In Portland, food carts fill a parking lot with lines stretching onto the sidewalk. (Photo by camknows.)

Whatever you’re craving, you can probably find it on sale in a parking lot in Portland. From barbecued jackfruit pie, to foie gras over potato chips and kimchi quesadillas, it’s no coincidence Portland has been heralded as a world-class purveyor of street food.

Street food is smart for sustainability: It makes urban living more desirable to many, improves neighborhood walkability, provides affordable dining options, and opens doors for diverse entrepreneurs (many of whom also see sustainably produced ingredients as key). And recent attention to the Rose City’s food cart scene has made other nearby cities green with envy. Take Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., for example. Both had laws limiting food cart cuisine until recently, and now both have tossed those rules in the dumpster, hoping to unleash legions of new small businesses.

Let’s compare and contrast these three West Coast cities’ approaches to street food: