Portland is pretty well known for its food trucks, and rightly so. You can get all kinds of sublime, ridiculous, delicious, undefinable, and amazingly desirable food from food trucks in and around Portland. It’s not just a thing, it’s a thing of beauty.
One of the really good ones that is, in my mind, a mandatory visit is Hapa PDX. As you’ll see on their website, Hapa PDX is all about a fusion of food cultures:
Hapa [hä’pä] //; Hawaiian adj; of mixed decent or heritage usually Asian and Caucasian
“Hapa” describes the fusion of Japanese cooking techniques and Hawaiian recipes used to make our ramen dishes. Our ramen broth is a delicate balance of flavors created by using the chicken, pork and fish.
It’s not a surprising approach: many of the food carts in Portland (and indeed probably everywhere) are based on the fusion concept, such as Koi Fusion’s blend of Korean and Mexican food. But it works very well, regardless of novelty, and the resulting food is delicious.
I’m always up for a good bowl of Ramen. We ate a lot of the stuff in my time in Japan, and I probably don’t eat enough of it now. But I am picky about my Japanese food. So much of what tries to pass as authentic in the U.S. is terrible, and clearly imposter level material. The Ramen at Hapa PDX tastes right, even while adding its own uniqueness to the mix.
For example, my favorite is the karaage curry ramen. Karaage is a Japanese crispy boneless fried chicken. I don’t recall having ever seen ramen with either karage or curry flavor in Japan. It’s possible I just never stumbled across it, but I think it’s really because it is a Hapa PDX idea. Whatever. All I know is that I want more, the sooner the better.
Hapa PDX now serves traditional Japanese style Shoyu Ramen as well. I will eat you, honorable Shoyu Ramen of Hapa PDX. That is a promise.
But don’t let the fact that I tend to keep going back to my favorites when I repeat eat at restaurants limit your own imaginations. Hapa PDX has even more on its menu.
Get there, get fed, and be a better person for it. I feel like I am.