If everything old is new again, then fermentation is cutting edge and we like to be on top of things, so we found the best fermented foods in Portland for you. Viewed early on as a natural way to counteract spoilage, humans soon began to manipulate and encourage the fermentation process to produce some of the world’s most delicious, nutrient-rich food and drink. We’ve explored Portland to find those who’ve put a modern spin on some ancient techniques, with everything from kimchi quesadillas to fermented pineapple water. And the results are surprisingly delicious. (Photo: Flickr user Yoppy)
Fermented Foods in Portland: White Rose Kombucha
Townshend’s Alberta Street Tea
2223 Ne Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
A giant among local brewers, this Alberta street teahouse serves kombucha on tap. Their White Rose version ferments kombucha, a mushroom-looking culture, with white peony tea, rosebuds and rose essence for a healthy, effervescent drink.
Fermented Foods in Portland: Kimchi Quesadilla
1300 NW Lovejoy St, Portland, OR 97209
Shuttled to popularity by Kogi, the now infamous Los Angeles taco truck, this Korean fusion dish stars kimchi, a spicy, fermented condiment of cabbage, chili, garlic, and salt, which is prepared by home cooks across Korea. Koi’s homemade version is grilled in a tortilla with mozzarella, jack cheese and your choice of Korean BBQ meat.
Fermented Foods in Portland: Natto
413 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Natto is quite a stretch. Even the most adventurous eaters may shy away from its stringy, slimy texture, but the Japanese swear by its health benefits and have been eating it for more than 1,000 years. To make what some refer to as a ‘vegetable cheese,? soybeans are fermented with a natto culture and left to sit for 24 to 48 hours. Served over a pile of hot rice with scallion and a quail egg, Tanuki’s version is sure to elicit strong reactions either way.
Fermented Foods in Portland: Beet Kvass
Salt Fire & Time
1902 NW 24th Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Kvass is a historic Russian peasant drink made by fermenting beets with water and salt for up to a week. Tressa Yellig at SFT ferments her kvass with whey to produce a lactic acid beverage that cleanses the blood. She sells jars of the ruby beverage for $6 and hints that it also might go well with a handful of juniper berries and a splash of good gin.
Fermented Foods in Portland: Tepache
La Calaca Comelona
2304 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214
This fermented pineapple water is hard to find outside of Central Mexico, where home cooks and street vendors double-ferment leftover rinds with water, sugar, cinnamon and cloves for up to five days to produce a fizzy fruity drink with light alcohol content.