Most Beautiful Mosques of the World
Islam and Islamic countries
Islam in Europe
Many of the countries of SE Asia are Muslim, or have substantial Muslim as well as Buddhist populations
Masjed As-Saber, largest Mosque in Portland--10323 SW 43rd Ave, Portland, OR 97219Arab American Community
Holidays of the Islamic year, beginning with the Muslim New Year 2023
Wednesday Jul 19, 2023 Hijra - Islamic New Year
Friday Jul 28, 2023 Day of Ashura / Muharram. Sunni Muslims celebrate the parting of the Red Sea via Moses.
Monday Oct 09, 2023 Milad un Nabi. Birthday of The Prophet.
Wednesday Feb 07, 2024 Lailat al Miraj. The Prophets night journey to Jerusalem, command to pray 5x daily.
Sunday Feb 25, 2024 Lailat al Bara'ah. Prayers for forgiveness before Ramadan.
Monday Mar 11, 2024 Ramadan (start). Fast daily for a month during daylight hours.
Saturday Apr 06, 2024 Laylat al Qadr. Quran/Koran revealed to Muhammed.
Wednesday Apr 10, 2024 Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Saturday Jun 15, 2024 Waqf al Arafa - Hajj. 2nd day of the Hajj pilgrimage
Sunday Jun 16, 2024 Eid-al-Adha. Last day of the Pilgrimage, commemorates Abraham's sacrifice of his son.
Food for Body & Soul
Mostly finding recipes on the Internet, I have pared down my cookbooks.
Arabia & Yemen
When I found out Small Pharaoh`s Egyptian and New Yorker Food which I had seen previously amongst the food carts at 340 SW 5th St was closed, I thought it would pose a difficulty for me to get to another place on my timeline (trying to post for Islamic New Year). But as I was wandering around Old Town looking for Turkish Cuisine, I happened upon Elmasry Egyptian Cuisine which seems to have taken its place at the corner of 3rd Ave & Washington St. What a delightful little accidental find! With the guy's guidance, I ordered what seemed most traditionally authentic Egyptian (other than the usual Mediterranean dishes). I was just as gratified to find the guy is Muslim. As I thanked him for being there, and explained why I care (I love exploring different cultures and cuisines), he was so pleased at my interest, that he made my order complimentary. Another example of the hospitality I have enjoyed from people of other cultures than my own heritage.
El Masry Egyptian Cuisine--243 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97204; 3rd Ave Food Cart Pod
Tangier Restaurant, Moroccan--221 SW Pine St, Portland, OR 97204
This little place is 2.5 blocks west of Battleship Oregon Memorial and the Oregon Maritime Museum, Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the Willamette. River. I ordered the Moroccan Chicken with Olive preserved lemons and rice (I would have liked to get the raisin one, but as a diabetic, they were out). This dish was very good, the chicken fall-apart tender and seasoned just right, served with a pita. I dropped the mint lemonade I ordered before I could take a photo. (sad face) Since it's not wheelchair accessible, I took some photos through the window, while they brought out a menu, and then the food I ordered.
Kasbah Moroccan Café—201 NW Davis St, Chinatown, Portland OR
Such an inviting atmosphere! I had trouble finding Davis St, no one I asked could tell me, and sometimes street signs are lacking. It’s 2 blocks west of Tom McCall Park, and a block south of Lan Su Chinese Garden; Davis St is a block south of Everett St. I knew some streets in downtown Portland follow an alphabetical scheme, but not all of them do, and I got turned around.
Petra House (Petra is in Jordan)--1900 NE 162nd Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684
Nicholas Lebanese & Mediterranean restaurant—323 N Main Ave, Gresham, OR 97030
Habibi Syrian & Lebanese Cuisine--1012 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
DarSalam Lazurdi Restaurant & Catering, traditional Iraqi--320 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97204
What an all-encompassing experience! The decor, the food, the extremely attentive and kind person who explained things and took good care of me. The screen on the wall has a captivating slide show of Iraq present and past.
I came on a weekend, so they were closed to make products for distribution. For my trouble (I had come a long way to find their place was closed and not wheelchair accessible) they were so kind as to give me a complimentary container of exquisite hummus.
Found this little gem in the rough on my trip to Olympia. By rough I mean the ground where the food trucks were parked. There were tables, and the menu of every truck was truly tempting. I enjoyed the Bourek, Assyrian meat eggroll, Sweet Potato Fries with delightful garlic dipping sauce (the fries as well as the Bourek were both good plain and with the dipping sauce). The pita of the Sabich wrap was a little tough, but the filling was great. The Fattoush salad topped with crispy pita chips I preferred when the chips were not quite as crispy, and it was easier to eat as a wrap, and still good when I got home.
About Iran/Persia4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland OR; food carts near PSU
(82nd Ave between Francis & Center St, across from Eastport Plaza Shopping Center)
About Afghanistan--Eastport Food Carts--3905 SE 82nd Ave, Portland OR 97266
Wonderful food, different from the usual. A young man perhaps her son helped with translating and serving
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Food in general--about as prolific as Mexican food nowadays (showing how popular the food is), here are just a few I ran into--some I tried (with delight), some I just saw:Falahi Bros Middle Eastern Cuisine--609 W 11th St, Vancouver WA 98660Gyro and Shawarma Grill—Eastport Food Carts on 82nd Ave, across from Eastport Plaza Shopping Center
Abu Rasheed Express--315 E. Main St, Hillsboro OR
Portland Gyro--food carts near PSU: 4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland ORfood carts near PSU: 4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland OR
Shawarma Spot--food carts near PSU: 4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland ORMediterranean orzo salad at home from the local grocery store
Desi Bites, Indian—2023 Chalk Art Festival, Hillsboro OR
Pinch of Spice, Indian--Hillsboro Station Food Carts & Bar--Baseline St between 3rd & 4th Ave, Hillsboro OR
Hyderabad Hub, Indian dishes--137 SE 3rd Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97123
"Hyderabad Hub restaurant located in Hillsboro downtown. It’s specialized in making authentic Indian food with wide variety of South Indian as well North Indian food like biryani, dosa, wraps, samosa and naan bread. Most popular dishes are butter chicken, mango lassi, naan bread , samosa and biryani.”
Indian Hunger Point--Eastport Food Carts, 3905 Southeast 82nd Avenue, Portland ORfood carts near PSU: 4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland OR
Old Taste of India--food carts near PSU: 4th Ave between Hall & College St, Portland OR
Malaysia & SE Asia
Africa, east (Somalia) & west (inclu Ghana, Nigeria)
West African foodsAsona Cuisine, West African (Ghana & Jamaican fusion)—at the 2023 Chalk Art Festival, Hillsboro OR
Try one or more of the following:
Akadi PDX, West African inclu Nigeria etc—1001 SE Division Unit 2, not far east of river/Hwy 99
Amir’s Motherland Dish, Somali/East Africa—7100 NE Glisan St, Portland; 10:30-8pm Su-Th, 8:30 Fr, 9 Sa
Mira’s East African & Mediterranean Cuisine, Somali—82nd & Davis, The Yard food carts
Alleamin African Kitchen, Somalian—6939 NE Glisan; Montavilla area west of 82nd, Tues-Sun 11-8pm
And/or 18535 SE Stark St near Gresham
Feelings might still be tender in the Balkan states, between the Muslims and Christians. This post is not to minimize the pain of the last several hundred years, nor to trivialize complexities. This is only to acknowledge that there are Muslims in these countries. I still celebrate nearly every culture.
7 Restaurant, Bosnian—905 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98660
It may be a little hard to find, but what enchanting decor (including a charming mural), kind and helpful staff, delicious food, especially the nut-stuffed apple.
Life & Teachings
10 Famous Buddha Statues (Note: the Buddha has been depicted in many different styles and poses)
Top 10 Most Beautiful Buddhist Temples in the World
Nam Quang Vietnamese Buddhist Temple--3337 NE 148th Ave, Portland, OR 97230
Great statuary, gardens, places to meditate. Lots of interpretive signs, some with English translations. Leave your shoes at the door of the Temple and your cares at the gate. Master Kevin was so wonderfully helpful!
Wat Buddhatham-Aram--4350 NE 133rd Ave, Portland OR
Only caretakers were here when I found the place. They have event space for gatherings.
Chùa Linh Sơn Buddhist Temple--2535 SE 118th Ave, Portland, OR 97266
Next to a Vietnamese restaurant, the gates of the Temple were closed when I went to see it. A tantalizing huge statue was frustratingly behind a tall tree from my view. Buddha's Birthday was May 5 in 2023 (see also the linked discussion at top of this page).
Bửu Hưng Tu Viện Buddhist Temple--17808 NE 18th St, Vancouver, WA 98684
Photos taken Dec 22, 2019.
Links to a few of about 40 Buddhist Temples/Centers listed in the Portland OR area
Mt. Adams Zen Buddhist Temple at the Trout Lake Abbey--46 Stoller Rd, Trout Lake WA 98650
We had a wonderful adventure exploring the Mt Adams (WA) area July of 2021. For more about that, see:
Buddhist Holidays & Ceremonies
Top 5 Buddhist Holidays (March), Vesak (May), Dharma Day (July), Kachina (Oct-Nov)
Cultural Connections & Countries
“Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mainland China [those that dare to be religious], Hong Kong, Japan, Tibet, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Kalmykia and Vietnam. Large Buddhist populations live in North Korea, Nepal, India and South Korea. China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists”, though only an estimated 18% of China's population practice Buddhism, whereas about 97% of Cambodians, 95% in Thailand, 88% in Myanmar, and 70% in Sri Lanka are Buddhist.
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle WA had exhibits for immigrants from China, Japan, Vietnam, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), and a sample Buddhist altar at the time I visited. See 2nd link below.
India—land of Buddha’s Birth, Life, Teaching, and Enlightenment
Though India was the birthplace of Buddhism, only about .7% of the population in 2011 (unchanged from 1951) still practiced Buddhism, according to Pew Research. Yet there remain many shrines to Buddhism in the land. I couldn't travel to India, but pictured below are my explorations of Indian culture, not all of it Buddhist. I didn't have a chance to try all of the Indian restaurants/food trucks below, but I did try the mixes and prepared foods.
12 of the Most Famous Buddhist Temples and Monasteries in India
Top Burmese Burma Joy is a fun place to go if you can manage the tight streets, traffic, and parking challenges. The travel video I checked out makes going to Burma itself look really enticing (though not wheelchair accessible).
Top Burmese Burma Joy--1305 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Cambodia & Laos
Mekong Bistro--8200 NE Siskiyou St Suite 111, Portland OR
Delicious food, often live music (see event link below), friendly & helpful service, plenty of free off-street parking, at least mid-day. Not sure when there's live music in the evening.
Links for more Chinese culture, including performances, gardens, museums, more food and restaurants, etc.
Japan is reportedly about 70% Buddhist, including those who practice both Buddhism and Shinto. I love children's books because they are simplified learning, as you can see below.
This was one of our little adventures into a cuisine we hadn't experimented with much yet, fall of 2022. We did enjoy the food. Some can make you cry in delight, one or two of the appetizers brought hot tears of almost regret (spicy hot Kimchee). In 2023 while visiting Olympia WA I found the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
K-Town Korean BBQ Restaurant--8723 NE Hwy 99, Vancouver, WA 98665
Chang's Mongolian Grill--San Rafael Shopping Center, 1600 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230
(just north of Halsey St & the Goodwill store, south of Winco, Wells Fargo etc--one of several locations)
I give this place high marks for easy accessible parking as well as being a great place for people with dietary restrictions. You can adjust how much salty/soy and how many carbs for yourself, before your meal is cooked in a healthful way. The staff is friendly and helpful, the decor is pleasant and appropo. The restrooms are not wheelchair accessible: it was hard enough to enter, but I almost couldn't get out of the ladies'.
Malaysia, Singapore, & Indonesia
My folks spent 18 months in Malaysia about 20 years ago, and my mom being interested in exploring cultures and cuisines, collected some recipes. She was so impressed that they could cook by smell, and that they were so dextrous. She saved the wrapping from a gift, and I used that to make a cover for the recipes she brought home.
I was excited to find a place that serves food from Singapore, but despite the advertised hours, and the sign saying he'd be back at 4:15, he didn't make it back by then. I waited an extra 5 min, but it was a very hot day, so I couldn't wait longer. I can only assume that something came up and then he was detained longer than expected. The pictures on his food truck were very appealing, though.
21SG Foodie Singapura-- 2280 NW Burnside Ct, Gresham, OR 97030 (Gresham Food Carts)
Nepal, Tibet, & Bhutan
Nepali Kitchen & Chai Garden--3434 NE 49th Ave, Portland, OR 97213 a little peace of paradise from city life
menu link at The Heist link below
The Heist Food Cart Pod in Woodstock community--4727 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland, OR 97206
Taiwan Bistro PDX--11136 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219—11642 NE Halsey St, Portland OR; Wed-Mon 11am-9:30pm
Thai food is very popular, no problem finding it. Following are some I found & foto'd.
Montira's Thai Cuisine, replaced by The Dalles Thai Cuisine--302 W 2nd St, The Dalles, OR; loved it, went twice
Yellow Curry Cozy Thai--20 N. Holladay Dr, Seaside OR
Thai Time Vancouver--11310 NE 49th St Suite 107, Vancouver, WA 98682
Talay Thai Cuisine--13510 NE 84th St #109, Vancouver, WA 98682
and more . . .
About Thailand, including history
Explored Vietnam through food, books, memorials.
Kim Huong Vietnamese Restaurant, 2950 Silverton Rd NE, Salem, OR 97301
Unprepossessing exterior, lovely interior with delicious food and kind, friendly service. A Dong Asian Market next door.
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.