Not surprisingly, online readers had strong opinions about our September coverage of Portland’s food carts.
I was kind of shocked that you didn’t call out Korean cart Yugio while you were talking about the food carts at North Station in the September issue Food Cart City “rock” (a deep-fried, veggie-stuffed rice triangle, smeared with chile paste and wrapped in nori) from their rock, paper, scissors menu is definitely worth calling some attention to. I will admit that I am biased: Yugio is the only cart that I am aware of that is completely gluten-free. As a hardcore foodie whose favorite hobby is eating out, finding out I couldn’t eat gluten was pretty devastating. It’s been a couple of years now, but it’s still a struggle, especially when I find myself in the middle of an amazing food-cart revolution, yet I can barely take part because cart food is rarely gluten-free. (Of the 29 individual dishes you called out, only six were potentially gluten-free, and two of those were ice cream or frozen yogurt.) When I saw that my favorite local food-cart pod had earned a page, I thought for sure Yugio would be mentioned by name.
I would like to offer another view on your unabashed celebration of the “Lunch Carts” in the September issue.
1. The food carts take many parking spaces in Portland downtown.
2. There are no bathroom facilities on site—questionable hygiene.
3. Many of the carts are dirty.
4. The carts drive business from downtown “brick and mortar” food businesses, which only serve as convenient bathroom locations for the cart customers.
5. Some of the food is of questionable quality—there is no adequate control.
Not everyone in Portland is excited about this third-world “novelty.”