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4 Ways to Bring Some Portland Into Your Kitchen

While residents have long known of Portland, Oregon's many unique charms, more and more people are heeding the call of the City of Roses thanks to the popular comedy show, Portlandia. Topping the list of things that make Portland...

While residents have long known of Portland, Oregon's many unique charms, more and more people are heeding the call of the City of Roses thanks to the popular comedy show, Portlandia. Topping the list of things that make Portland a stand-out city? Its hipster culture, "Keep Portland Weird" motto, and fearless foodies. Let's count down four food trends which originated in Portland and have since taken off throughout the country.

1. Tasty Thai

While Americans may have a long-time love affair with Chinese and Japanese cuisine, the rise of Thai food beyond the standard pad Thai dish is widely credited to Andy Ricker, a Portland-based chef. While his cuisine has since been exported to New York and LA, it all started with Pok Pok, a perennial favorite on "Best Eats" lists for everything from its fish-sauce wings and housemade drinking vinegars. If a Thai restaurant menu holds a central spot in your take-out food menu drawer, you may have Chef Ricker -- and his Portland Thai food empire -- to thank.

Feel inspired to do some Thai cooking of your own? Get a head start with authentic spices like ground galangal, premium chili powder, and whole Kaffir lime leaves.

2. Divine Donuts

While bacon maple flavor may be omnipresent these days, the world might still be going without if not for Portland's Voodoo Doughnut and its ultimate guilty pleasure, the Bacon Maple Bar. Just how good is this maple-glazed, bacon-loaded delicacy? There's an around-the-clock line out the door of this 24-hour establishment. Not to mention that many a Portland hipster wedding has taken place here thanks to not one but five wedding packages. Other popular picks include the Mango Tango, Grape Ape, Marshall Mathers, and the luscious Diablos Rex.

Has Portland's Zagat-described "pervasive donut culture" caught on in your kitchen? If so, everything from donut cutters to deep fryers can help you pull of your own creative confections.

Portland
Portland was an early adopter on the food truck scene.

 

3. The Craft Coffee Craze

While Starbucks may have made its start in Seattle, Portland lays claim to inventing true coffee culture in which people don't just care about getting their fix, but also about quality -- including everything from where it's sourced to how it's roasted to which serving vessel is used. At the heart of the movement? Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which now has roasting outposts now in Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles.

4. Gourmet Salt

Still think all salt is created equally? Don't speak those words aloud in Portland -- largely regarded as the birthplace of the artisanal salt movement in the US thanks to The Meadow, home to 110 different sea salts and quarried salts from over 26 different countries and cultivated by world-wide salt aficionado Mark Bitterman. Staff favorites include Black Truffle Italian Sea Salt, Molokai Red - Hawaiian Sea Salt, and Scorpion Salt, made with Moruga Scorpion powder from the world's hottest chile peppers. And don't forget: gourmet salt deserves a gourmet salt keeper.

Portland
A vessel worthy of Portland's finest artisanal salt.

 

While Portland may be best known for its seafood and food trucks, the city's culinary scene is so much more than that. Whether you regularly indulge in these trends or try them in the future, you have Portland -- in all its weird wonderful glory -- to thank. Meanwhile, home cooks interested in incorporating a little Portland into their own culinary repertoires will find everything they need to outfit their kitchens at Cilantro The Cooks Shop.