You'd be forgiven for overlooking Noodle House. With the overwhelming array of eats served at the ever-expanding roster of carts parked at downtown Portland's 10th Avenue and Southwest Alder Street pod, sometimes it's just easier to grab some time-tested Sawasdee or Nong's grub and retreat. But you're a sucker if you miss out on Leung Kwun Hung's noodles, which live on the less trafficked north side of the lot. The new cart owner was a chef at Beaverton's Korean-Chinese hideaway Duh Kuh Bee, and less than a year after DKB's former owner, Frank Fong, opened Frank's Noodle House on the east side, another DKB alum has brought hand-pulled noodles to the downtown crowd—hearty, super-fresh strands as big in circumference as the chopsticks you'll use to shovel them into your mouth. There are no frills at this tiny cart. The noodle maestro and his gregarious wife give the goods a quick stir fry with big handfuls of tender (not rubbery) baby squid, shrimp, and calamari rings, along with some basil and spicy chili sauce. There's some cabbage and onion in there too for crunch, but that's it. That's all you need. You can also order the noodles with chicken or sometimes beef. One small gripe: The nose-clearing sauce is a bit one-note—but as Oregon prepares to go into the extended gloomy season these noodles are gonna be a comfort food godsend.
- Eat this: Thereâs teriyaki beef and solid pan-fried salmon, but the noodles are the star here. Get the Seafood Noodle ($7.50).
- Best deal: Tender pork dumplings ($5) and a can of Coke ($1).
EAT: Noodle House, Southwest 9th Avenue and Washington Street, 998-1019. 11 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday. $