The Little Cart That Could: Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Nong Poonsukwattana of Nong's Khao Man Gai

If you haven’t heard of Nong Poonsukwattana or Nong’s Khao Man Gai, you either don’t live in Portland or you never prowl the food carts around the city looking for that magical bite of something quick to eat.

While there are hundreds of tasty food carts to nibble from in Portland, it is rare for any one of them to leap to the front of the popularity pack and stay there for years on end.

Nong’s did just that with its simple boiled chicken and rice dish. Lucky for us, the cart was in downtown Portland, where we often join the lunch throngs of ravenous office workers. We would have eaten at Nong’s more often, but time, the line around the block, and our growling stomachs worked against us.

Now we can hop in the car anytime and zip over to the new brick and mortar on SE Ankeny. The new space (still take out, no sit down) captures the spirit of the traditional Asian khao man gai stand. Hanging rubber chickens and  hand-lettered signs enliven the space. And clusters of bananas hang from the ceiling, as they often do in take out joints in Japan and Hawaii.

But colorful and quirky as it is, it’s the simple, perfect food that keep the hungry Portland hordes coming back for more.

Sorry, gotta go. It’s almost noon, and we have to get it line.

For the full story on the phenomenon that is Nong’s Khao Man Gai, jump to PDX Eater.

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