You probably know Portland as the largest city in Oregon, where outdoor appreciation and eco-friendly spirit come together. Arts, music, and theater thrive in Portland, so there is creativity everywhere. What you may not know is that this creativity also extends to the foods in Portland.
With unique Pinot Noir wines from the famous Willamette Valley and craft beers to Vietnamese influences and culinary twists on classic dishes, Portland brings a special character to its cuisine.
With this in mind, there are plenty of famous foods in Portland to try. Keep reading to see what makes the Portland food scene so noteworthy for us!
What’s Special About Foods In Portland?
Since the city is known for its counterculture spirit, it’s not surprising that Portland food is known for its unique spin on classic dishes. The cuisine tends to bring artisanal flavors and local ingredients to humble dishes, like pizza and hot dogs, to make them one of a kind. You will never be bored with the variety of foods in Portland.
In addition to this, the Portland food scene benefits from the local ingredients in the greater Oregon area, such as the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Whether you’re a fan of wine or berry-packed desserts, foods from Portland make excellent use of the local ingredients in the area.
That said, there are lots of famous foods in Portland worth trying while you’re in the area!
Most Famous Portland Food
What food is Portland known for if not the funky yet delicious Voodoo doughnuts?
Among all the attractive foods in Portland, Voodoo Doughnut stands out for its quirky character and unique flavors. While you can find Voodoo Doughnut in different states around the United States now, this famous donut chain originated in Portland, Oregon.
You will be able to tell when you get near a Voodoo Doughnut location, from the delectable smells, but also the vibrant decor. There are classic options, like simple glazed donuts, but these are not the varieties people usually visit Voodoo Doughnuts for. Unique creations, like the Voodoo Doll doughnut (which even looks like a voodoo doll), are what Voodoo Doughnut is known for.
While Voodoo Doughnut shops are definitely one of the foods from Portland that attract tourists, you’ll also find plenty of locals there to enjoy a tasty treat!
If you need even more donuts in your life, consider a Portland donut tour! While Voodoo doughnuts are the most famous food in Portland, there are many other local donut joints worth a taste.
Popular Foods In Portland: Portland-Style Dishes
Among the foods in Portland, Portland-style pizza is one of the most recognizable. This famous Portland food is characterized by a thin, crispy crust with a slight chewiness. While that might sound like New York pizza, Portland-style pizza gets its unique twist from local, artisanal ingredients often incorporated.
While there are plenty of places you can enjoy a slice of this delish dish, Apizza Scholls is among the best.
Apizza Scholls utilizes a wood-burning oven to achieve a char on the pizza, in addition to the characteristic texture. With classic and unique flavor options, you can decide what kind of Portland food (and pizza) experience you want!
Portland-Style Hot Dogs
Portland-Style hot dogs take after other foods in Portland in that they feature unique ingredients. As you’ll know by now, Portland food is known for its unique and creative takes on the classics. The Portland hot dog is no different!
While an ordinary hot dog would feature ketchup, mustard, relish, and onions, the Portland-style hotdog often features pickled vegetables, artisanal condiments, and local sauces.
While you can grab this convenient snack food at many street carts, we suggest Franks A Lot in the Kerns neighborhood. If that isn’t enough for you, check out a Kerns neighborhood tour to get a full feel of the place!
>Check Portland Food Carts And Patio Tour
The last Portland-style dish to make the list is Portland-style Ramen, sometimes referred to as just “Portland Ramen.” Among the various noodle dishes, ramen has emerged for its distinctive style. Like other food in Portland, the dish is characterized by the emphasis on local ingredients and creative flavors.
Since ramen is a popular Portland food, you can grab a bowl in many restaurants. One of the best is Marukin Ramen in Buckman, which features house-made noodles and signature broths.
You can also take a Buckman neighborhood food tour if you want to make sure you don’t miss any of the flavors in this area!
Foods In Portland: Signature Ingredients
Oregon Dungeness Crab
One of the most special foods from Portland literally lives off the coast! Food travelers know Portland and the larger Pacific Northwest area for the delicious Dungeness crab, which can be found off the coast of the area. Since this crab is so emblematic of foods in Portland, you can find it featured in many seafood dishes around the city.
The Oregon Dungeness Crab has a subtle, sweet flavor unique among crabs. There is a preparation style for everyone, from simple half-crab with butter to California rolls. Be aware that Oregon Dungeness crab is seasonal, so if you want the best flavor of foods in Portland with this ingredient, aim to visit between December and August.
Oregon is known for being one of the largest producers of hazelnuts in all of the United States, so it’s not surprising they’re a key element of many foods in Portland. The Willamette Valley, where Portland is, has the best conditions for growing this food of Portland. The mild climate and fertile soil make for wonderful hazelnuts!
Because this Portland food is so high-quality, they feature in many dishes. From hazelnut tortes and pralines to hazelnut-crusted fish, there are so many foods in Portland that feature hazelnuts. If you want to get a closer look at the hazelnuts, you can take a tour of one of the orchards in Willamette Valley!
Foods In Portland: Notable Cultural Dishes
Bánh mì Sandwiches
Portland is known for its deep Vietnamese culture and population. As such, Bánh mì sandwiches which originated from the Asian country have become important among foods from Portland.
These sandwiches are made from short baguettes with a crisp, yet airy texture. The sandwiches then feature flavorful meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs.
Since this is now a staple in Portland cuisine, there are plenty of places to grab a tasty bánh mì sandwich. If you’re looking for a specific place, check out Binh Minh Sandwiches or Double Dragon! No matter where you go, we’re sure you can find a tasty version of this food from Portland.
Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (Pok Pok)
With the growing Vietnamese influence, Portland food also features Vietnamese fish sauce wings. They have a distinctive flavor profile, marinated with fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and other seasonings to make a sweet-savory glaze. Once they’re cooked in this sauce, the wings get a caramelized, sticky exterior, while keeping their tender center.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy this food of Portland, there is no better place than Pok Pok. This restaurant is known far beyond the Oregon food scene since it’s been featured on one of Guy Fieri’s shows. Try this delicious dish for yourself, when you visit the city!
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
This restaurant is undoubtedly a purveyor of famous Portland food and has an incredibly inspirational story. The founder, Nong Poonsukwaattana, started a Thai food cart as a new immigrant in Portland and grew it into a widely renowned restaurant. In the beginning, she only served Khao Man Gai.
This dish incorporates chicken, rice, and a delicious sauce made out of fermented soybeans, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and Thai Chiles. Although the food cart has been retired, you can try this famous food in Portland at two different restaurant locations.
Desserts And Sweet Foods In Portland
Marionberries are a feature among many foods in Portland. These berries, known as the “king of blackberries,” are only produced in Oregon and are classic in many Oregon foods. This makes them a staple in the state’s cooking, especially the pies, so be sure to check out this delicious berry.
If you’re looking for Marionberry pie, you will have plenty of options in Portland. You really can’t go wrong, but if you’re looking for a local favorite try The Pie Spot, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries, or the Pacific Pie Company. Make sure you don’t miss out on this famous food of Portland.
Blue Star Donuts
Donuts are undoubtedly among some of the most notable foods in Portland, so if your sweet tooth is partial to donuts, you must try Blue Star Donuts.
This is a popular donut spot in Portland, Oregon, due to its artisanal style, high-quality ingredients, and unique flavors. The shop uses brioche dough as the base, meaning they have a rich, buttery flavor and soft texture.
As mentioned, they also have a variety of gourmet flavors you won’t find in every donut shop! This means you can uncover something different, from Blueberry Bourbon Basil to Valrhona Chocolate Crunch. And if that isn’t enough, you can always check out a Portland Donut Tour to be certain you don’t miss any of the best of this famous Portland food.
Salt And Straw Ice Cream
Portland is known for its taste in ice cream, and Salt & Straw Ice Cream is definitely part of that legacy. This small-batch, chef-inspired ice cream shop dreams up unique flavors that bring local ingredients to life. Along with delicious classic flavors, this icon of Portland cuisine strengthens the deal by offering new flavors every month.
If you have an ice cream craving, this is definitely the place to go. As a forward-thinking city, Salt and Straw Ice Cream has something for everyone, in terms of flavors and many dietary restrictions. You’ll find vegan and gluten-free options for every palette!
Iconic Drinks Portland Is Known For
Craft Beers (Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter & Adam Beer)
Around the country, beer lovers flock to Portland to appreciate the craft beer which is considered a big part of Oregon and Portland cuisine.
Many famous breweries in the area were established in the 1980s and 1990s, so they have a rich history in the area. The cultural interest in brewing beer traces back to German immigrants in the 19th century.
While there are plenty of places you can go to appreciate this part of the Portland food and drink scene, there are a few that shouldn’t be missed. For an old ale-style brew, check out Hair of the Dog Brewing and their flagship beer, Adam. If you’d prefer something darker, head to Deschutes Brewing to grab a Black Butte Porter!
The same climate that makes the Willamette Valley great for hazelnut production makes it an ideal spot for growing grapes for Pinot Noir wines.
Winemakers in this area generally follow the inspiration of France’s Burgundy region, resulting in small-batch, low-intervention wines. This more natural approach fits well with Portland’s characteristics, as it is generally more sustainable.
There are many winemakers in the area, so you can find your favorite to complement the foods in Portland. If you’re a fan of wine, make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to take a wine tour in the area! It’s definitely worth it to taste the variety of Portland’s Pinot Noir wines!
>Check Willamette Valley Wine Tour
If you appreciate a nice cup of coffee, make sure that you check out Stumptown Coffee Roasters! This is a Portland classic because of its deep community commitment.
Stumptown Coffee has a strong emphasis on sourcing coffee beans directly from global farmers and maintaining direct relationships with those growers to ensure quality.
This quality stretches from the beans themselves through roasting and final presentation. With blends and single-origin coffees available, there is something for the casual coffee drinker and the coffee connoisseurs.
As you take a break from exploring the sights and landmarks in Oregon, find time to enjoy a nice cup of joe from quality coffee roasters in the state.
FAMOUS FOODS IN THE US
Sampling Famous Foods In Portland
With everything Portland is known for, the scrumptious foods on offer should be on your list of things to experience while you’re in the area.
Although Pinot Noir and Marionberry pie are well-known around the United States and the globe more broadly, there are plenty of other dishes in the Portland food scene to check out.
While some foods of Portland are twists on American classics, such as pizza and hot dogs, other influences have made it into Portland cuisine in recent years.
Vietnamese influences especially have left their mark on the Portland food scene. With its unique character (and flavor), you can really feel the city’s spirit in the dishes – make sure you don’t miss out!