427 SW Stark St., 270-9258, chezdodopdx.net. Lunch Monday-Friday.
Shyam Dausoa runs a travel kiosk for a place you'll probably never visit: the impossibly scenic Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, erstwhile home of the extinct dodo bird. The food he offers is unique—and not just in Portland. This is the only Mauritian food cart in the U.S., and operates as a sort of culinary embassy, with huge, potato-stuffed samosas functioning as the diplomats. Yet the cuisine isn't wholly unfamiliar. The curries atop rice noodles recall yakisoba bento boxes, yet more delicate—and are spiked with a cilantro chutney that Dausoa rightly guarantees is the stuff of addictions. Meats vary, and aren't limited to the native fauna of Mauritius: A recent afternoon saw Dausoa serving elk atop the noodles. It was delicious, and made me wonder what Dodo might have made of a dodo.