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Jan 10, 2008 12:27 PM

Sudanese in Portland

I know that the Portland area has received the highest number of Sudanese immigrants in the country, and was wondering if any restuarants or groceries have since opened to serve the community. Although I can't say I know anything about the cuisine of Sudan, it doesn't mean I wouldn't want to go seek it out. Thanks!

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  1. Portland Food Map lists two African restaurants:

    and the African Grocery

    I'm not sure how much of a Sudanese influence is at these places, but it worth checking out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: maineFoodie

      One of the two, Asmara, is an Eritrean restaurant.

      1. re: anestes

        Speaking of which, I was just in there last night to pick up a menu while we waited for our Pom's Thai take-out. The aroma was delicious. We immediately felt we'd made a mistake and promise to return for dinner sometime soon. Asmara is cheerful, plays great music and gets consistently good reviews for their food. Paper take-out menus, BTW are not available.

        But on Sudanese: I have a hard time distinguishing between the tribes from different african nations who have settled here in Portland. And they don't give up much when asked. I happened on the halal place next to Binga's when they were opening up a couple months ago. They gave me a tour of their shelves (copious spices at rock-bottom prices) and said they'll be serving coffee and desserts eventually. Both the women and men engaged in conversation easily and smiles were everywhere.

        It was a far cry from the attitude I got from the place on St. John St where I was severely admonished by a customer for hanging around the counter talking to the proprietor while cash was transacted. Apparently, that is a private affair between customer and proprietor and I was unwittingly displaying bad taste by observing. I apologized if I offended anyone but that didn't seem to help - in fact things got worse. Did I show weakness by saying I'm sorry? This exploratory visit was obviously going nowhere so said good day and left. I heard a huge argument erupt as I walked out.

        The prejudices between peoples of different areas are really strong sometimes. Really strong and complex. That might explain the number of halal places that are sprouting in town - some Somalis, just for example, wouldn't even walk on the same side of the street as a certain Somali shopkeeper, so they open their own where "their people" can shop. This could be a simmering situation that many Portlanders are unaware of.

        I've seen the municipal effort, brochures and such, to acquaint the refugee settlement members to life in Portland - perhaps someone in the Somali/Sudanese/etc. communities could reciprocate? Maybe they have...