Tiffin Asha Food Cart – A Portland Food Cart Review


Tiffin Asha Food Cart – A Portland Food Cart Review

Go To This Food Cart!

Tiffin Asha specialize in cuisine from Southern India.

I was lucky enough visit this GR8 Food Cart on their first day of business AKA Day One, and I have been back  a number of times since. The food and the flavors are different from anything else that I have ever had at a Food Cart and I loved it!


Elizabeth makes the Food Cart Magic happen at Tiffin Asha!

She prepares dishes that are like you would find on the streets of Chennai, India. Of course, Elizabeth does add a Pacific Northwest twist to some of her dishes, i.e. the Smokey Shroom Brunch Dosa does have Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue Cheese on it.

As with many GR8 Food Carts, Elizabeth is working from family recipes. Elizabeth’s wife  is from southern India and Elizabeth is working with recipes handed down to her by her mother-in-law. I am sure that her mother-in-law is very proud of what Elizabeth is doing!


Eating at Tiffin Asha is an enchanting experience! Fun, flavorful and damn good. Wait till I tell you about the Gunpowder and their cart made chutney!

One more thing before we get the food – Tiffin means snack or light meal and Asha means hope or wish. Tiffin Asha is Elizabeth’s “own little hope or wish.”

Okay time for the food that I have deeply enjoyed!




At Tiffin Asha – Dosa is a fermented dal and rice crepe that is brushed with Neyyi (clarified butter). Elizabeth makes her own Dosa and it is the foundation of many of her dishes.

Brunch Dosa – Smokey Shroom

From 11-2 you can order of one three brunch dosas. the Smokey Shroom is the one I have had… At least so far. I keep promising myself to go back and get the B.A.T.

The Smokey Shroom is very hearty – the fried egg along with  the smokiness of the blue cheese bring a rich, bold taste. The onions contribute a delicate sweetness and the mushrooms pull it all together. If you like mushrooms and blue cheese, get this dish!


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Dosa – Paper, Hot Chick, and Studly Spud.

I have very much enjoyed all three of the Dosa’s references above. Get the Paper Dosa to enjoy with the Gunpowder and/or chutney. Hold on, hold on, I will get to the Gunpowder in a bit. I really enjoyed the cinnamon in the Studly Spud.

The chicken in the Hot Chick was perfectly cooked. While it looked like fried chicken  keep in mind that we are talking South India not the Southern US. I loved it, however it did take me a bit to get use to a fried chicken dish that had a south india flavor profile.


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Vada Holes

In traditional south indian cooking, Vada is a savory donut, that is shaped like a cake donut would be here in the US. Elizabeth serves her Vada as doughnut holes and they are terrific. Light and perfect for dunking into Sambar or Chutney!

The Vada Holes are definitely savory and and yet they have have a subtle coconut taste that is a very pleasing surprise.



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This is the soup reminds me of an exotic, grown up version of tomato soup. Every time I go to Tiffin Asha I make sure to get myself a bowl!

I recently had some ask me “what do you do with the Sambar?”


I enjoy Sambar all by itself, I also love dunk Vada Holes or Idli into my Sambar. Speaking of Idli…




Idli is a delightful little cloud with a delicate flavor and a spongy cake-like texture. Idli is made with fermented dal and rice.  I bought Idli on my fourth visit to Tiffin Asha.  I loved it and once I tasted it I immediately wished it that I had gotten some on my first visit!



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I love the cart made chutney that you can get at Tiffin Asha!

The Chandra’s Peanut has a subtle mild flavor. The Cilantro is very bright with a pleasantly spicy after taste. The Green Mango has a quite a kick and the Coconut has a fantastic coconut flavor! As you can probably guess, the coconut is my favorite.

The only thing better than the Chutney at Tiffin Asha is the GUNPOWDER!


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This is such cool stuff! I asked Elizabeth if they had “gunpowder” in India and she told me that they have “podi” www.wikipedia.org/wiki/podi and that she came up with the name “gunpowder” for her version of podi. I am quite enchanted with gunpowder. It is a fun way to deliver even more flavor to food that already rocks!

The Black Gunpowder is made with black sesame. The Red is made with peanuts and dried red chili. The White is made with three different kinds of dal – Toor, Urad (Yes I am, and so are you), and Chana.

When you go to Tiffin Asha make sure that get both chutney and gunpowder.

Let me say it one more time –

 Go To This Food Cart!

That’s it!

I am Steven Shomler and I am a Fan of Portland’s Great Food Carts.

  Portland Food Cart Adventures – We tell the stories of Portland’s GR8 Food Carts and the people who make Food Cart Magic happen.

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This entry was posted in 13th and Alberta, Food Cart Reviews, Food Carts on Alberta, Indian, South Indian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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