Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hapa PDX

UPDATE 9/4/14: The cart is now known as Hapa PDX and is located at the Tidbit pod (SE 28th Place and Division).

Hapa PDX is located at the A la Carts Food Pavilion (SE 50th and Ivon) in Portland, Oregon. Michael and Sarah opened this food cart on October 17, 2013.

With fall solidly in place and winter fast approaching, I'm not surprised to see carts selling hot items to keep their loyal customers warm. Opening a cart during this time is not as common as summer, but I thought it was a great time for Hapa Ramen to open, simply for the comforting dish prominently on the menu.

My first trip here started with the Shoyu Ramen ($8), starting with slow-cooked chicken and pork broth with shoyu (soy sauce) base. Toppings include green onion, chashu pork, spinach, and hard-boiled egg. It's a delicious broth that brings a controlled flavor balance and allows one to savor each bite of ramen.

Hapa Ramen uses Sun Noodles, which I remember eating a lot of in Hawaii.

Other options include a Miso Ramen ($8) using a house broth and sweet miso base; and a Curry Ramen ($7) that mixes curry into a pork broth. Now all I need is a saimin option with dashi (fish broth) and spam, and I'll really feel like I went back home to Hawaii.

Condiments include La-Yu chili oil and togarashi (chili pepper). The cart even includes a Hawaii license plate.

The chicken karaage (fried chicken) is an option to add to the Curry Ramen for $1 more. Michael suggested a curry rice bowl with the fried chicken on top. Genius move. While I'm not sure how the chicken is breaded, the non-chicken option could provide a gluten-free option.

NOTE: "Hapa" basically means a person of mixed ethnic heritage. Probably the most common usage is to describe something as "part Caucasian" with part Asian/Pacific Islander.

It's always nice to see another ramen cart in town. Seeing items on the list that remind me of Hawaii (with cart owners also from the 808) make it that much better. I look forward to seeing the progression that Michael and Sarah make over the next few months. 8.75/10

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