Portland Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Comfort Foods

From Yucatan pork stew to toffee sauce-smothered date cake, here's what the local pros crave.

Edited by Kelly Clarke January 25, 2016 Published in the February 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

0216 so kon dong seafood hot pot mrkcal

So Kong Dong Barbecue and Tofu's tofu seafood hot pot.

Som law, or sour Cambodian soups, at Mekong Bistro on 82nd Avenue. The soups are the epitome of comfort food: big bowls of rich, herbaceous broths loaded with bits of slow-cooked meat. You can tell there’s a grandma in the kitchen. And that’s the definition of comfort, getting Grandma’s healing love in a bowl of soup.” —Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Takeout from Alberta’s European café Swiss Hibiscus. The food is comforting and rich, and the staff are the nicest people. The rosti are pretty much the best hash browns ever, and I really like their goulash—excellent seasoning, the pork is cooked perfectly, and they cut the dish’s richness with sauerkraut.” —Troy MacLarty, Bollywood Theater

When it feels like a cold, wet blanket outside I want warmth inside; I want Angel Food & Fun’s cochinita pibil. It’s a slow-cooked Yucatan pork stew with lots of rich, fatty meat and nice pickled onions on top. The flavor-per-stew-droplet ratio is so goddamn high it’s like a sleeping bag of porky goodness.” —Mike Thelin, Feast Portland cofounder and self-declared “pork fat impresario”

A big, warm square of Liberty Glass’s super-moist date cake. The bar serves it in a blue tin camping bowl, smothered in a sea of gooey toffee sauce and topped with a massive dollop of fresh whipped cream. Everything melts together sweet-salt-creamy-dreamy—it’s magic in your mouth.” —Kir Jensen, pastry chef at large

When I wanna warm up I go to So Kong Dong Barbecue and Tofu for tofu seafood hot pot. It’s a bubbling cauldron of spicy, meaty broth packed with a bunch of seafood—clams, shrimp, everything—served with a clay pot of crispy rice. It’s so f*cking good. I want a bowl right now.” —Carlo Lamagna, Clyde Common

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