Mumbai is a city of dreams. Here people come to realise their potential, work for every penny and.. and to relish the delicious delicacies that line up the crowded streets of Mumbai. The food of Mumbai has often been passed off as bland by mostly Delhites and Calcuttians who believe that no one can beat their food. Yet, a closer inspection and a knack to eating around all day would reveal the variety of food that exists in the Maximum City. It is safe to say, that the only reason the cuisine or the dishes of Aamchi Mumbai is unappreciated is because of the lack of awareness.
So, I took it upon myself to discover the hidden treasure of this gem of a city and unearth the mystical foods that dance on the taste buds.
Recommended: Mumbai city day tour
As I landed up in Mumbai for the very first time, all my eyes could focus are on the innumerable Vada Pav stalls that exist in this city. Vada Pavs are pretty much the staple street food of Mumbai and there is a strong reason for that. Vada Pav came into existence along with the industrial revolution in Mumbai. The workers had to work day in and day out so they needed a quick yet energetic and wholesome snack. That is when Vada Pav came into the picture. The bread provided the energy in the form of carbohydrates and the small size of the dish made it easier and quicker to eat.
Vada Pav can be yes described as a vegetable burger. It comprises of a white fluffed up bun that has been cut from the middle and stuffed with a potato mash. The taste is absolutely delightful when paired with the chutney and some chillies for the extra kick. If there was one food to describe Mumbai- it would be a Vada Pav.
India is famous for its chaats. There are so many different kinds of chaats that it is difficult to pick one favourite. But if I had to pick one, it would be Mumbai’s, Sev Puri.
This particularly fun dish is made with round flat puris, topped with all kinds of vegetables like- onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and coriander. It is then topped with a confluence of amazing sauces like tamarind sauce, chilli sauce and sweet chutney. What really adds to this dish is the sev which is covered with a pinch of chaat masala.
As I took one bite of this delightful symphony I was straight into heaven. All the little flavours were coming together in my mouth to form a beautiful symphony of flavours and each little thing added its own bite.
This is another Mumbai dish which is extremely hard to miss. This has actually become synonyms to the city and you cannot leave this city without tasting this absolutely mouth-watering dish.
This dish too has a lot of history associated with the industrial revolution in Mumbai. This too concerns the workers. It is said that this dish came into existence when one worker after a tiring night decided to mash up the leftovers and created a the Bhaji. After that, all of the other workers ate that up with some bread or Pav.
Currently, the main ingredients are – potatoes, tomatoes and some spices which are served with some buttered toast to make it a wholesome and delicious meal.
It will be a real tragedy to miss this one when in Mumbai.
While Mumbai is no Lucknow, it still boasts of some enviable variety of delicious Kebabs and Rolls. These delicacies can be found in small crowded lanes and have the most amazing smell to them.
I had the amazing fortune of visiting and trying out these delicacies during Ramadan at Muhammad Ali Road.
This area in Mumbai is popular for its absolute mouth watering Kebabs- and I being a hardcore year lover just had to try it.
I went there after dark, and as I walked along the increasingly crowded road I could feel the energy. The roads are haphazard and there are people and cars and bikes all on the same road. The roads are lined with colourful restaurants, hawkers with dazzling light and a lot of honking. The only thing that makes this place heavenly is the food.
The vendor sits back and fans the kebabs and rolls to keep the flies away and occasionally that one whiff of cooked tandoori meat just fills the air with a new charm. I had the Bhuna Roll- which is made with roomali roti and packed with minced meat.
After tasting this wonderful preparation I can hand down say that this was probably the best dish I had ever had.
This was a dish that I had heard so much about that I just had to try it. Mainly, the name of the dish induces a sense of curiosity. This dish doesn’t actually serve duck. Bombay duck is actually a type of lizardfish, which is popular in this part of India.
The fish is first fried with semolina to ensure a hard yet crispy layer is formed, and inside the meat is still juicy and filled with oil and cream to make it delicious.
I was already salivating with this sizzling dish hit the table and was converted into a fish lover after tasting this dish.
Walking along the dusty road, I found this sandwich vendor totally engrossed in his work. He took two slices of bread, buttered it with style and added all possible ingredients. He then swiftly put the slices of bread together and put them inside this griller which can be held in hand. He then closed the griller, twisted them and kind of danced around with the griller and set it down on a flame. Occasionally turning the griller on the other side.
The process itself was so fascinating that I had to try this lovely Bombay sandwich.
The vendor was more than excited to show me his entire process again as I ordered one Bombay sandwich with extra cheese. Paired with a cutting chai, this delicious snack is what my food journey in Mumbai complete.
There are so many more dishes that I wish my stomach could try. Mumbai is filled with so many cultures that this hybrid has produced some excellent dishes. From the Iranian Bun Maska to the Gujarati Dabeli, this metropolitan city has its all.
You must not miss the Iranian food that exists thanks to the several Parsi cafes- Berry Pulau and Bun Maska is a must.
The Konkan Cuisine also makes a mark in here, and many restaurants serve up the best Goan curries.
The Marathi cuisine itself with Puran Puli is worth trying and any local Maharashtrian restaurant will have the best of the best Marathi cuisine.
My food journey, for now, came to an end, but I know there is still so much more than my tongue has yet to taste in this city. I can’t wait to come back and try more of these tasty delicacies again.