Updated: Just got the chance to go back and try their weekend dim sum brunch menu + cart service. Added a few new photos to this post!
One of my new favourite places for ramen is most definitely over at Boke Bowl.
If you’re planning a trip out to Portland, Oregon – you have to bookmark this place on your list of places to visit. The noodles here are the standout star for me. Incredibly chewy with a nice thickness to it – soaking in a slow-simmered pork broth.
Boke Bowl also does a weekend dim sum menu that features two carts – a tall steam cart and one for fried food. It’s perfect because you can just point and choose at what you want as their take on dim sum is modern and unique. It was really neat to try a twist on all the dim sum dishes I’ve been eating all these years. Here’s what we ordered:
We started off with the Siu Mai dim sum appetizer that were meaty little bites full of pork and shrimp. Boke Bowl does dim sum menu on the weekends from 11 AM – 3 PM at their westside location. However, the siu mai is always available.
To cool off between bites of ramen, we opted for the pickled cucumbers which paired nicely with our hot noodle bowls.
Here’s a look at what we got off the steam cart including their version of har gow, a pork and shrimp siu mai, oxtail soup dumplings and smokey-flavoured steamed pork buns with kimchi jam.
Oxtail Soup Dumplings
I have to give a special shout out to these oxtail soup dumplings. They tasted like a brisket in a dumpling. Not a lot of soup mind you, but definitely a highlight for me with a nice chewy wrapper.
Here’s a look at all the things on the steam cart. We stuck with the more traditional fare for our first visit – but if you’re vegetarian make sure you try the Eggplant Sticky Rice. This was the first time having a non-meat sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf for me and it was delicious with big meaty chunks of eggplant.
This is one of my all-time favourite dim sum desserts. I love the chewy texture of these sesame balls at Boke Bowl, they were small and you could eat it in 2-3 bites. My only feedback would be for them to add a bit more bean paste filling as the ratio was a little off for me.
Mushroom Rice Rolls
I want to give Boke Bowl full props for their vegetarian-friendly dim sum menu. I like the modern twist on traditional dim sum and the mushroom rice rolls were on point. Sauteed mushrooms are wrapped in a rice roll and then showered in a sweet soy sauce with fresh scallions on top. Would definitely get this again.
Our version came with ham, but they have a vegetarian version as well. The turnip cake was a little too well-done for my liking. This dish was probably my least favourite of the brunch.
Chicken + Waffles
Boke Bowl fried chicken is pretty much the bomb. They’ve perfected it. You can get at brunch over a chewy gluten-free ‘waffle’ with a sweet syrupy sauce on top.
You can also get a taste of their fried chicken as a side garnish on their spicy Bloody Mary!
Pork Dashi Ramen
Paul and I ended up ordering the same bowl – The Pork Dashi Ramen topped with slow smoked pulled pork. The pork was so incredibly tender and the broth was complex without being a huge sodium bomb on your system. I ate this bowl and didn’t fall asleep! But seriously, these are some of the BEST ramen noodles in terms of texture and taste – that I’ve ever had.
My Boke Bowl was finished off with a poached egg, snow peas, a small piece of Chinese broccoli and a sprinkle of green onion. I can’t make this stuff at home and not for $11 – no less. Luckily, Boke Bowl is in walking distance of my house which is terrific and dangerous at the same time.
Boke Bowl is quick-serve, meaning you order at the counter, are given a number and the food will come out to you when it’s ready at your chosen seat. I love this because it’s super-efficient, there’s never a crazy wait and it’s just easy and casual for a quick lunch or dinner. Boke Bowl is also fairly inexpensive compared to a big blowout dinner.
Dim Sum ranges from $4.25 for a small dish, $5.00 for a medium or $5.75 for a large – it’s definitely worthwhile to come with a group so you can try everything. Do keep in mind that most dumplings comes in threes and everything else is pretty easy to split.
Boke Bowl started off as a local monthly pop-up in 2010 and it’s so fantastic to see it grow to two locations in the city. They opened their first shop after just one year of pop-ups. I was first introduced to them at the Portland Night Market where they were selling their Fried Chicken Buns. After that taste of perfection, I knew I had to seek out their ramen shop. I definitely recommenc checking Boke Bowl out next time you’re in the city!
1200 NW 18th Ave. Portland, OR + 1028 SE Water St. Portland, OR