Bombay Chaat House

Jonathan Amato


Location: 804 SW 12th Ave and Yamhill (located on Yamhill, next to India Chaat House)

Description: The Chaat is back! (Updated May 17) There was some sort of family split WHICH IS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS, but the former cook/owner/or something from India Chaat next door just simply reopened  a new name and a spiffed up cart-bus of her own. The lesson here?  HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A CART OWNER SCORNED. bombay-12

Anyway, I’ll keep out of this War of the Roses style cart drama henceforth, but I have to say that Bombay Chaat is certainly exceeding expectations in value, quality and service. It’s basically the same menu as before with 100% vegetarian (or vegan on request) Indian snacks, bean or vegetable dishes, curries, rice dishes and some of the best Naan bread to grace Portland.

The $5.00, 6 piece lunch special should be illegal at this price. Easily enough to serve two for lunch, it comes with basamati rice, dal tarka spiced lentils, a hubcap sized piece of tender made to order naan, and three main dishes such as creamy vegetable korma, aloo saag spinach and potatoes. A free cup of chai tea is usually offered up while you wait, so technically this could be considered a 7 course meal for $5.00. Whoa. That’s a bargain!

Although the above lunch deal is the reason many eat at this cart, I’m particuarly fond of the Chaats (snacks). These are things like made to order garlic naan bread ($1.25), sev-poori crispy Indian noodles with tarmarind and mint sauces, homemade yogurt, garbanzo beans and onions, or aloo tiki deep fried mashed and spiced potato patties. The Samosa Chaat is one of my favorite things: two close to baseball sized potato and vegetable samosas, deep fried and served with the same sauxe as the sev-poori above. At $3.50, the Samosa chaat makes a terrific lunch, while my tweet tooth often steers me to the Pishwari bread stuffed with almonds, pistachios, raisins and cashews with a rose syrup. Sweet or mango yogurt lassis are also quite refreshing. bombay-3

I’m not going to say which cart I prefer or which one I think is better. Dear reader, I’ll let you be the judge of that. I will say however that I’m really glad Bombay Chaat is open for business.

Sample Menu:

Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm

Phone: 503 241-7944

Website: Bombay Chaat House




  1. Thanks for the good word. Not trying to get into the post-marital drama, but the former face of India Chaat House (who’s been conspicuously absent in recent weeks–that means he sold it to someone else?) gave a slightly different version of the story, when Bombay Chaat first opened, that convinced me there were shenanigans going on from the other side, so I chose to be “loyal” to ICH.

    Hearing things may be the other way around, and given a recent very negative experience with the food at ICH and the absence of the familiar friendly faces there–I’ll have to try the new place. I just hope they don’t halve the former business of ICH, and both end up going under or moving elsewhere.

    Now if we can just get those damned fur protesters to get a sense of priorities and to decide to go do good works for their cause–rather than just annoying everyone in earshot (including me in my apartment) and making people hate vegans–perhaps at least one of these carts will become an appealing option again. . . (I say this as a vegan of 14 years, so I’m not vegan/vegetarian-bashing).

    Yikes–carts get political!

  2. Ahh… thanks for solving that mystery. Stopped by the ICH yesterday after a long absence, and the food was honestly not great. I also wondered what the deal was with an Indian cart moving in right next door! Will have to try BCH next time I’m downtown.

  3. Yeah I was seriously pro ICH until I started hearing more and more about support for the new cart – and comparing meals at both – Bombay Chaat House was where it was it. And it’s $5! My recent meals at the under-new-management ICH have not compared to two at the BCC. My only qualm is that ICH started making the daily lunch special all-vegan a year or two ago, and at BCC you need to request it – and the vegan additon isn’t always as ‘fresh’ as the rest.

  4. I went today and found that the proprietor was very happy about vegan business, saying it accounted for a lot of her business. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the lunch special becomes default vegan, or at least that the freshness issue you noticed doesn’t change. Got the “lunch” special (at 5:40pm) and it was plenty tasty–how I remember ICH’s being: simple, maybe not the most flavorful Indian food one could imagine, but wholesome and tasty. The naan was superior to all but the aloo kulcha I remember from ICH. Plus she made the free chai vegan without even being reminded, which I thought was a really nice touch.

    Good to see others confirming that the food itself has changed at ICH, so we know it’s not just an off-day or off-week.

  5. Thanks for the scoop.
    I finally tried BCH last night and got tons of food for just a little over 10 bucks. By chance, I got the sev-poori and it was one of the weirder thing I’ve chowed down, couldn’t stop eating though. The naan was huge!

  6. Ian – the naan I’ve had twice now has been bigger and better than I ever had at ICH. Not to complain about theirs, but the quality/size/well done-ness varied.

  7. I asked the husband/owner at Chaat House a few months ago what the deal was with the new cart, and he said his ex-wife’s family were ‘very dangerous people’ who were threatening him. He also said something about a failed restaurant in the suburbs that she had maybe gotten in the divorce, and that he had to buy her the cart to avoid retribution from her family. He repeated the ‘dangerous’ part a few times. Yikes.

    As the Naan turns, people.

    Either way, the Palak Paneer is not the same at the Chaat and I am saddened. Perhaps I’ll try Bombay Chaat today and see if that is where my beloved cheese has gone.

  8. Hi, just want to object to the description of “selling out from under her”. There was a bad divorce scene, she tried to put him in jail when he traveled to India. She had relatives there arrest him and he had to pay tons of cash to get out and not be tortured etc. She had her own business elsewhere and did intentionally put the new cart directly next to his. When he escaped and returned to the U.S. her family all threatened him (really!!) so he sold out to be safe. She had not wanted to work in a truck anyway originally. Weird. To me it just stinks of revenge and hatefulness on her side, but also not someone I want to patronize ever! Maybe someday he’ll return. I hope so. He is a great person. He is also a talented chef. So ICH is not him anymore, that is why it sucks. But I won’t buy her food, since she did such dangerous and bad stuff. Read about it online…families in the Punjab punish someone who breaks the rules of their culture – often it is the women who give the orders to do someone in. He is in trouble for daring to seek some happiness in his life. She wanted the divorce anyway, always told everyone that…I heard her say it…right at the truck too. He lost 20 lbs before he left her, if that is any indication of her effect on someone’s health. I really am sick of all the fuss over this issue, but no matter how good the food, I’ll never buy from BCH! I am an activist and vegan and vegetarian, but people like me cannot feel good about saving the lives of animals by eating food at a place that tried so hard to have another human life be destroyed! Enough said!

  9. foodcartlover says

    I believe the BCH version of the story especially since their sons are also with them.. ICH guy sold the truck to someone else and did allegedly leave her in debt.. It is she who taught him in ICH ..My support is there for BCH and the continued great food ..

  10. You know, I’ve updated the above post. It really is NONE OF OUR DAMN BUSINESS what happened between TWO MARRIED PEOPLE WHO GOT A DIVORCE.

    It’s all about the food, not speculation, drama and/or slander. Right?

    Let’s keep it on topic then. But This is one of those rare occasions where I speak out about the food quality. Bombay Chaat’s Food is terrific. India Chaat has gone downhill. I don’t care who said what to whom in a back alley with a kidnapping using the Colonel’s knife because that’s how they do it in the old country nonsense.

  11. byThorbyOdin says

    **I posted this review in the wrong section – so copying it here**

    Okay so after all these comments about how Bombay Chaat House is the true heir apparent to ICH etc etc we decided to try it out yesterday. I must open by saying it was the most HORRIBLE food we’ve ever eaten – it would be a travesty to call that stuff “food” and an insult to the culinary profession to call the folks that run this place “cooks”. We were fairly frequent visitors of the erstwhile ICH and if anyone says the “food” that BCH purports to “cook” is anywhere close to ICH, I’d love to smoke what they’re on. We are Indian by origin and loved the old ICH (was about as authentic as Portland has to offer).

    Now for the details. We picked up 4 items from BCH and brought them home – bhel, papdi chaat, aloo paratha and aloo-matar. The bhel was completely tasteless (akin to eating small pieces of white cardboard). We struggled and finished the bhel and turned to the papdi chaat hoping for some respite. Apparently BCH believes that papdi chaat does not need to include the papdi (the small fried flour discs that give it the taste).. helllloooo!! Even so we tried the first spoonful and promptly spat it out – the item was well past its expiration date – I suspect the yogurt in the chaat had gone bad. I cant believe the ride home (about 15 mins) could have caused this so the dish as served was bad. The aloo paratha, though nothing to write home about, was atleast edible. The aloo matar dish (potato and peas curry in a tomato sauce) was terrible (flavorless and weird tasting) and was placed on a bed of half cooked rice – I swear you could almost hear the crunch of the rice as you tried to eat it. We made a valiant effort but ended up tossing that out as well.

    So in summation we had 1 okay, 2 terrible and 1 inedible dish – what a telling strike rate!! Needless to say we wont ever be going to BCH again and to the readers here – caveat emptor!!

  12. I cannot overstate my affection for this place. The food here is so fantastic, I’ve never had any other indian food that measures up. I especially like the very creamy dishes like the Mutter Paneer and the Navratan Korma, which is often included in the lunch special.

  13. they have website

  14. Whew, this place isn’t the old ICH! I just went to try it again, the young man was there alone so I thought I’d give it a go. Man, I’m really wondering where the good reviews are coming from. The naan was gummy and the dish I had tasted like it had been sitting around for more than a few days. The subtle change in smell is known to me, as I also cook Indian food. It has to be fresh every day, and in the old days ICH always had super fresh dishes. I used to eat there alot. I’ve been following the chat on this place and all the articles and posts have gotten the story pretty messed up about what happened. I’m not sure anyone ever consulted the previous chef of ICH to verify facts about their breakup. As I would’ve expected, he never bad-mouthed her or anyone and has graciously just moved on. Anyway, I sure miss the old ICH food from that super great Chef, Mr. Daljit Singh. But anyway, this is a about BCH. I’m sad to say I don’t recommend it. Would’ve liked to.

  15. This place is the better of the two on the block. It’s not the old ICH 100% but, the current ICH focuses on small portions for the same price as Bombay. For $5 and the amount of food you get you can’t go wrong.

  16. christine says

    SO GOOD!!!!! I work near this cart and I swear on days that the front door is open I can smell the delicious-ness tempting me from 2 blocks over. I just recently tried BCH for the first time; I had heard second hand stories about the drama of the neighboring carts… could not remember which one I was “advised” to choose by the time I got around to trying them…. so I went with the cart that had tons of people waiting instead of the cart that had zero patrons; also the lady at BCH actually smiled and welcomed me when I was looking at the menu. The guy at the other cart just kind of glanced at me and said nothing. So…. pick the BCH I did and oh-my-yumminess!!!!! I’ve eaten there at least once per week now, and I have once had a side dish (at 6:45pm I might add) that tasted a little burned, but overall it has been consistent and AMAZING for $5. I have tried to eat all the food you get with one order, it is impossible. Thank you for existing, Bombay Chaat House. I love you.

  17. The lunch special was bland and the dal had a burnt smell. Very disappointed with the quality and taste. Will not return back.

  18. BCH Rocks. I love their lunch special!

  19. Wuuu Huuuu. LOVE YOU GUYS>>>> Your Dal was in reality Dal Tarka. And it tasted good. Your Korma was to die for.

    Unlike India Chaat House. They gave me some yellow dal. I was like. uhhh. Where is the dal. So he points to this Yellow Curry. And it turns out after me looking it up. India Chaat House gave me Moong Dal. Some cheep end dal. Totally different then what they make. So thank you BOMBAY Chaat House.

    And INDIA CHAAT HOUSE. You guys suck for saying one thing and giving an other thing in my plate. I am glad I tried both.

    I will never go back to India Chaat House that is for sure. 3 quarters out of 4 go to BOMBAY. In an other words. BOMBAY is 3 times better then India Chaat House.

  20. Where did you go? We walked forever to come to your beloved cart today (one of our favs) and you are up and gone! The ICH is still there but the cover is gone as well. Please tell me you relocated to another location downtown. The BEST Indian food downtown period.

  21. I just called, asking for their new location, and she said they’re still on the corner of 12th and Yamhill, and is the only cart there now. I don’t remember seeing the red/green/white cart, so did they buy their old India Chaat House cart back?

  22. The number for the Chaat House is now (503) 241-7944
    Please change that. Thank you

  23. Hmm. There’s only one cart there now, the green one, and it hasn’t been open for at least the month. Any clues? Or, more importantly, where can I find good palak paneer?


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