We had Korean short rib tacos with kimchi ($4) at KOi Fusion, where we learned that their tortillas are made locally.

Image: Stacy Austin

Haven’t you heard? Portland’s food-cart community is not only blooming like a field of wild flowers, but it’s where you’ll find some of the most provocative eats in town. During the IACP Conference, we marched in the two-mile walking tour of food carts. The expedition was led by Portland Monthly food writer Mike Thelin, Kelly Clarke and Ben Waterhouse from Willamette Week, and Kaie Wellman, creator of the Eat.Shop series of books.

Before the tour started, Thelin spoke to the anxious group of culinary professionals, containing mostly out-of-towners, about the spur of food carts in Portland.

“A downturn in the economy created food carts that would have been brick and mortar restaurants… In Portland, creativity is currency, and these places are flourishing with creativity,” Thelin said.

During the food cart tour, we consumed the crème de le crème that each cart had to offer. Slideshow displays what the tour included, and where you can find it.