Food Carts of Portland, Ore.

In the Mississippi Marketplace, ten vendors feed the hungry hordes with tasty food at bargain prices.

Food cart at Ruby Dragon at Portland’s Mississippi Marketplace

Try vegan Thai at the Ruby Dragon at Portland’s Mississippi Marketplace.

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You could call it a gourmet parking lot. At North Mississippi and Skidmore streets in Portland, the 10 permanent food carts at Mississippi Marketplace reflect the trend that has blessed the city with hundreds of brightly colored mobile lunch counters and snack bars. They cater to a crowd hungry for distinctive eats without the accoutrements of fancy restaurants. “You may not get candles on the tables here, but where else can you get good food made from scratch for such a good price?” says marketplace developer and owner Roger Goldingay.

Visitors might start with breakfast wraps overflowing with eggs, portobello mushrooms, and fire-roasted salsa at the sun yellow Big Egg. Southwestern Pizza Company dishes up single-serving pies with homemade sauce. Rolls of crunchy asparagus, sunflower seeds, and avocado top the menu at the vegetarian Sushi Tree. Most market meals cost around $6, a price that has patrons hopping up from the communal tables for more. (503) 358-7873, missmarketplace.com.

Photography by Don Frank

This article was first published in July 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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