Sook Thai Mobile Kitchen, a new food truck this year, parked at Austin Street Brewery in East Bayside. Photos by Leslie Bridgers

When we wrote about the new food trucks to look out for this summer, Sook Thai Mobile Kitchen was just getting up and running, and must have gone under our radar. So I was surprised to see it pop up on the Food Truckalico app that shows where in Portland food trucks are scheduled to appear.

Sook, it said, would be at Austin Street Brewery’s Fox Street location on the day after Labor Day, and making plans to have dinner there gave me something to look forward to as the long weekend wound down.

Sook’s menu is what I consider the ideal size for a food truck, with enough variety to satisfy different tastes and hunger levels but concise enough to make it easy to zero in quickly on what you want. There are some Thai standards like pad Thai, krapow or fried rice with a choice of protein ($13-$16), as well as some unexpected options such as crispy chicken sandwiches ($12, with potato chips) and bacon tempura ($9). Drinks include Thai lemon iced tea ($4) and four flavors of milkshakes ($7).

The day I visited, there was a special stewed beef chunk krapow with fried egg and rice for $20, which its stand-alone chalkboard sign advertised as “highly recommended” and “limited.” My dinner date was tempted, but landed on the krapow with crispy chicken, which was denoted as the recommended protein. I went ultra basic with chicken pad Thai.

The very nice person at the window, who apologized for keeping it closed until we ordered to keep out the heat (very understandable on that 90ish degree day), asked if we wanted to add spice to either dish, on a scale of 1-5. The krapow already starts at a 2, he said, while the pad Thai is a 0. We both opted to level up one step.

As soon as I turned around with my buzzer to go find a seat, I turned back asking if I should pay later, forgetting I already had handed him my debit card, which he swiped. It didn’t register in my mind, because he never flipped the screen around for that awkward moment when you have to choose a tip option in front of the counter person. And this time, when I really wanted to give a tip, I couldn’t because I didn’t have cash for the tip bucket, either. No matter how the food was, I decided I’d have to return to make up for it. Funny how a few years ago I might have been annoyed by the tip screen.

Pad Thai with chicken from Sook Thai Mobile Kitchen.

The pad Thai looked soupy when it came out, but I think it was just a result of the size of the paper plate, which was too big even for the generous portion. The noodles were thin and not too mushy or chewy, the flavor on the sweet side but not overly so, and the spice level – which I worried would barely be detectable – was plenty for my taste (though sweat-inducing in the already sweltering heat). I liked that there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of sprouts, scallions or crushed peanuts, just enough to complement the noodles and meat.

The krapow also satisfied, and I can second the crispy chicken recommendation. With those tried-and-tested options and the other menu items that made my short list, I’ll happily return with cash in hand.

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