Momo House – Tibetan Indian Cuisine

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Tibetan food cart portland

Momo House

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy at Rose City Food Park
Hours: daily, lunch

The Story: You’ve enjoyed dumplings I assume, but what about a Momo? Momo House, a new food cart at Portland’s Rose City Food Park, serves up these large and delightful pockets of joy along with other Tibetan and Indian dishes.

Momo House joins the diverse lineup of food carts at Rose City which includes Vietnamese, Mexican, Guamian, Thai and a myriad of American dishes. I would argue the lot offers up one of the more eclectic collective menus. The menu offerings at Momo House run the gamut from the large dumplings to fried rice dishes to known Indian delights like samosa or curry. The fried momo are filled with beef, pork or veggies mixed with celery, scallion and garlic and served with fresh veggies and a dipping sauce – usually spicy. A large doughy pocket of meat and taste tingling delight. Dip in the spicy sauce and simply devour. So decadent. Also available vegetarian style. The Pork Chili, day long slow cooked pork with house recipe of garlic, ginger and Arrma-Sichuan pepper along with soy sauce and served with fried rice, rounded out the meal. The spice presented itself well, but not overwhelming if you’re sensitive to the heat. While it appears to be yet another fried rice dish, the secret recipe raised it above the bar, impressing me.

Tibetan Food Cart Portland

Momos and Pork Chili

Momo House is open daily for lunch and into the afternoon and dinner. The menu is broad and offers up something for everyone. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Momo dumplings – $4.99-6.99 depending on size
  • Fried Momos – $4.99-6.99 depending on size
  • Chole Poori – chole masala, a vegetarian dish with chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, spices – served with naan – $4.99
  • Chicken Curry – Indian style chicken curry thali with sides – $6.99
  • Vegetable Thali – vegetable plate with dal and rice and seasonal salad – $6.99

Phone: (503) 764-5028

The 9 Food & Drink

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Indian food cart portland

The 9

Location: SE MLK and Stark, Central Eastside Food Cart Lot
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30am-7:30pm; Saturday, noon-5

The Story: Portland has a number of Indian food carts – Taste of India, Real Taste of India, Indian Taste, Best Taste of India, yet when someone new comes along, with a catchy new name, they make the news. The 9, which serves a mix of Indian and Southeast Asian, has been making the rounds of everyone’s top food cart, so I decided to check it out.

Indian Food Cart Portland

Biryani from The 9

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Singapore. The farthest west (or east depending on how you perceive it) from home I’ve reached. Singapore boasts an culturally diverse food scene, which includes a large population of Indians. In Little India, I discovered cuisines, flavors and aromas I hadn’t seen before. Sitting at a Hawker market (their version of street food centers,) I spotted a young man devouring a pile of rice with chicken and veggies served atop a banana leaf with his hands. Biriyani. It became a go to dish for me when wandering the city. Fast forward to July in Portland and I’ve tried some of the biriyani offered at the carts, yet none have impressed me as what The 9 offered. The owners describe the cart as a mix of Indian and Asian, which bodes well for my first visit. The chicken biryani, a bed of moist stir fried rice topped with succulent chicken and fried scallions. On the side, a sweet chicken stock influenced by Thai and Burmese flavors. While offered a fork, I old-schooled it and ate freestyle, tearing off bits of chicken between my fingers and mixing them with the rice and filling my mouth. Simply the best. The broth. What can I say about the broth? I wish I could eat that every day – an elixir of spices and herbs. This is the biryani you’ve been waiting for in Portland.

The 9 is a gem. The Oregonian put them on their top 10 list for 2015 and I can’t agree more. Matthew Korfhage of the Willamette Week, one of my new favorite food writers in the city, jumped for joy after taking his first bite. I’m so glad to see them getting the press. As Matthew stated, go to this cart and spend money. Keep them here! Drop on by next time you’re in SE Portland and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
  • Vegetable Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
  • Roti and Curry – 2 pieces of wheat flour pan-fried bread with house made curry and choice of chicken or tofu – $7
  • Plain Roti – $1.50

Facebook: The 9

Desi PDX

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Indian food cart portland

Desi PDX

Location: NE 15th and Alberta
Hours: Thursday, 12-8pm; Friday/Saturday, 12-9pm; Sunday, 12-8pm

The Story: Local Fare, Indian Flair. Portland, welcome Desi PDX, Alberta’s newest Indian food cart.

Deepak Saxena opened the cart earlier this year with a focus on food inspired by Indian spices and flavors while keeping it local and organic and committing to everyone’s indulgences. At Desi PDX, you can get gluten-free, paleo and vegan. Raised on traditional Indian fare, Deepak eventually fell in love with cooking in this 20’s. After a first career in IT, the food cart became the next adventure. Inspired by Eric Schlosser’s work Fast Food Nation, he changed his own eating habits and continues to work at cooking more sustainably which is reflected with the menu at the cart.

Indian food cart portland

Cardamom chai Drumsticks

Let’s talk food. Deepak has both a la carte options or bowls. Every week he has a rotating “pulse of the week,” which is a selection of organic bean and lentil dhals. How does spicy cabbage salad with shredded coconut, chillies and mustard infused oil sound? Or maybe a Pakora waffle made with spicy garbanzo beans. I chose the cardamom chai chicken. One pound of Mary’s free range drumsticks are tea brined and tea steamed then fried in organic sunflower oil. A coconut sugar chai glaze is added then finished with toasted cardamom and Jacobsen salt. Whew! So many different flavors and ingredients go into creating this dynamic and vibrant chicken. I knew Indian cuisine’s diversity of flavors and spices, but these drumsticks were off the charts. I can only imagine what the other dishes present. I’m excited for a return visit, maybe with a friend so we can order multiple dishes and share.

Desi PDX offers up a diverse menu of treats for everyone and brings up specials almost daily, so follow them on Facebook for updates. Desi PDX is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Drop on by next time you’re up on Alberta and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu – full menu on website

  • Cardamom chai chicken – $7.25
  • Chana masala belly – tamarind-ginger braised carton farms pork belly – $7.50
  • Pulse of the week – $3.75-5.75
  • Belly Bowl – pork belly, fried rice, chutney, pickles, salad – $10
  • Vegan thali – pulse & rice, slaw, chutney, pickles, salad – $11
  • Chicken bowl – chicken, fried rice, chutney, pickles, salad – $9.75

Website: Desipdx.com
Facebook: Desi PDX
Twitter: @DesiPDX

Tiffin Asha

Lizzy Caston

Tiffin 1

Location: N Mississippi and Beech
Hours: Tues -Thurs 11am – 6pm, Fri & Sat 11am- 8pm

The Story: Get your fresh hot Dosas here! Indian street food at its finest, and for many Indian food lovers, Dosas are an almost religious experience. Made from dal lentils and rice ground to a fine powder, put into a batter and fermented, Dosas are one of India’s great street snacks – crispy along the edges, but tender.  Savory and satisfying without being too heavy throughout, they can be eaten plain or with spices, or alongside Sambar (a spicy lentil soup), or rolled up like a burrito and stuffed with all manner of curries. A perfect grab and go treat to eat with one’s hands as they require no utensils.

Tiffin Asha is a newer cart on NE Alberta street, tucked into a driveway next to a yoga studio and a vintage housewares shop. Look for the silver and red cart with the bright blue sign sporting an elephant.  With some cute but sparse decorations, and only three tables, this cart mirrors many humble street food stands in India. The folks involved know their food chops though: Elizabeth Golay, the owner of Tiffin Asha, has cooked at some of the best restaurants in Seattle, while her life partner’s family from the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh taught her their family recipes and techniques for this region’s highly sophisticated spice blends and food.

Although Tiffin Asha serves traditional Southern Indian food – Dosas, Idli (steamed rice cakes), and Vadas (think savory spiced donut holes), this isn’t a cart for strict purists. We think that’s a good thing. Sure you can get the classic simple combo of Dosa and Sambar (spicy lentil soup), or a potato curry stuffed Dosa. Yet, you’ll also find modern interpretations including the Hot Chick described as “pakora fried chicken drizzled with black cardamom-infused honey, pickled greens and creamy yogurt cheese.” Or, they have “Brunch Dosas” such as the smokey Shroom – “fried egg, local mushrooms, caramelized onions and Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue.” We simply say, WOW. If this is what fusion food can be then we’ll happily take it.

Tiffin Asha's Trilogy with Dosas, Idli, Vada, Sambar, Chutneys and Gunpowders

Tiffin Asha’s Trilogy with Dosas, Idli, Vada, Sambar, Chutneys and Gunpowders

Where Tiffin Asha shows they really care about quality is in their house-made chutney bar. Offered free alongside your order, you’ll find a clean row of cold  savory-and sometimes savory-spicy-sweet- sour chutneys such as green mango, coconut, cilantro, peanut, and their own Indian spiced ketchup.  Super fresh, flavorful, and a perfect accompaniment to the more “neutral” carbs of Dosa, Vada, and Idli. Tiffin Asha is also introducing Portland to the concept of “Gun Powders”, described as,

WHAT IS GUN POWDER?[guhn-pou-der], Noun1. An explosive mixture.2. Also called podi, a powder made up of various spices, chilies and lentils and eaten like chutney. Found in the southern region of India.

Gun Powders at Tiffin come in a little bag with directions on them, alongside a little cup of oil. You mix as much (or as little) of the spice mixture as you wish into the oil, and then dip away with your Dosa, Idli, or Vada. Flavors include BLACK – mild, black sesame, WHITE – medium, dals, and RED – hot, red chili + peanut. These mixtures show the sophistication and deft hand of any Southern Indian cook as they are easy to over do, under do, or just make imbalanced. Tiffin Makes them quite well indeed.

Tiffin Asha would make any Amma (Grandmother) in Southern India proud. This is a well thought out, well run cart, with high quality food, and a nice addition to Portland’s ever evolving and diversifying food scene.

Sample Menu:

DOSAS –  fermented dal and rice crepe brushed with neyyi (clarified butter)

  • PAPER – crispy plain dosa, served with sambar $5
  • HOT CHICK – pakora fried chicken drizzled with black cardamom-infused honey, pickled greens and creamy yogurt cheese $7
  • STUDLY SPUD – crispy cinnamon-spiked baby potatoes tossed with tomato chutney and green chili -$6

BRUNCH DOSAS served 11-2 daily

  • GUN POWDER – Fried egg dusted with your choice of gun powder $5
  • B.A.T. fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, baby arugula and oven roasted tomatoes $7
  • SMOKEY SHROOM – fried egg, local mushrooms, caramelized onions and Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue $7

VADA HOLES savory dal donut holes sprinkled with coconut-chili fleur de sel, served with sambar – SMALL 5 vadas $5. LARGE – 8 vadas $6

IDLI fermented dal and rice cake – 2 idli cakes, served with sambar $5

TIFFIN’S TRILOGY – one of each paper dosa, small vada and idli, served with sambar $8

SAMBAR – spicy dal soup made with seasonal vegetables tamarind + coconut $3

Note: Gunpowder Spices, Various Chutneys are Complimentary.

 

Phone: (503) 936-7663

Website: www.TiffinAsha.com

Facebook: TiffinAsha

Twitter: @TiffinAshaPDX

Chez Dodo

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Chez Dodo

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: M-F, 11am-11pm; Sat, 11-9pm

The Story: A taste of Mauritian Paradise. That is all I needed to know before visiting Chez Dodo, a new vendor in the ever changing lot at the corner of N Fremont and Vancouver. Chez Dodo moved to SW 5th and Stark January 2014.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the south east coast of Africa. When the Portuguese arrived in the 1500’s, the island was uninhabited except for the famed Dodo bird. After a few centuries of different colonial rule, the culture of the island in the 21st century is a mix of several ethnicities – mostly of Indian, African, Chinese and European descent. At Chez Dodo, the cuisine reflects the inspiration of French, African, Indian, Creole and Chinese cuisine.

Upon arrival, Chef Shayamal leaned out the window to greet me and immediately listed off the day’s specials and instructed me to the vast menu and how to order. You start with a base of either flat bread, noodles or rice, add a curry sauce and then top with accompaniments like bean curry and potatoes, chicken or lamb. I chose pan fried curry noodles with the Island Fever spicy curry sauce and lamb. During the prep of the meal, Shayamal leaned out with a huge skillet of noodles and a fork to ask if the spice was sufficient. What brilliant service. A huge plate of noodles with vegetables and lamb was handed over. More than I could eat in a sitting, but so flavorful, spicy and complex, I couldn’t put the fork down. If you’re going, go with a friend as Shayamal is a giver of food and will load you up.

Curry Noodles from Chez Dodo

You may recognize the name Chez Dodo as his vegan pre-made products have been in local stores now for over a year. Chef Shayamal offers numerous options for vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian diets. He stated, “If it weren’t for the vegans buying my product, I wouldn’t be open.” Thanks vegans! Chez Dodo is open from lunch through late night and on Saturday, so there is no reason you can’t visit. The lot now has five different mobile vendors and the are continues to change for the better with a New Seasons store opening this year. Drop on by for a taste of Mauritius and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Bases:

  • Dholl Puri Flat Bread; Pan Fried Curried Noodles; Brown Rice Pulao or Rice Noodles

Curry Sauces:

  • Healthy Vegan: mild curry sauce cooked with a blend of exotic spices and herbs
  • Tropical Happiness: creamy tomato based curry sauce cooked with spices, coconut and cashews
  • Island Fever: spicy curry sauce with 3 different peppers, onions, ginger, garlic, tamarind, lemon and vinegar

Accompaniments:

  • Assorted bean curry and potatoes – $4.99
  • Wild combo of mushrooms with lentil fritter – $5.99
  • Chicken cooked in red wine sauce – $5.99
  • Lamb Curry pressure cooked and sauteed – $7.99

Phone: (503) 284-4575
Facebook: Chez Dodo
Twitter: @ChezDodoPDX

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