Mum's Kitchen

Portland, Oregon

3.6 / 1 vote

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Unusual South African Indian food with labeled vegan options

Food Court or Street Vendor

Offers dishes such as Sweet Butternut Squashed cooked with Garlic and Thai Chillies, Vegetable Roti Rolls and more.

Added by conde.kedar on May 10 11 (last updated May 14 11)

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Mum's Kitchen is a food cart serving South African-Indian food though don't be fooled by the marketing: this is simple North Indian food and nothing more.

That said, it's good food. The menu is divided into vegan and non-vegan entrees and I went with the three-dish combo for $7.50. I chose the butternut squash dish, a chickpea dish, and a potato one. The whole thing comes with white rice (sadly, no option for brown rice) and also dahl (lentils). I also had a curried vegetable roti roll ($2.25).

First, the food is great. It's fresh, light and flavorful which is extremely rare in the world of North Indian cooking. I am of Indian descent and I can't tell you how consistently disappointed I am with North Indian restaurant food: it's oily, heavy, bland and unsubtle. Mum's, however, makes North Indian food properly and emphasizes the vegetables and spices and is sparing with its use of oil and salt. Be warned: some of the dishes here can be quite spicy. The chickpeas, in particular, packed a serious kick.

The roti roll was also great: the roti Mum's makes is soft and just slightly chewy. Perfection.

So why only three stars? Well, there are a few major problems:

1. The service is extremely slow. While Mum's claims to slow-cook everything, the length of time we waited for our food was unacceptable, especially given that Mum's is a cart. We waited at least 15 minutes for our order. And we were the only customers. I can't imagine what it would be like if there were other people wanting food.

2. The slow-cooking claim is only partly true. Some of the food is slow-cooked; on the other hand, Mum's also uses a microwave. How do I know? Well, the back of the microwave is right in front of you as you wait for your order; when it's on, its exhaust actually blows right on you. Not a good job of hiding the appliance.

3. I'm not a neat-freak, but this cart is pretty grimy. There were cobwebs right at corners of the ordering window, for god's sake.

If Mum's sped up its service, ditched the microwave, added brown rice, cleaned up a bit, and also added a few special vegan items (how about dishes with tofu? seitan? tempeh? mockmeats? homemade chai with soy milk? vegan Indian desserts?) I would give it another star.

As it stands, Mum's makes excellent Indian food, but it has a few problems that force me to qualify my praise.

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  • Indian
  • South African


As seen from the street, May 2011

As seen from the street, May 2011


11am - 6:30pm

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