“Amchi Mumbai” with its glamour and bright lights, is not just a city of dreams, but also a center of street food where every nook and corner offers a whole sequence of dishes to suit every bodies sense of taste.
Strolling down the streets of Mumbai, one could find a complete mish-mash of vulnerable food items ranging from Kheema Pav at Crawford market to white biryani at Bhendi Bazaar. Mumbai’s cuisine is a blend of several other cuisines from different parts of India.
However before the system of street food was actually introduced different suburbs of Mumbai were classified with their own food style and cuisine, just like the coastal city a residence to the Koli community was especially known for its seafood and that in the interior city of Mumbai lay the South Indian and Irani flavors. Now the concept of categorization has changed, a blend of different food items is what one can picture.
So let’s get a gist of the delicious Food items available on the Streets of Mumbai.
“Vada Pav bole toh Jhakaas”. It is the street food that defines Mumbai. Not just the vegetarians or the non-vegetarians but for everybody out there Vada Pav is a delightful snack. It is usually served with dry garlic chutney and a pair of chilies which makes it an amazing blend.
Misal Pav is another best example of World’s Tastiest Vegetarian Dish. The secret of preparing this dish lies in the home-made spices and the fresh Farsan toppings. Foreigners who don’t understand the concept of ‘misal’ which is a Marathi word for mix tend to confuse it with ‘missile’.
It is the main item on the agenda of Bombay. It consists of a thick vegetable curry served with a soft bread roll. Pav Bhaji has many variations in ingredients, but the mesmerizing aspect of consuming it truly lies in the enormous lump of butter drowning inside the bhaji. The entire mess looks like heaven in one’s plate.
Who can ever refuse to have a Pani puri? To all the pani puri lovers out there it’s the easiest way to be happy. Served with crispy shells, mashed potatoes, and yellow peas along with a tint of spice, sour mango and mint form a perfect combination.
It has also been named as ‘Golgappe’ receiving an update in the various forms that it has been consumed i.e everybody loves consuming it in recent Pani puri shots style.
A perfect start to one’s morning accompanied by hot chai, something which is light, tasty and soothes one’s taste buds. The best way to have it is to dip the pav into the hot chai and flavor every bite. The concept of maska pav kicked off with the foundation of Irani cafes in Mumbai.
It is considered as Mumbai’s beloved street food. The ‘sandwich wallas’ have a variety of sandwiches mentioned on the menu card and are always happy to customize each one of them according to the customers’ tastes. The more the grill, the crispier and tasty is the sandwich with of course the sev garnished all over it. One could taste of toast sandwich out of Mumbai but not Mumbai out of the toasted sandwich.
Dabeli literally means ‘pressed ‘in the Gujarati language. Another sweet/spicy snack made by mixing boiled and smashed potatoes served with tamarind and date chutney, garnished with pomegranate, roasted peanuts, grapes and of course the mandatory item ‘sev’ is daily consumed by many customers.
Falooda is considered the best for late-night cravings. It is perfect for soothing one’s sweet tooth. Distinctly flavored with not just rose syrup but other fruity flavors as well as one dessert which certainly is not to be missed. If one craves for dry fruit toppings, falooda is the best to beat the heat during summers.
Consuming the Chowpatty Bhel is said to be the stereotypical experiences in Mumbai. A beautiful evening at the Chowpatty with the hustle-bustle of the hawkers, the noisy crowd and off course the food carts selling this amazing chat, everything comes together to create a scene like no other.
The Chowpatty bhel is usually served in a paper folded in the form of a cone and is consumed using a paper spoon or a papdi which an important element of the chat family.
While strolling down the food gallis of Mumbai, one would see a great dish made using chopped meat strings along with vegetables and spices all combine to form a paste, then neatly wrapped with all-purpose flour and lastly deep-fried. These delicious combinations are patties structured which are served with Szechwan chutney or sometimes even with ketchup. Baida Roti is a rich flavored dish which originates from the Mughlai recipes.
Frankie, a dish made using Indian Flatbread, grilled and later stuffed with a variety of delicious fillings and seasoned to suit each and every customer’s taste. Street shops have huge menu boards describing the variety of filing a Frankie can be changed to.
Sometimes customers even demand customized Frankies asking the seller to add some more spice or noodles and create weird but tasty combinations. Some love the yummy noodle to be a part of their filing, some go on for pure cheese while some love the spicy Szechwan dripping from the ends. It’s an amazing snack for those on the run- spicy, tasty and so easy to make.
Another popular dish among Mumbai’s street food is an easy to make snack. Not just popular on Mumbai’s streets but also Kanda poha is every housewife’s favorite recipe, best suited for a perfect start in the morning.
Kanda Poha is a mixture of flaked rice (poha) and onions along with potatoes, green chilies, and peas. Mustard seeds are then used to modulate the mixture and later garnished with fresh coriander. This dish is a part of Maharashtra cuisine, tasty and quick filling breakfast.
Masala Dosa is a complete South Indian dish which has its origins from Mangalorean cuisine. Customers are amazed looking at the huge wrapped dosa and can’t wait to consume it as it is highly tempting.
Dosa has many variations with the two most common Masala dosa and the plain dosa, also another recent variation which is called as Szechwan dosa. It is usually stuffed with potato bhaji and served with sambhar and coconut chutney. Loved by all, it’s suggested not just over the country but also across the world.
Kebabs got its origin from Middle Eastern cuisine. This dish consists of sliced meat pieces along with vegetables and herbs, sometimes cooked on a skewer over the fire or sometimes just baked on a pan.
On the streets of Mumbai, one could see heaps of these kebabs cooked on a skewer. These juicy kebabs are available in a combination of different spices, with or without veggies, fully cooked and served with pudina chutney or sometimes with Szechwan chutney. Adds to the best combination of evening starters one could have ever consumed.
As the trend of Arabian food is fast picking, so are the taste preferences of Mumbaikars are changing. Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods which trace its origin from the Arabian Peninsula. It is a wrap of minced meat and vegetables rolled in Khabus (pita bread). Mumbaikars cannot deny the strong influences from neighboring countries on its palette. The roll is a perfect combination of meat, tomatoes, and fries along with a heavy filling of mayonnaise is one expensive-looking texture Mumbaikars love to indulge in.
16.Akuri on Toast
Akuri is one of the greatest Parsi dishes one would have ever tasted. It is made using eggs but in a completely different pattern using scrambled eggs. Akuri suits every taste bud when consumed with pav or rotis. The main flavoring of Akuri dish includes fried onions; along with spices garnished include ginger, coriander, finely chopped chilies, and black pepper.
Akuri on toast is much similar to Egg Bhurji but has a completely different variation of presenting it.
Sabudana Vada is mainly considered as ‘upvas’ dish by Maharashtrians. Street food vendors never fail to compel this crispy vada for those who look for a perfectly healthy and light breakfast. These Sabudana vadas are created into palm-sized patties and then are served with coconut chutney or best dipped in tomato ketchup and then one bite leads to another and another
Ragda Patties is another essential part of the Chaat Family. This dish counts among the popular street food offering. Having ragda patties gives its customers a twin enchant of ragda which is a combination of finely chopped onions, tomato, sev, and flavored chickpeas and the patty drowning in the gravy which is made from mashed potatoes and the fried.
Its toppings include the tamarind chutney along with fiery green chutney. Crushing the ragda with patties is the ideal way of consuming this dish.
This dish can be traced back to the Chinese cuisine. Chicken Manchurian requires a two-stage preparation, again easily available in the Mumbai’s street food gallis. This dish includes two variations can be deep-fried and then served dry with garnished onion or cabbage toppings and secondly deeply fried and mixed with Manchurian gravy.
This dish is a perfect combination to consume as a starter. Its taste can vary from mild spicy to hot and fiery as per the customer’s preference.
Bombay duck, a fish found abundantly in the coastal belt of Mumbai. Bombil/Bombay duck is said to be a fisher man’s favorite fish. This dish requires a simplistic preparation and has attained an iconic reputation in Maharashtrian cuisine in terms of Bombay’s seafood.
These fresh bombils are flattened and dipped in rava or bread crumbs and then fried. These taste crunchy and crispy from outside but are extremely soft and spongy from inside and can be consumed as a main course.
Unlike many other cities, Mumbai’s food is still closely connected to its street sale and is also largely an expression of the assimilation process, authenticated by its constant dynamism.