Tasty Tuesday : Polli Tico

Polli Tico Logo

Dedication to one’s craft is a key ingredient for those who are providing food through their food cart. With competition from many other food carts in PDX, excellence in craft is a main requirement for long-term survival. At Polli Tico, their dedication to serving exceptional food is evidenced by the fact that they got their rotisserie oven from Lima, Peru.

Polli Tico chicken sandwich

Two brothers from Costa Rica, who grew up in Washington, D.C., started a food cart in Portland, OR, selling Peruvian-style chicken so they could have the “pollos a la brasa” (charbroiled chicken) they so fondly remembered from their childhood. The only problem was that they needed just the right oven.

The name Polli Tico comes from a combination of two words that refer to chicken and ethnic heritage. Polli (pronounced: poy-yee) is the first part of the word ‘pollito’ (Spanish for little chicken), combined with ‘tico’ (pronounced; tee-co), a familial term for folks who hail from Costa Rica.

Polli Tico chicken on the rotisserie

Now about that rotisserie oven that hails from Lima, Peru. Wanting to give their customers the most authentic Peruvian-style chicken in Portland, Polli Tico searched all over the U.S. and still could not find the proper oven. Needing a commercial-sized, charcoal-burning, rotisserie oven, Polli Tico had one made in Lima and shipped to Portland. That’s dedication.

The oven is capable of cooking 30 whole chickens at once. Chickens that have marinated for two days in a special blend of 18 herbs and spices. One unique thing about Polli Tico is that you can order one of their chickens whole. If that seems a bit too much, you can also order a half a chicken or a quarter chicken.

Polli Tico chicken quarter with the wonderful, yummy sauces

If you’d prefer to consume your chicken is more civilized fashion, (as opposed to tearing your chicken apart like a ravenous carnivore), Polli Tico has what you need on their menu. One of the more popular dishes is the Pollo Bowl which comes with sliced chicken, rice, beans, a spring mix of greens, tomatoes, cilantro, yellow sauce or sour cream served in a bowl.

Wraps and sandwiches are also available and vegetarian options are included. For a side dish you can get fries, yucca fries, plantains, rice and beans, tortillas, and cole slaw.

Polli Tico chicken salad with the wonderful, yummy sauces

And now we must mention the sauces. Wonderful, lovely, yummy sauces. The first is a traditional Peruvian aji sauce made with a pepper imported from Peru and other secret ingredients (really, they wouldn’t tell us). The second sauce is the green sauce. This Peruvian sauce is made with jalapeño, cilantro, and Peruvian spices. The green sauce is so good you’re gonna wanna swim in it.

Polli Tico has recently relocated to the Piknik Park food cart pod located at 1122 SE Tacoma in the Sellwood district. Hours are typically 11 am till 8 pm. Be sure to check Twitter (@PolliTicoPDX) and Facebook for the latest information on their hours.

Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Pollo Tico about Peruvian-style chicken and that amazing coal-fired rotisserie oven that came all the way from Peru.

Ken Wilson
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