1859 Food Cartographer Brynn goes off the grid with this one, eating at little-known Thai cart in downtown Portland.
1859 Food Cartographer
SW 4th Ave. and Hall St.
Mon-Fri: 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
With no website, no business cards and a barely used Facebook page, Krua Bangkok is a cart to be found the natural way —by walking the streets. Strolling down SW 4th Ave. between Hall and College streets in downtown Portland, you'll find a string of carts--a handful of which are Thai food. But Krua Bangkok stands out with its long, distinctive menu and guaranteed great taste. The Ratanavetin family, originally from Nonthaburi, Thailand, opened up this cart (and the one next to it) three years ago. Their aim is to “keep all dishes as traditional as possible.”
They buy from local Asian marts and don't add extra ingredients (or take out traditional ones) to accommodate the American taste bud. The two most popular dishes are those commonly known at any Thai place: the Pad Thai ($5.00) and the Pad Kee Mow ($5.00). The Ratanavetin's have the ability to make these ordinary dishes taste special and one-of-a-kind with their family recipe blends of spices and sauces.
Meat or tofu portions are friendly and the fresh vegetables don't overpower the dish. For spice lovers, get your dish extra hot. The spices add a smoky, but not too overwhelming, heat. For those who need to mitigate the heat, ask for the Thai Tea drink ($2.00); a milky, sweet drink that will relieve the spice. The rest of the menu is filled with a variety of interesting recipes. Try the Basil Stewed Pork ($6.00); a tender, stir-fried stewed pork with onion, bell pepper and basil leaves in homemade spicy sauce over rice. Be sure to check out the specials menu for new mixes that change daily.
Bonus: Most food carts close around 3 p.m. on weekdays, so Krua Bangkok is your place to go for a guaranteed cheap and always delicious dinner.
What I had:
Basil Stewed Pork $6.00
Pad Thai $5.00
Thai Tea Drink $2.00