Top five street food and local delicacies you must NOT miss when in Mumbai
Being the mad foodies that we are, we believe nothing defines a city like the street food it offers to its citizens; the regular and enthusiastic consumption of street food of the city is the major difference between a local and the tourist. A local knows his street food, a traveller wants to. This is the food you turn to when you are tired of the ‘ghar ka khana’ (home-cooked meal) or stuck somewhere and struck by hunger pangs or it’s that time of the month when your wallet’s light and you can’t afford a restaurant meal and McDonalds is just blah!.
Street food is the signature of a city, something that you can only find in a particular place, you can’t separate the food from the city and the city from the food, this is what the locals eat and swear by. If you want to see what the people of a certain place are like, try their street food.
In our first part of the ‘Street food in India’ series, we begin with the maximum city of Mumbai. Why Mumbai? Because India Someday is based in Mumbai, also because Mumbai is probably the most versatile when it comes to street food.reflective of it’s cosmopolitan ethos, the city draws in cuisines from across the country and makes them it’s own. Mumbai has enough delicacies to satisfy the most discerning eater, whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian or even vegan!
1. Vada Pav
You definitely have to begin your street food adventure with this one! The king when it comes to street-food. Easy on the wallet and the food you can relate to most with Mumbaikars (citizens of Mumbai). It’s hot and it’s spicy; you can have it with the sweet tamarind & date chutney if a little too spicy for your palate.
A favorite lunch snack for Mumbaikars especially the ones who are in a rush (getting between places) or don’t have the money to have a proper meal, the vada pav is one of the few truly indigenious street foods of the city that developed directly from Maharashtrian and Portuguese cuisine.
Where can I have this? Getting a vada pav in Mumbai isn’t tough; you will find it almost everywhere.
Which one doles out the best? Aaram Vadapav, CST (42, Mint Road, Opposite GPO, Fort, Mumbai). It is a small stall right across the famous UNESCO World Heritage Railway station CST in South Mumbai. Dig into this with a side order of cutting chai! If you’re a fan of crunch, try out the samosa pav as well.
Hint: the stall is attached to a little restaurant and they serve up a variety of fresh and inexpensive local delicacies.
2. Pav Bhaji
Another delicacy that tastes best in Mumbai, Pav Bhaji is a vegetable mash in thick tomato and potato curry, laden with generous amounts of butter, served with the local pav bread and garnished with onions and lemon juice. Even the thought of Pav Bhaji makes one salivate.
Where can I have this? We suggest Sardar Pav Bhaji in Tardeo, near Grand Road station (Western Line) if you are in town.
If you are staying in the suburbs, Amar Juice Center is best known for it’s Pav Bhaji and the icing on the cake is that both are open well after midnight.
This one’s for our non-vegetarian friends. Mumbai, just like the rest of our country has a sizable vegetarian population. However finding non-veg street food isn’t difficult either. You can find the most delicious Kebabs on the streets of Mumbai.
Where can I have this? Sarvi we’d suggest, a 90 year old establishment with unbeatable mutton seekh kebabs. It is in Byculla, just next to the Nagpada police station. Get down at Bombay Central station to get here.
4. Pani Puri
Mumbaikars swear by pani-puri and that’s what it is here, Pani-Puri. Not the gol gappas, or puchkas of other cities, they are Mumbai’s own pani-puris. A small crisp hollow puri, full of spicy mint flavoured water, tamarind chutney, chickpeas, potatos and lentils is a very refreshing dish. Please do not miss this if you are in Mumbai. If you can’t handle spice, let it be known to the guy making you Pani-Puri in advance to avoid breathing fire or being reduced to tears.
Where can I have this? We suggest Elco in Bandra or Kailash Parbat in Colaba, both these outlets use mineral water so there are no hygiene issues, also the taste is absolutely delicious. Don’t forget to ask for your sukha puri in the end!
5. Bhel Puri
Bhel Puri is one of the most popular Mumbai dishes, a dish made of puffed rice, onions, sev, chat masala and chutneys, cheap, light and not as unhealthy (healthiest street food on this list) this is a favourite amongst Mumbaikars and a popular evening snack.
Where can I have this? Sharmajee and Badshahs at Girgaum Chowpatty, near Charni Road station are popular for their lip smacking Bhel Puri,