Friday, November 18, 2011


(UPDATE 12/7/12: Minizo has moved yet again to the Mississippi Marketplace pod. First reported by Mississippi Marketplace Twitter feed.)

(UPDATE 5/25/12: Minizo has moved to the growing food pod at NE 15th and Alberta. First reported by Food Carts Portland.)

Minizo is a Japanese food cart located near SW 9th and Washington in downtown Portland, Oregon. Tamio Nojima and Yasuharu Nojiri run this cart (and you may see two more employees, Toku and Ken, if one keeps stopping by often). According to Food Carts Portland, Minizo is the food cart version of Shigezo, a company with over 100 restaurants in Japan. Minizo opened around late September 2011.

Spotted near the corner of SW 9th and Washington!

This time, I ordered the Brown Curry ($5):

"Our sweet curry sauce is made from scratch with slow-simmered onions, fresh carrots, ginger, potatoes, garlic, and a Japanese spice blend stewed together in homemade chicken broth. Served warm with a side of steaming rice and pickled radish."

Brown Curry with steamed rice (Minizo)
This was some tasty Japanese curry. Just a hearty, rich flavor, thanks to the slow-cooking of all the vegetables and spices. I want to say it has some tomato-based nuances. The carrots and the potatoes disintegrated in my mouth, cooked to perfection. While the curry is probably a bit sweeter than what I'm normally accustomed to, it's still a great meal. The pickled radish and the rice are the ideal accompaniment to the curry. For $5, you really can't go wrong with this choice.

I was also pleased to see Minizo offers Chicken Katsu Curry -- something I see so often back home in Hawaii. For $6.50, you will get rice, their signature curry, and a deep-fried chicken breast (katsu). Certainly another item worth experiencing, at the very least.

Vegetarians can order items like Veggie Curry ($6.50). It's basically like the Brown Curry with more vegetables, and it uses vegetable/seaweed stock instead of chicken stock.

In a burger mood? Minizo offers a chicken katsu burger or a shrimp burger (both $6).

For the winter months, Minizo may just make a bunch of money with their ramen/noodle dishes. Selections include their Abu Ramen ($6), Veggie Abu Ramen ($6), and Okinawan Noodle Soup ($6.50).

While there are a couple of other Japanese carts on the same block, each of the carts have their own items that set themselves apart. Check out Minizo, and I'd suggest either the curry or the ramen for your first experience here! 7.5/10

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