Mumbai gets as good at it is in being a foodie town. However there are some things that are so uniquely Bombay-ish that they don’t taste the same anywhere else…or come out as poor imitations in other cities.
The following is a list of Eats that are truly Mumbaikerish. Not to be mistaken with 7 Eating places which will follow in the week ahead.
1) Vada Pav
The poor man’s snack. Potato Patty pressed in the middle of bread with chutney/sauce. As simple as it can get. Bang for the buck. Perfect pick up and go food. Found at nearly every street corner. Bombay’s answer to the New York Hot Dog. Should be had piping hot at a roadside vendor only. Never eat in a restaurant…its a fake if its served in a restaurant
Mix some rice puffs with sev, onions, potatoes, teekha and meetha chutney add some crushed poori’s and lo and behold you have the Bhel. World over its called Bombay Bhel, here is is just bhel. Its many cousins include Sev Puri, Dahi Batata Puri, Pani Puri et al. A perfectly sumptious vegetarian snack. Can never go wrong. Has to be had freshly mixed, preferably at the stall. Definitely tastes better at a roadside hawker than in a posh restaurant.
3) Sheekh Kebab
Perfectly skewered and grilled pieces of meat cut in small bite sized botis. Its various cousins include the longer sheekh kebabs, khiri, kaleji, gurda, and in some cases chicken too. Tastes best when fresh off the charcoal grill. Onions and nimbu sprinkled over with green chutney makes it a wonderful evening/night snack. Enhances the taste and experience of alcoholic drinks
4) Roadside Chinese
Hungry Eyes, Dragon of China, Hunan Emperor, China King, are just some of the flashier names of chinese tapris all over the cities. The food is cooked only when u order it and the speed at which it is cooked is a sight to behold. Not the tastiest of meals but then everything tastes good when it is hot. Sweet corn chicken soup and Half Manchurian rice are the prize winners though lollipops come a close second best.
5) Pav Bhaji
The one dish that had north Indian origins and was bastardized by the cooks of Bombay. Its now better than the original…whatever it was. A medley of veggies mixed with tomatoes have the shits beaten out of them. They are pulverized into a puree like texture and with spices make up an amazing meal. Has to be had with a slice of butter (diet be damned) and sliced onions and oil fried in butter. If your hands aint oily, you aint eating it correctly.
6) Mewad Ice Cream
There are the Naturels and the Gokuls of the city but nothing beats the simple taste of Mewad Ice Cream and Fruit Salad. Be it Anjeer Draksh, Badam Pista, or the full or half fruit salad with icecream, nothing ever tasted better. Still at Rs 5, it gives a fantastic value for money taste.
7) Pepsi Cola, Gola, Sherbet
Pepsi Cola here is not the coke rival I am talking about. Its the long thin tube of plastic containing frozen ice in different flavors. There are milk varieties too. It was staple food in my childhood and I dare say it still is. So is the ice golawala and the sherbet he makes. One has to try the tiranga….or the tricolor gola there and show their patriotism.
So now as your mouth is watering….what are your 7 favorite Mumbai Eats ?