You probably wouldn't expect to find chow mein on the menu at Portland's only Guyanese food cart. But then, given the rarity of the cuisine at Bake on the Run, just about everything is unexpected.
Mother-son duo Bibi and Michael Singh recently opened the cart in the Piknik Park pod in Sellwood to educate Portland about the culinary heritage of the small South American country. Bordered by Brazil to the south and Venezuela to the west, Guyana also has historical ties to China—hence Bibi's Chow Mein, with noodles marinated in teriyaki and soy sauce, with vegetables and chicken.
That unique cross-cultural exchange is exemplified all across the menu. The titular bake is a soft, fried, semi-sweet puff bread that came to Guyana by way of Trinidad and Barbados. Traditionally halved, and stuffed with all things spicy and sweet, the bake is the main vehicle for the cart's standout dish, bake with egg and bacalhau, a hash of scrambled eggs, minced Portuguese salted cod, scallions, onions and tomatoes. Think of it as a homemade Hot Pocket. It's an addictively savory snack that's versatile enough to eat for brunch or dinner.
For the vegetable-inclined, try the bake with chana aloo, a warm, chickpea and potato curry, or a cup of Jai's Dahl, a soup made from tender lentils and beans. Both are spiced with imported curry chili powder, which reached Guyana by way of India, and can be alternatively served over a bowl of rice.
Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? Sweet bakes are stuffed with Nutella, blackberry jam or a mix of the two. Or for a perfectly poppable, doughnut-hole-like option, try the "bake bombs," decadently stuffed with chocolate truffles and finished with a light dust of confectioner's sugar. Wash it all down with a cup of imported Guyanese soda or coffee.
Overall, the Bake on the Run menu is authentically representative of the globalized nation. There's little else like it in Portland—and possibly in the entire state.
EAT: Bake on the Run, 1122 SE Tacoma St., 503-877-8602. 11 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.