UPDATED – 4/7/2008 Stumptown Vegans has received a tip that the baos are no longer vegan. While the company’s website has not been updated, we are awaiting a response and will update.
Times Visited: 4
These is nothing exciting about Steamers Asian Street Bistro, but there are a couple nice things. They have a downtown and a Lloyd Center location, and offer some really cheap small items for a hungry vegans with only so much time on their hands.
This reviewer has only placed orders at the downtown location in the PacWest building. I like the contrast of the bustle of the area and the calm cafe, which I’ve never seen with more than 4 diners. The Lloyd Center location does not hold the same draw, but vegan options in a mall is cool.
It’s almost not the food, but the prices and quick ordering that call for my visits. There are two vegan baos (steamed buns) on the menu and I’ve tried them both. The curry vegetable one was over-steamed and gummy – and gummy can also be said about its filling. I ended up breaking off most of the dough to get to its center, and the vegetables themselves was basically a mushy, over spiced stir fry. Nothing like the bun fillings I’ve had elsewhere. I already found my mind wandering to the bigger and better buns at Van Hanh. One can only hope this was a bad day. The sweet azuki was much more palatable, and by that I mean bite-able. The filling was dark, gooey and appropriately sweet, but, forgettable. I still say, if you’re having a bun craving at the mall or downtown with $2 in your pocket, see if you like it.
A bag of steamed, lightly salted and peppered edamame is $1.99 and satisfies. The bag serves more than I can eat for lunch, and I enjoy that there’s both white and black pepper. A Sesame Ginger Tofu rice bowl ($5.39) is also available, and salad rolls with tofu ($1.49), though the sauce isn’t vegan so dip in soy sauce and Sriracha. It’s not the type of place I want a stir fry from, so no word on that from me. The only thing that’s not forgettable is the edamame, and that’s due to my soft spot for it. Their special dietary needs menu notes vegan items, and warn your vegetarian friends to read that link as well, as those options have mentions of fish and chicken!
Steamers gets credit for its assortment of decent teas ($1.49-$1.59), even though they refer to them as ‘enchanting’.
On one hand, everything is pretty sub par, on the other, it is cheap and convenient. There is an afternoon happy hour between 3-7pm, where you can grab $2 imported and local bottled beers and $1 baos. Personally, it amuses me to picture business people taking off their suit jackets and unwinding here. The saddest thing about steamers is not the fish sauce, or the mayo on the chopped salad, but the lack of vegan dumplings. A lunch of 4 vegan dumplings for $2.49? I wish.
Rating: 2 out of 5
504 SW Madison Street Portland, OR 97204
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday – Sunday: Closed
Food Court at the Lloyd Center mall
2308 Lloyd Center Portland, OR 97232
Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11am – 6 pm