Steamers Asian Street Bistro

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.

Sweet Azuki Bean and Curry Vegetables Baos
end feb 08 021

Rating: 2 out of 5

Address:
PacWest location
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

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12 responses to “Steamers Asian Street Bistro

  1. i’ve gone to the Lloyd Center several times. there’s just something about Dr. Pepper and a curry bao that makes me happy. yeah, the bao isn’t awesome, but i’ve never had one from Van Hanh :o)

  2. I worked in the Wells Fargo building when Steamers was coming up, I had intended to eat there then, but never got around to it. Your pictures look tasty but I probably won’t make the journey over there unless I run out of other downtown options.

  3. Good to know about Lloyd Center! I guess I haven’t been there in awhile (whew!) I remember thinking my only option was the Indian place.

    When you mentioned Srichi, do you mean Sriracha aka Rooster Sauce? Or is there a hot sauce I’m missing out on?!?

  4. FYI: the bao are no longer vegan. The flour contains egg. The only vegan options are tofu salad rolls and edamame. I heard they are working on a new curry bao, which will soon be vegan.

  5. Pingback: A: Let’s go to the mall! « Care to Eat·

  6. I ask at the downtown location every so often, and they always tell me that the sweet azuki bao is vegan.

    I do wish they had vegan dumplings…

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