Mum’s Kitchen

Lizzy Caston

Mums 1

CLOSED
Location:
3441 N. Vancouver Avenue (corner of N. Vancouver and Fremont)
Hours: Tues – Fri 7:00am – 6:30pm; Sat/Sun 10:00am – 6:30pm

Description: Indian food cooked the South African way, with a home style touch cooked by a real “Mum” and daughter team. What’s that you say? South African Indian food? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

Well, millions of lucky South Africans that’s who, and now a few luckily Portlanders as well.

South African Indian food highlights the vast nuances and regionalisms of Indian cuisine overall, and illustrates how cultures and immigration patterns adapt and adopt foods from all over the world. With a sizable Indian population in South Africa, this particular regional cuisine combines things like Indian curry seasonings with indigenous African dishes, as well as European influences. The results are delightful.

A little sample of Mum's Cuisine

A little sample of Mum’s Cuisine

Mum’s is doing something a bit different than other Indian carts around town, but some familiar favorites do appear. The potato and pea stuffed Samosas at Mum’s are small crispy triangles, rice Briyani dishes are nicely seasoned and fresh, and the Mulligatawny soup is a classic warming Anglo-Indian favorite. Yet,  even the curries are spiced just a little differently at Mum’s than at other Indian carts around town, or even restaurants for that matter.

Then there is Samp. “It’s an African dish”, the nice owner (Mum herself) explained. I Googled Samp, and I researched it in one of my many food reference books, and I researched some more. Besides this article, I could only find the most basic of information on this African dish, and no background information at all on the South African/Indian version. No matter, the Samp at Mum’s tastes wonderful and that’s all that matters, really. Described on the Mum’s menu as, “Corn Kernels (Mealies), Pinto Beans and Curried Chicken Braised and Simmered together,” it’s really more like a wonderful bright curry with hominy corn and not what Americans might considered “corn kernels.” It is however $8.50 per order, which might turn some bargain cart eaters off, but do give it a chance. The portion is huge – enough to easily feed two. This isn’t your standard greasy bomb “curry in a hurry” cart food either. Food here is made with a lighter and fresher touch.

A dish of Samp

A dish of Samp

This cart is also very accommodating, and is both vegetarian and vegan friendly. The owners are always more than happy to answer any questions about their food, make special requests when feasible and they love to provide samples to first timers.

The Roti rolls are another menu item that I truly hope becomes a Portland favorite. It’s really the equivalent of an Indian Burrito. Curried vegetables, chicken, or spicy garlic pork and cabbage come rolled (3 to an order), in Roti flatbread. Filling, and easy to transport and eat on the go.

That said, there are a few things I wish this cart had to make the dining experience better. First off, although the cart is located under a large covered area there is only a small patio bench for seating. This makes balancing a large container of semi-liquid Samp or curry on one’s lap a feat of human dexterity in eating. Tables and chairs are definitely needed here and would work well under the large covered awning. I’d also like to see a combo plate. I know, I know every other Indian place has one and Mum’s is doing something different. But I want to sample all the good things at once!  Even a Briyani/Vegetable curry or Samp combo would be a perfect beans, rice, corn and vegetable meal in proteins, textures and tastes.

pea and potato stuffed Samosas, and what's left of my Roti rolls

pea and potato stuffed Samosas, and what’s left of my Roti rolls

Otherwise, this cart is a very nice addition to the Portland cart scene, and especially good for those who commute through North and NE Portland. Open early in the mid-morning until 6:30 PM Tuesday through Sunday, this  cart would make a nice place to pick up dinner on the way home from work. Portland needs more dinner carts! I look forward to seeing how Mum’s progresses over the next few months and what other menu items they come up with.

Sample Menu:

Appetizer

6 Potato Samoosas (their spelling)-Triangular Pastries filled with Mildly Spiced Potato & Peas… $4.00

Meat and Poultry Dishes

Chicken Curry – Indian Curried Chicken with Potato, served over Steamed Rice with a Pickled Carrot Salad …$7.00

Spicy Garlic Pork & Cabbage– Tender Curried Pork braised with Sweet Cabbage, served over Steamed Rice…$7.00

Chicken Briyani – A traditional rice dish served with a Pickled Carrot Salad. Available on Friday and Saturday only…$8.50

Samp – A traditional South African Favorite. Corn Kernels (Mealies), Pinto Beans and Curried Chicken Braised and Simmered together…$8.50

Vegan Offerings

Vegetable Briyani – A Vegan Rice Dish with Spiced Vegetables served with Dahl and Pickled Carrot Salad…$8.00

Curried Vegetables with Steamed Rice, served with Dahl a Pickled Carrot Salad…7.00

Roti Rolls filled with your choice of Chicken Curry, Pork and Cabbage, or vegetable curry…3 for $6.00

Soups….$4.00

Hours: Tues – Fri 7:00am – 6:30pm; Sat/Sun 10:00am – 6:30pm

Phone: (360) 281 9414

Email: Unknown

Website: http://mumskitchen.vpweb.com

Location: 3441 N. Vancouver Avenue (corner of N. Vancouver and Fremont)

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Comments

  1. I love the food! I had never had Indian food before and I had the pleaseure of trying it espessialy made for my vegitarian needs! YUM!

  2. My morning commute takes me right there. Samosas make for a great start, and Mum is great people. This place is a microcosm of the cart and one unique variety of our growing scene.

  3. BearlyHere says:

    I was in that part of town and remembered the review, so I stopped by. Mum was very friendly and cooked me up samples so I could decide what I wanted. The roti was something I’ve heard of but never tried, and it was excellent. Mum also gave me a sample samosa with my order.

  4. SO GOOD! I love her samosas. The Roti with pork and cabbage is also a winner. Just don’t call this Indian food because it is not. It is South African Indian food-and Mum will make sure that you understand that. Go here now, you will love it. The food is amazing, Mum is wonderful, and the prices are affordable for everyone. Can’t give her enough raves!

  5. Just finished my dinner of spicy garlic pork and cabbage, and it was incredible. Right when I arrived, Mum insisted on making me a plate of four samples, all were very tasty. I decided on the pork, but it was a tough call, and I can’t wait to go back and order the chicken briyani. Mum is a lovely person with a warm demeanor and speaking with her as she prepared my meal was an unexpected bonus to my experience. Dinners come with perfectly cooked fluffy basmati rice and a pickled carrot salad that is just exquisite. The shredded carrots are sprinkled with tiny wheels of sliced chiles — delectable.

  6. McAngryPants says:

    I’m 3/4 way through a plate of her Mince Kabab Roti. Out of this world good. She also insisted that she make up a sampler so I could decide what I wanted. I can’t wait to go back and eat more!

  7. Mum's Kitchen says:

    We now have a table & benches available for our customers. We have also added a vegan platter & a sample platter to our menu.

  8. Mum’s Kitchen has a new website

    MumsKitchenPDX.com

  9. Any chance you might make meat samosas?

  10. We recently added lamb samoosas to our menu which have been extremely popular.

  11. OMG! Mum’s Kitchen on Vancouver is my new favorite cart. Indian food in a South African style, which is not surprising given that South Africa is home to the world’s largest Indian community outside the Asian subcontinent. The food so good they feel comfortable giving out free samples. Not many carts do that. My wife and I both liked every single thing they gave us, and we bought too much food… for which our friends and coworkers were extremely grateful. All the curries were amazing… but make sure you try the samoosas, which are not at all like samosas and are somewhat unique to South African Indians and are absolutely delightful. They share a lot with a couple of other carts, so there are options for non-curry eaters in your group. And the food is cooked as you order it, so it is super fresh and tasty. Plus you can buy their awesome curry mix and make your own at home. Wow. What a find.

  12. Mum…you should make them some “bunny chow”…I think some Americans would love it! Mum makes some great food having had some at a South African get together that Mum catered.

  13. Starting tomorrow…we will have bunny chows available!

  14. great food and good service. never had Indian food before
    once I didn’t it was great…

  15. Oh so good eats. Spicy and really fresh. I love it. The portions are more than generous, enough for two.

  16. Their website is gone, their phone number is dead and the cart is gone. We seem to have lost the best cart in Portland :(

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