Ah food carts. I love the food carts in Portland. They provide a nice, home-grown and informal food culture to Portland, which is very enriching. Them are big words, but I mean them! Food carts are the places where a lot of us grab a quick lunch. Asaase Ital Palace is located next to PSU in a little food cart lot down there. They offer African-Caribbean vegan-vegetarian cuisine. The menu is not long, but there’s a little something for everyone. The first time we visited, they were closed, even though we showed up during their posted business hours, which was a little strange. I’m thinking that may be part of the food cart experience?
I’m unclear on whether or not everything on the menu is gluten-free, but at the very least it looks like the majority of their offerings are. On the plus side, the person who was working when we visited was familiar with gluten and able to answer all my questions about our order. Everything they prepare is vegan.
They serve a tofu scramble, smoothies, a salad, and fried plantains. For entrees, they have more interesting offerings. #1 Ofie ne ife – “Steam ground spinach in a savory red oil sauce with boiled plantain or rice.” # 2 Red-Red – “Black eyed peas in a savory tomato sauce and palm oil with fried plantain and Gari” #3 Ites Gold & Green Plate – “Red beans stewed in tomato & coconut milk over yellow rice with greens. #4 Waakye – “Cook-up rice and peas with traditional spices.” They also have a Jerk Veggie Chick-un, which is vegan chick-un marinated in sofrito grilled with spicy sauce. Last, they have some soups.
This is a cuisine that I have no experience with, and so I end up having to judge it with no context other than whether it tastes good or not. The top picture here is the #3 Ites Gold & Green Plate. The bottom is the #2 Red-Red. Everything about the Ites Gold 7 Green Plate was good. I am a real sucker for rice and beans. The rice was delicious, and so were the beans. The flavors were unique and interesting. The #2 Red-Red wasn’t quite as good. Except for the plantains, the dish was a little monochromatic and dry. On the plus side, the plantains were freshly fried, and delicious! The food took a little longer than I am used to with food carts, but everything was well put together. The food had a very wholesome feel. As mentioned above, the friendly person working the cart answered all my questions.
They have two sizes of most of their dishes, a large and a small. The small is definitely enough to feed one person. You might get a large if you’re going to pick up a few dishes to share between a group of people, which would be an ideal way to get this food. It is very interesting food, so it’s fun to sample more than one dish.
If you’re looking for a small adventure with some take-out food then it’s fun to check out the food carts in town, and you could do much worse than checking out the Asaase Ital Palace. We enjoyed our dishes and if we lived down near PSU and/or were vegan, we would probably visit them regularly.
We want to know: Do you have any favorite food carts in Portland? Have you eaten at Asaase Ital Palace? What did you think? Let us know!
Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Friendly But Ask Questions
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same
Asaase Ital Palace
Asaase Ital Palace Facebook Page
1600 SW 5th and College / 503.851.2511