Calabash Signature Stew, jollof rice, and coconut desserts from Calabash Genuine. Suzette Smith

Tucked into the parking zone of a Sellwood self-service automobile wash sits a very scrumptious meals cart serving up dishes that draw from each West African and Southern cuisines. Calabash Genuine only in the near past opened this previous January, however phrase of their flavorful stews—lots of that are simply made vegan—hit my ears quickly after.

Can individuals really feel this strongly about stew? Sure, they will and, sure, they’re appropriate. There’s one thing additional particular about Calabash Genuine.

Madeleine and Julius Temple make up the mom/son group behind Calabash Genuine, however the household’s recipes replicate no less than three generations of simmering prowess. Madeleine and her grandmother Violet taught Julius to prepare dinner of their household kitchen. “All their mannerisms, I picked up,” Julius Temple says with a glow. “I wish to put my very own little aptitude on it, however I keep true to the household recipes.”

Temple recollects, after they all nonetheless lived within the West African nation of Sierra Leone, the best way the group confirmed up for his mom’s meals. “We had a giant yard, and all my mates, all my cousins, all my cousins mates, and all their mates got here to the home to eat.”

Madeleine Temple moved to Portland earlier than her son and shortly bought concerned within the space’s African group. “After they had African features—weddings, events—she would make them meals. Simply out of affection,” Julius Temple says. “It went from there to me saying ‘Mother, perhaps we must always mix our expertise and do that for actual.'”

What began as a catering firm ultimately branched out to the brand new little meals truck in Sellwood the place the Calabash Signature Stew tops a brief listing of menu gadgets. The Signature Stew is a thick, filling mélange of tomato, peppers, and a beneficiant amount of meat. It is savory, comforting, and seasoned with out being spicy. I heartily advocate the coconut or jollof rice, however even if you happen to go together with white, the stew’s wealthy taste is certain to steadiness it out.

On the weekends the cart typically tries out totally different specials. You may discover Egusi Soup with fufu—a puffy ball of dough that’s typically created from plantains or cassava. Fufu is cool since you tear off little sections and mildew them into bite-sized bowls for the soup so you may scoop it up and style each flavors collectively.

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A lot of the cart’s Southern strategy comes from Julius’ love for Southern cooking. They provide a formidable BBQ Favs Plate that comes with mac-n-cheese, collard greens, and a selection between pulled pork or ribs.

Calabash additionally makes their very own fizzy, nonalcoholic ginger beer and there is a likelihood of catching off-menu snacks displayed within the cart’s window. On a current journey, I scored three coconut desserts for $5. They had been completely crisp—probably just a little dry, however I ate them with alternating bites of stew so my style buds bounced between savory richness, and candy crunch.

Calabash Genuine, 8064 SE seventeenth, (503) 501-0448, calabashauthentic.com

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