Jack and Will opened their food cart in late August, focusing on Japanese street food like takoyaki, taiyaki, and bubble tea. The name "Buki" is a portmanteau of bubble tea and takoyaki/taiyaki. "Buki" also means "uber cool' and "soulful." The panda learned something today!
Buki's hours are shown below. It's generally a lunch and dinner spot.
There is also Taiwanese root beer here. It's not as strong a root beer flavor as the North American stuff. Mostly cola, but you'll still get that root beer experience.
During the Tidbit grand opening on September 13, there wasn't any takoyaki available, so instead, some steamed octopus, bara-sashimi style. Served with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger. The steamed octopus is chilled when served.
Nice job on the octopus, and I liked it even more with the wasabi/soy sauce. Frankly, I'm simply not a pickled ginger fan (just too bitter for me), but that's really an acquired taste.
Next up, the taiyaki ($3.50), traditionally with red bean paste inside. Yes, it's basically a stuffed waffle that looks like a fish. Two pieces per serving, and best eaten while still piping hot.
|Red bean paste inside taiyaki|
This too is a winner. I noticed that there are a couple of Americanized options (i.e. chocolate). Smart move here, as that provides a wider appeal range for people to stop by.
Tea eggs in Portland?! You better believe it. Basically hard-boiled eggs that are slow-cooked/marinated in tea and other Asian spices. During the process, the egg shell here is cracked, making a stunning spider web-like design when the egg is fully released from the shell.
If you like intense black tea flavor, this is for you. Otherwise, I would recommend an optional sauce that can cut down some of the strong flavors you'll get here.
Finally, I went with the traditional takoyaki ($7), basically balls of batter cooked in a special takoyaki pan and filled with octopus. Keeping it traditional, Jack and Will opt to put a little pickled ginger with each octopus ball. You'll get about 7-8 takoyaki per order, topped generously with takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, bonito flakes, and seaweed.
|Octopus inside the takoyaki!|
This is legit takoyaki. Extremely flavorful and worth stopping for. Although it's customary in Japan to have a generous amount of sauce and toppings on the takoyaki, I don't think they need to do that here. For me, too much toppings and sauce can take away from the octopus experience. Considering it's quality octopus, I think it would be a shame to have other flavors upstage it.
I understand it's early in their food cart life, but you may be waiting a while for your food at this cart. They may need to get a few more takoyaki pans going if they want to pump out a ton of orders and get more sales. It pains me to see a cart with great food lose potential customers due to a long wait time. To be fair, long wait times even occur at some of the most popular carts in the city. Frankly, in my opinion, the wait time is the only thing preventing it from being an elite food cart.
To my knowledge, no one else in Portland serves Japanese and Taiwanese street food like Buki does. This further shows the wide array of cuisine one can find in PDX. 8/10