A vacation to the City of Dreams can be a wonderful experience for even the most jaded traveler. There is always going to be so much to do, so much to see and so much to experience that you will surely not get enough of your stay here, no matter how many days you have! However, there are a few ways to make the most of your trip to Mumbai.
One of the special things about Mumbai is its street food. Mumbai is said to be the city of a million hawkers, as millions of people migrate here from all over India to earn a living. As a result, there is tremendous competition between all the street food vendors and you will find the best kind of street food here.
So dive in as we explore the top five types of street food you have to try if you come to Mumbai:
This is a universally adored dish by all Indians and served in most corners of India. However, the way each city specializes in preparing this dish is different. Pani puri is such a well-loved dish that you will find roadside vendors selling it on almost every corner around sundown. Watching the preparation is half the fun: the vendor will make a hole in the puri (savoury fried hollow preparation), then fill it with boondi, ragda made from chickpeas, potatoes, onions or sprouts, then fill it halfway with sweet-and-sour tamarind and jaggery sauce, then top it with spicy ‘pani’, a liquid sauce made from mint, coriander, spices and chillies.
The most famous place in Mumbai that serves pav bhaji, a delicious combination of mashed vegetables prepared with lots of spices served with bread, is Sardar’s Refreshments, near Mumbai Central railway station. Served in metal plates with separated containers, with one container will contain the spicy thick vegetables with a whole slab of butter dunked into it. The bread is buttered as well, so much that it looks yellow. Served with lemon and freshly cut onions, this is a feast fit for a king.
Bademiya’s is one of the most famous and oldest establishments, and they have maintained their status purely as street foods. Serving you delicious food from off the side of the street, Bademiya’s has established themselves as the pioneer of late-night charcoaled street food. After a long walk on Marine Drive, arrive here to be served with a huge menu from grilled chicken tikkas, paneer tikkas, mutton delicacies, and a special item called roomali roti: roti as thin as a handkerchief. You won’t need condiments, the dish is delicious in and of itself.
Olympia’s is a way different scene than the one that surrounds it: it is nothing like the touristy cafes around Colaba that serve only Western food like croissants and fry-ups. At Olympia’s, ask for a kheema pav: a plate of fried minced meat in plenty of spices and chilies served with freshly baked bread. This particular haunt may feel a bit uncomfortable for female visitors as it is purely frequented by men, but all the customers and waiters are extremely friendly and helpful.
You cannot come to Mumbai and miss this. Last but not the least, vada pav is a traditional Mumbai snack that millions of Mumbaikars, from students to construction workers, enjoy on their lunch break. Potatoes, chilies, garlic, and coriander are minced together, then golden-fried in chickpea flour. A piece of bread is cut in half, laden with chutneys and spices of all kinds, and the vada (potato patty) is placed between it, topped with onions and served hot. Sometimes, they may serve deep-fried green chilies if you want extra hotness with your meal.
These dishes are adored by most Mumbaikars, and you will be doing yourself a major disservice by coming to Mumbai but missing out on any of these delicious treats.