Restaurant Guide 2013: Pure Spice

2446 SE 87th Ave., 772-1808,

[YOU'RE SURE] From the street, Pure Spice looks like a Chinatown meat shop duct-taped into an outer Southeast Portland strip mall. That impression doesn't immediately change upon entering, as you're greeted by two skinned ducks and a pig's ass hanging from metal hooks next to the door. You might also want to keep Google Translate handy on your phone, as the only thing the waitress seemed to know in English was "are you sure?" when I ordered something off the specials menu. (Yes, you're sure.) Pure Spice manages to make some of the best chicken fried rice ($8) I've ever had, seemingly without any grease at all. Portions are gigantic, and succulent pork proves the pig at the door didn't die in vain. Fill up on free tea but skip the fortune cookie: they're always stale, probably because they're totally unfamiliar to the Chinese.

Ideal Meal: Skip immediately to the specials section of the menu and order the Peking shredded pork with buns ($11). They're like dumplings that you get to stuff yourself.

Best Deal: The pumpkin pancake ($4). An order includes six small but deliciously filling pumpkin pancakes. You could make a meal of them alone.

Pro Tip: Lo mein seems like a boring choice but here the noodles are very thin, very crisp and very, very delicious. Plan to split a large and filling portion.

9:30 am-10 pm daily. $$.


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