Mumbai, the city which sees a deluge of people coming from far and wide, offers an opportunity to everyone to pursue their dreams, an opportunity to make a living and be a source of sustenance for their families who live in villages with limited opportunities. What it also offers is a full stomach to keep going, there is something that satiates the gustatory senses of all classes of people. Having lived in Mumbai for almost eighteen years, I have witnessed the splendid platter of food that reflects the fluidity with which food of all cultures have been absorbed by this place while preserving its own ethnicity. The street foods of Mumbai are a true picture of its rich culture and its inclusiveness, they almost define this city’s character.
The connoisseurs of good life and good food must try these foods of Mumbai which over the years have become synonymous to the soul of Mumbai.
PavBhaji is in the menu of all the vegetarian food outlets, Mumbai ensures that you do not miss out on this buttery melting delight. The bhaji ( vegetables with masalas) and the fluffy pavs are a treat for the taste buds but when in Mumbai the experience of tasting the tastiest Pav Bhaji is complete when you visit Sardars, a five minute walk from the Central station. Cannon Pav Bhaji , close to CST is a delight for the thousands of daily commuters who stop by to grab a quick bite at just Rs 40/-per plate.
Another dish that just blows your mind with its simplicity yet the richness of taste is Misal Pav, A complete healthy meal made of mixed beans sprouts, spices, chopped onions and tomatoes is served with Farsan (crunchy snacks or mixture) and curd is a perfect delight for the taste buds. An early morning visit to Siddhi Vinayak followed by a dish of Misal Pav at Aaswad with a cup of filter coffee is a perfect way to lift up your spirits. This Maharashtrian delight also holds the honour of being the world’s tastiest vegetarian dish at the Global Foodie Hub awards.
Popularly called poor man’s burger, it stimulates the taste buds of one and all. The deep-fried potato filling dipped in gram flour batter served with Pav, is the best option when you want a quick bite. Then there is the Dabeli, Vada Pav’s sister.The special spicy Dabeli Masala made with crushed peanuts, mashed potatoes and an assortment of spices which is garnished with Sev, pomegranate seeds and chutney. The spicy, tang, sweet sour melts in your mouth and stays for a long time. You get it in every nook and cranny of Mumbai.
4.The Bhajias, Vadas and Bhel
When the pocket is light and there is a reason to celebrate, one must head to Chowpatty, Aska or Marine Drive. Munching on the KandaBhajia ( onion rings dipped in gram flour batter), moong vadas (moong dal in gram flour) or MirchiVadas ( non-spicy long green chillies), feeling the sea breeze on the face, you can make memories for a lifetime in just Rs.20—40/- per plate. Or when you want to catch a quiet moment in this busy city, take a pack of bhel and stare at the sea or watch the method in the madness of the city. Bhel is heavenly, puffed rice, with boiled potato, tamarind chutney, a lot of onion and green chillies, you cannot help falling in love with it.
5.Sev Puri , Pani Puri and Dahi Puri
The crisp flat puris loaded with potato, onion, cucumber, tomato, coriander, a lot of nylon sev, and the unique combination of sweet, chilli and garlic chutneys, makes it a must-have dish.And then there are the crisp, fluffy puris which have moong sprouts, mashed potatoes, boiled peas that are dipped in the tamarind sweet and spicy green chilli laden mixture and popped in the mouth. Then wait for the explosion of tastes to sink in…heavenly!!. It now enjoys an equal position in my list of best street foods alongside the phuchka from West Bengal on which I have drooled right from the moment I could feel and express taste.
That the otherwise bland white peas can be so stimulating dawned on me when I met with this dish called Ragda Pattice. Overnight soaked white peas along with masalas served with patties made with boiled potatoes is truly sumptuous.Most popular kind of chaat at the Mumbai Beaches, numerous vendors sell them.
Not a fan of milk based desserts, I was coerced to try Falooda by a close friend. Unwillingly, without any expectation, I took my first spoon from the king size glass of Falooda at Bachelorr’s at Chowpatty and instantly fell in love with this piece of art.It is an Indian adaptation of the Persian dessert, a rich drink of thickened milk with vermicelli strands, almonds, pistachios, rose syrup, and basil seeds, topped with ice-cream , Kulfi of varied flavours. It is divine.
And if you thought Mumbai street food is all about vegetarian food, the variety and richness of the non-vegetarian and seafood will blow you up. The Kombdi Vada, the ubiquitous Shawarmas, the Baida Roti, the kheema Pav, mutton rassa with Bhakri, the momos, the kebabs , the chicken kathi rolls are only a few from the list of unending non vegetarian food.
It requires a dedicated feature that will take you through the aroma and palatial pleasures offered at the Khau Gallis of Mumbai. So, watch out for more.