Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sok Sab Bai

(NOTE: Sok Sab Bai has upgraded to a brick-and-mortar spot at 2625 SE 21st Avenue! Check them out there!)

Sok Sab Bai (roughly translating to "How are you?") is a Cambodian street food cart located on SE Clay St. in Portland, Oregon. To my knowledge, it's the only Cambodian food cart in Portland as of this writing. Nyno Thol and Tina Sanchez operate one of the coolest-looking carts I've seen! Credit to Mike "Mad Props PDX" for the stunning artwork!

I ordered the Lemongrass Beef Skewers ($7): two skewers of beef that had marinated in a lemongrass concoction, served with white rice, side salad (w/tamarind dressing), and pickled vegetables. When I visited the cart, Sok Sab Bai had only been in business for about five weeks, and the beef skewers wasn't on their actual menu yet (the menu, by the way, is on a TV screen set up at the ordering counter). But through the power of sites like Yelp, I heard about it and wanted to try it for myself.

Lemongrass Beef Skewers (Sok Sab Bai)
The beef retained a wonderful juiciness, and I got a pleasant hit of the lemongrass while eating the meat. It was a little challenge at times to remove the beef from the skewer, but I won that battle in the end. After reading other reviews on the internet, I know I wasn't the only one waging a mini war with the skewers.

The rice was perfectly cooked, the salad ideally dressed with a lovely tamarind dressing. The pickled vegetables were excellent, and while I just ate them on my own, you can eat it with the white rice if the vegetables are too salty/briny or overpowering for the palate. If anything, I would have liked a larger portion of food.

Sok Sab Bai has outdoor seating, taking full advantage of being the only cart in a small parking lot. Roughly 2-3 tables are set up if people want to dine near the cart.

Nyno and Tina are extremely friendly, and it's nice to see new carts popping up all over Portland. They are open for lunch and throughout the afternoon six days a week (Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.). Check out Sok Sab Bai for yourself! 7.5/10

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