me in. But once I saw the buffet, I opted to pay $12 instead because I couldn’t just not eat everything I saw. As I write this, I am literally licking a to-go container of the coconut spinach soup that smells sweet but has a sneakily spicy kick. The chicken tikka masala, egg curry, and veggie samosas are also on point. Now’s your chance to get in on the ground floor and tell everyone you used to go before it got super crowded. Which I hope it does. Because it’s great. (Mon-Thurs & Sat 11 am-8 pm, Fri 11 am-9 pm) EJ

Stretch the Noodle | 232 SW Washington

If you arrive anytime near the downtown lunch rush, you will wait for your fix of hand-stretched noodles. What comes from this two-year-old cart from Beijing native Xuemei Simard and her husband, Duane, is the perfect blend of delicious, ginormous, AND cheap. You’re there for the No. 2, a to-go box overflowing with chewy and thick noodles coated in numbing ma la pepper sauce with veggies and chicken or tofu ($9). But you’ll stay for the even better beef noodle soup ($9), and the fat, juicy pork and shrimp pan-fried dumplings ($8 for 10). (Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm) AD

The Sudra | 233 NE Glisan

St. Johns’ food scene recently took a hit with the abrupt closing of the Sudra, the excellent Indian-inspired vegan joint that also offered solid cocktails and a good tap list. Thankfully, the Sudra in Southeast Portland is still open—and summer’s the perfect time to take advantage of its outdoor seating and bike- and transit-friendly location. From the broccoli and cauliflower pakora ($8) to apple-carrot payasam ($5), you’ve got a ton of choices—but I always stick with the lentil kofta bowl ($7 small, $12 large), a perfectly spiced blend of basmati rice, onions, kale, cauliflower, and tikka sauce, topped with lentil kofta balls. With a cold beer, it’s a combo that makes the Sudra stand head and shoulders above most of Portland’s other vegan spots. (Sun-Thurs 11 am-11 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight) EH

Tambayan Restaurant | 6014 SE Foster

You may not be as familiar with Filipino cuisine as you’d like, but if you’re ready to give it a go, Tambayan Restaurant is the local place to start. Regulars swear by the tapsilog (sweetened beef, $12) and the fried chicken ($12), but if you’re looking for the most delicious bang for your buck, go for the adobo ($12). This deceptively simple dish of tender pork chunks perfectly marinated in garlic, vinegar, peppers, and soy creates a magic elixir that soaks the accompanying rice and delivers a hearty meal that can easily be stretched into two lunches. On weekdays it opens at noon, but it’s not rude to be waiting at the door. (Wed-Thurs noon-6 pm, Fri noon-8 pm, Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 11 am-7 pm) WSH

Tangier | 221 SW Pine

Not nearly enough love is heaped upon Tangier, the small but robust Moroccan and Mediterranean restaurant near Portland’s Waterfront. Its cozy atmosphere belies the bursts of savory flavor from dishes such as zaalouk (made with eggplant, olives, and green pepper, $8.95), Moroccan chicken (slow cooked and oven baked, $16.75), and tangine of lamb (served with Moroccan sauce, $19.95), though I keep coming back for the shawarma plate ($13.95) which features chicken, beef, or lamb marinated in onion, garlic, vinegar, and spices, and paired with either seasoned rice or an impossibly large, fluffy pita. Their sandwich selection is equally strong, with their headliner falafel sandwich ($8.95) making for a hearty, flavor-packed lunch that’ll give you super powers all day long. (Mon-Thurs 11 am-9 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-11 pm, Sun noon-9 pm) WSH

Teppanyaki Hut | 8145 SE 82nd, 4233 N Mississippi

Fusion foods often get a bad rap, but the nori-wrapped sushi monstrosities at Teppanyaki Hut have justly earned an exception to the rule. Fusion mostly in name, the food cart offers a handful of colossal sushi burrito options, each essentially giant rolls, stuffed to the gills with fresh fish or veggies and decorated with unique additions like crispy onion, masago, and/or tobiko. Mt. Fuji—a great go-to—is an Instagram-worthy technicolor tube filled with a trifecta of seafood (tuna, salmon, crab salad), lettuce, cucumber, avocado, red cabbage, and crispy onions ($9). While the NoPo location has vegan and meat ramen, nigiri, and regular ol’ sushi rolls on the menu, the Southeast location serves up bento boxes and udon for less than $10. (Sun-Thurs 11:30 am-7 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-8 pm) EP

Tierra del Sol | 7238 SE Foster

Maize is sacred in Mexico and the crop has been an indigenous culinary and cultural staple for thousands of years. Amalia Vázquez, a Native Oaxaqueña, honors the traditions of her region’s cuisine with an emphasis on organic blue corn products at food cart Tierra del Sol in the colorful Portland Mercado pod. Snag hard-to-find dishes like tetelas (thick masa pockets filled with black beans and topped with crema and queso fresco, $4.50-6.50) and mole enchiladas ($10.50), or opt for classics like tacos ($3) and quesadillas ($7.50-9.50). Expect incredibly flavorful meats, lots of queso Oaxaca (the queen of stretchy quesadilla cheeses), and full bellies. (Sun-Thurs 10 am-8 pm, Fri & Sat 10 am-9 pm) EP

Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon | 16223 NE Glisan

Conveniently located right next door to a Gresham plasma center, the hot deli inside this tienda is well worth the drive. Choose from a wide range of combo plates ($9.99-12.99) or go à la carte with gorditas, burritos, chile relleno, and tons more for just a couple bucks each. I opted for a guisado of cochinita pibil ($9.99): a plate groaning with shredded hunks of red pork; my choice of rice (red) and beans (refried, and appropriately creamy with lard); and house-made tortillas. Vegans and vegetarians aren’t forgotten here, either—there’s a solid menu just for the herbivores, including a succulent nopal salad. Folks avoiding carbs can just buy meat by the pound ($9.99-10.99). (Mon-Sat 9 am-7 pm, Sun 9 am-6 pm) HAA

Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant | 8446 SE Division

The decor is spartan and the service can be brusque at Van Hanh, but the Buddhist nuns who run the place have higher priorities, like (1) enlightenment and (2) creating great vegetarian and vegan takes on Vietnamese dishes. (I’m assuming that’s the right order.) Some menu items you won’t find anywhere else (like the roasted gluten, $7.99), but you can’t go wrong with the various spring rolls ($3.75) or the Buddha Bowl ($7.99), packed with rice noodles, daikon, sprouts, cucumber, pickled carrot, peanuts, and a few deep-fried vegan egg rolls. It’d be too dry, but the sweet chili dressing gives it just the right amount of punch. And if you’re looking for fake meat, check out the tofu veggie fish fillet with tomato sauce ($7.99) or the grilled barbecue tofu with peanut sauce ($3.95). (Mon & Wed-Sat 10 am-9 pm, Sun noon-8:30 pm) EH

Yuan Su Vegetarian | 11140 SE Powell

Prepare to be charmed by the trappings of Yuan Su: The big round tables with lazy susans, a staple of old-school American Chinese restaurants; the rustic wood paneling; the server who will remind you that the perfectly crispy fried wontons ($5.99) don’t have any filling in them every time you order them, no matter how many times you’ve ordered them before. After you start with those wontons and the savory pot stickers ($7.99), it’s time for your entrée, which should certainly include the sinus-singeing bean curd with hot sauce ($11.95) and the comfortingly familiar kung pao chicken ($12.95). Oh, and by the way, everything here is vegan. (Mon-Sat, 11 am-9 pm) BS

Zilla Sake | 1806 NE Alberta

This Alberta mainstay was purchased a couple of years ago by Kate Koo, its sushi chef and resident sake professional—seriously, her expertise is certified by multiple organizations you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re also a sake pro. Though the sushi menu is on the smallish side, with more than 90 bottles of sake on the shelves including seasonal offerings rarely seen on this side of the Pacific, there’s still a lot to ponder—consider the omakase option ($45-75) to let the chef make your food decisions for you and let the staff school you on sake pairings. (Mon-Sat 5-10 pm, Sun 5-9 pm) TR