Street Food 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. The street food in Mumbai is there 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.

Experience the mouth-watering street food in Mumbai during your trip and live like a local would! (Photo credits to: Andreas Mariotti)

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Top five street food and local delicacies you must NOT miss when in Mumbai

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 and it is probably the most versatile when it comes to street food. Reflective of its 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! You can try to best veg street food in Mumbai as long as you know what’s what.

Here is some further advice on street food in Jaipur and Calcutta.

Street food vendors in Mumbai (Photo credits to: Kristaaaaa, Flickr)

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Vada Pav

You definitely have to begin your street food adventure with this one!  India’s take on the burger! The king when it comes to street food in Mumbai. 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 favourite lunch snack for Mumbaikars, especially the ones who are in a rush or don’t have the money to have a proper meal. The vada pav is one of the few truly indigenous street foods of the city that developed directly from Maharashtrian and Portuguese cuisine.

Vada Pav is among the best street food in Mumbai and one to try for the non-meat lovers.

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.  

The King of Mumbai's Street food. The Vada Pav! The King of Mumbai’s Street food. The Vada Pav!

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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.  Another dish that is considered as the best veg street food in Mumbai. 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 its Pav Bhaji and the icing on the cake is that both are open well after midnight.

Mouth-watering Pav Bhaji at Sardars! Mouth-watering Pav Bhaji at Sardars!

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Kebabs

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.

 Kebabs!! A favorite amongst Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians alike Kebabs! A favourite with all meat lovers

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Pani Puri

Mumbaikars swear by 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. Though spice comes hand in hand to make the most delicious street food in Mumbai, so we recommend you add a little zing to your dishes.

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!

Gol Gappas in Delhi! Paani Puri in Mumbai!! Gol Gappas in Delhi! Paani Puri in Mumbai!!

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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 in Mumbai on this list), this is a favourite amongst Mumbaikars as 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.

Bhel Puri served in your typical street food dish made from newspaper (Photo credits to: Vinh Dao, Flickr)

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