Boke Bowl

Not sure how I hadn’t heard of this place before– It really should’ve been on The List!

Even with my intense love of steamed buns I’d never imagined there would be a place devoted to just that… and noodles, and rice bowls, {love triangle}. This is my kind of place, basically a candy store AZN style– Usually the steam bun is an appetizer at Asian fusion-y type restaurants which I have to try everywhere I see it–(Star Noodle/Departures/Sok Sab Bai) this was great and overwhelming in the best way.


Pear-Ginger Margarita


Fried Chicken Bun



Pork Bun


Seasonal special ^
Tofu, avocado, corn/bean succotash, fried cilantro on top

The outside white bun was puffy and soft as is always desirable with steamed buns. I was also delighted with the meat to bread ratio, a lot of great and colorful tasty fresh fillings. The cilantro in this bun was probably the best cilantro I’ve ever had: this is saying a lot considering I really don’t care for its main usage in vietnamese and mexican cuisine. I think it overpowers everything else. I am one of those people that needs to have a little bit of everything in one bite. This delivered that experience in the most satisfying way, especially with the last set. The soft chew of the bun, then crunch on the outside of the fried chicken, heat from the sauce, with a cool cucumber on top— all great textures and flavors together. Hoping I’ll get to have more of these before they are gone!


Beef Brisket Bun


Seafood ramen bowl. Interesting. Shrimp, bamboo shoots, rice balls, green onion, baby bok choi, nori, and corn. The broth wasn’t terrible, not flavorful enough for my MSG trained tongue, and also kind of funky. I grew up eating bamboo shoots, so I know it wasn’t that. It was a pretty basic shoyu broth base with seafood, maybe fish sauce added to it.


The Pork ramen bowl was not fishy at all (thank goodness), again with the simple shoyu base and pork broth. Toppings, not bad at all, but not terribly exciting. The rice balls in the previous bowl were my favorite thing. I ended up not even drinking the broth and putting shoyu, chili, and sesame seeds on the noodles and ate it like dry mein. Delicious but I have yet to find a great ramen in Portland. Let the search continue!

PS– Also need to go back to try that PB & J bun…


1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 719-5698

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36. HK Cafe

HK Cafe — 3rd times a charm!
Lunchtime: Asian invasion aka grab a number and wait…
Should’ve worn the face masks, hope not to get SARS.
“Best Dim Sum in Portland”


The usual suspects.


Right to left: Pork shumai, Veggie/shrimp shumai, Ha gow (shrimp dim sum), cabbage wrapped dumpling, (“donuts” top left corner)


Spare ribs and squash. Not the best cut of meat by any means, some extra fatty bits but super savory with its black bean gravy. The squash was extra tasty from sitting in the broth.


Bao: BBQ pork (char siu). Good fun to eat. I’ll explain– the sweet stickiness on the outside of the bun, grabs onto your lips/fingers. The inside, once you get to it, is a relief of pretty standard BBQ pork mixture. Yum… also able to pick one of these up with chopsticks and take a huge bite that way. Just great textures and the sheen on the tops of the buns was mesmerizing. I’m now disturbed by the way I’m describing food…


My favorite … the thickkkkkkkkkk rice noodle wrapper on this thing = texturally everything I ever wanted. Inside, some veggies– might’ve been baby bok choy leaves with shrimp. Thick and chewy to bite into, balance of meat to outside proportions. Would get two of these plates next time.


“Sweet! Egg yolk!” said the cart lady. This passed me by once… but I was not going to leave without giving it a try. I vaguely remember Vien telling me that it was “gooooooooooooood”.


Dessert: Egg yolk steam bun with sugar crust and butter/yolk innards. Crack! The cart lady had passed once or twice and each time I stared at the sweet egg yolk bun. At first it looked like I had more than enough food (it was just the right amount)… but my curiosity could not let this one go. I spotted cart lady again but she was in the middle of a busy floor making her rounds, so I walked up with my ticket and got them. They had been sitting right above the burner, and the aroma reminded me of walking into Homemaid Bakery, and smelling fresh malasadas. The look reminded me of those breads from a Mexican Paneria with the colored hardened shell of sugar on top– I expected a custard inside, but instead there was liquid gold. Some kind of sweet butter and egg yolk magic filling. OH SO GOOD!


Seconds? Thirds? So many things left to try! I really enjoyed all of my plates, minus the “donuts” and would order all them again.

Also, the price: all of this food added up to only $22– Not bad at all for the experience, variety, and quality!



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