… shaking it off… and heading out in search of balance…

well, i’m starting with a confession (which seems like it could become a trend)… i was supposed to attend a networking event tonight, but after having this kind of day:


i decided, for my sanity, to skip the networking, in favor of this:

(happy hour size avocado and mango stack salad… minus the fried won tons, which i set aside)

and… one of my best friends…

(i didn’t take this photo, but it was too dark at henry’s to get a good photo of my actual best friend… so i figured this stand in would do the trick)

anyway, since i started this bloggy chapter of my life, i’ve been thinking a lot about BALANCE, what it really means for me, and how best to achieve it in different parts of life.

so the other day i was thinking about portland. i looooove this city! i love the people. i love the culture. i caught myself starting to think that i was going to “miss out” on so much b/c i need to be on a diet, and i need to be strict, and i need to do this and that.

wait wait wait… is that really BALANCE??

so i challenged myself… find a way to take an aspect of portland culture and BALANCE it for myself.

one thing that came to mind is the food cart scene. it’s HUGE in portland. carts line various streets in different neighborhoods of portland, serving foods from all around the world. one strip of carts is right outside my building…


now i’m not going to pretend like i have not given my share of money to this portland foodie paradise, and maybe it would be best for me to give up the scene altogether… just say peace out! but, actually, i don’t think that’s the best way to achieve balance.

now, some things about the carts, i think everyone could live without:

CAUTION, extremely unhealthy food photo approaching…


ok seriously… a huge burger with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns???

or this place:


“side cart” was born, i believe, as a companion to its neighbor “brunch box” (which serves the burger above) b/c brunch box was churning out grease a plenty, but did not have a FRYER. the nerve of them! so side cart’s menu consists of all the fryer required side item like mac n cheese bites, tots, fried okra etc…

ok you get the point.

so i got to thinking about it, and i decided that my interest in the portland food cart scene was likely more about wanting to give myself the freedom to experience an aspect of portland culture, and less about wanting to eat something that isn’t good for me. i came to the conclusion that if my ultimate goal is a life of balance, then rather than just saying, “food carts are bad and must be punished,” i should turn my interest in the culture toward finding healthy options, and carts practicing sustainability etc.

once my mind was made up, i decided to do some research… within minutes i had a hit and a destination!

so, finally (you probably thought i’d never get to the point),

here’s the skinny on my newest portland food cart find, perfect for living a life in balance!!


this woman rocks! she basically serves ONE dish, based on the common street food of bangkok, “khao man gai”

it’s chicken and rice with her special sauce, and a side of a very light broth/soup. her little handwritten menu even tells you all the ingredients she has used to cook up her little bundle of heaven (in short, the worst thing is that she uses some sugar when she boils her chicken)

i say “bundle” b/c, this is how you receive your khao man gai…


isn’t it just adorable???

once you unwrap the little bundle…


you see that little cup of sauce? oh, you can’t really get a good shot? let me help you…


the sauce, oh nong how i love your sauce… sweet chili, garlic, ginger (lots of ginger)… word on the street is that she could retire if she would bottle this sauce. i must say, SO TRUE!

so after sampling the sauce, i knew there was only one thing left to do…


dump the sauce and chow!

there’s one thing you could argue is lacking from this dish but it’s NOT taste! nong is a genius of simplicity. the chicken and rice with the sauce and cilantro is simple, but so full of flavor and scrumptiousness!! for a balanced meal it could use more veggies, but hey, i wouldn’t kick khao man gai out of bed for eating crackers being light on ruffage!

so while at first i thought i had to say goodbye… instead i say, KHAO MAN GAI


Comments on: "don’t say goodbye… say khao man gai!" (7)

  1. Apparently there is a vegan food cart that is barbecue, but it’s all tempeh and seitan and tofu. I want, no, NEED to find it!!!

  2. […] reviewed an aspect of portland culture -here-, and had so much fun with it that i wanted to do it […]

  3. Hi! Thanks for mentioning us. To be honest, we try to eat healthy ourselves–our food is an indulgence, even for us. However, especially side cart does have some healthier options (like steamed veggies). Brunch Box has garden burgers, too. Also, we do recycle, try to use organic/local products when possible, donate our fryer oil to converted cars, and use food scraps for compost.
    Good call on Nong’s! S’yum.

    • susan said:

      well thanks for visiting my page!
      your food tastes great and you have many fans in my office (particularly of the breakfast sandwiches, your homemade english muffins are killer)… but for ME… i haven’t been leading a healthy life, and need to make serious changes!
      i applaud you for your sustainable practices!!! i will definitely spread that word around my office.

      when i get to a healthy weight and balance in my life… i might be back for a breakfast sandwich =)

  4. […] today was Nong’s Khao Man Gai (b/c my friend at work has been begging me to take her so she can try it)… holy moly this […]

  5. […] was nutso, so by the time i escaped to make the trek to khao man gai, i had no idea where my phone was, and never took a photo… but you can read all about nong […]

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