Best available at: Cannon Pav Bhaji on Dadabhaji Naoroji Road near CST
When in Mumbai, devouring on Pav Bhaji is unavoidable. An assortment of mashed vegetables luxuriously tossed in butter and cooked in several Indian spices and seasoning, the bhaaji (curry) is served with butter applied bun bread (pav) heated on a pan. The dish is served with chutneys and chopped onions and chillies. It is the quintessential dish of Mumbai that is sure to kill your hunger pangs at wee hours with the stalls open till past midnight. The dish was originated in the 1850s as a fast lunch meal for textile mill workers in Mumbai. The taste and easy preparation style took over the spotlight and soon it became one of the delicacies of the city, being served at posh restaurants as well. Pav bhaji is now offered at outlets from simple hand carts to formal restaurants in India and abroad. The dish has several variations in ingredients and garnishes, with the main curry of spiced mixture of mashed vegetables remain the same with a signature mouthwatering aroma. Some of the most common varieties of Pav Bhaji are cheese pav bhaji, paneer pav bhaji and Kolhapuri pav bhaji. Foreigners might try white pav bhaji which is cooked without chilli powder and spices.
What: Street food
Best available at: Anand Vada Pav Stall and Parleshwar Vada Pav Samrat in Vile Parle West
Vada Pav is the Indian version of burger, and stands on the top of Mumbai street food list. Served as a breakfast, this street food is a pride of the city with several tweaks and variations in taste. The closest cousins of Vada Pav are Samosa Pav, Kheema Pav and Dabeli to name a few. Vada Pav is essentially a bun bread (pav) with a fritter (vada) stuffed with mashed potato. The dish is served with spicy and sweet chutneys, fried chillies and garlic powder chutney to come up with a delectable taste and appetizing experience. The birth of Vada Pav on the streets of Mumbai is believed to be given by Ashok Vaidya in 1996. The idea and the existence of Vada Pav came into front when the snack-seller decided to experiment with snacks at his stall outside Dadar railway station. The first stall of Vada Pav was setup by Vaidya near Dadar station which gained immense popularity and the rest was a history on the streets and every nook and corner of Mumbai. So much is the fame of Vada Pav in the city, that there is a documentary tracing its legacy that got nominated for Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
Best available at: Khyani & Co. in Marine Lines and Jimmy Boy on Bank Street near Horniman Circle
Akuri, or better known as scrambled eggs, is the most noteworthy gift of the Parsi community to the city of Mumbai which holds a strong bond with the Parsi community. The impression of Akuri and its immense fame as one of the most popular street food is evident with its availability at every joints, cafes and stalls. The traditionally prepared Akuri has occupied a predominant position in the city?s gastronomical space. While making Akuri, it is considered that the eggs are never overcooked and the consistency is almost runny. The main flavoring thing is fried onion and the spices that include ginger, coriander, chopped chilis and black pepper as the main flavors. The preparation is eaten with pav or sliced bread or toasts to make it a complete meal, often consumed as a popular breakfast item. The less common version of Akuri is bharuchi akuri which is richer in preparation with the addition of nuts and dry fruits along with the other spices. This variation originated in Bharuch, Gujarat which accounts for its name.
What: Street food
Best available at: Kailash Parbat at Sheela Mahal in Colaba
Ragda Pattice is one of the most popularly sold and consumed street foods of Mumbai. This delicious platter is a combination of ragda (soft and spicey rugged flavored chick peas) and pattice (deep fried patties of mashed potatoes). Ragda is a less spicy stew of rehydrated dried white peas cooked in a multiple variety of Indian spices to come up with a semi-gravy curry. Pattice or patties are cakes of mashed potatoes. The ragda is served with crushed pattice in the most aromatic and crunchy way and finely chopped onions, tamarind sauce, and green chutney are poured over it to bring on the saucy and lip-smacking taste. The traditional way to serve and eat it is distinct from other chaats and street foods. Two pattices are placed on a plate and are covered with some ragda. The entire content is garnished with finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, green chutney, and tamarind chutney, and sev (crunchy gram flour noodles) to prepare the complete platter for consumption. Quite similar to the famous Aloo Tikki of North India, Ragda Pattice is uniquely different from its distant cousin in terms of taste, presentation and preparation.
What: Street food
Best available: Bademiyan on Tulloch Road in Colaba
Baida Roti is yet another famous food of the lively streets of Mumbai. The recipe is yet another form of bread that hails from the Awadhi region of India. The preparation is a shallow fried flour pocket (patty) which is stuffed with minced meat, or poultry, or mutton brain, and is covered and cooked with beaten eggs from all the sides. Onions and spices are additional ingredients which complete the recipe. Served with green mint chutney and freshly chopped onions, it is every foodie?s delight to bite on the crunchy and juicy taste of Baida Roti. This particular recipe is heavy with its preparation and ingredients, and hence can be consumed as a meal, at least as a dinner. Though this delicious platter is guaranteed to take care of your hungry growling stomach filled and satisfied, the same cannot be said about your soul and taste-buds craving for few more bites.
What: Brunch food
Best available: Stalls opposite to BMC headquarters
A staple food of Maharashtra, Zhunka Bhakar, is definitely an upgrade from the typical Indian flatbread and curry. Filled with aromatic spices and whole grains, this dish is not only tasty but also healthy as well. Humble ingredients like gram flour and millets are used to preface this flavorful dish, and are suitable for everyday consumption. Regarded as a quintessential peasant dish, this sumptuous meal consists of two components, Zunka (a semi-solid past of chickpea flour saut?ed in oil) and bhakar (coarse Indian flat bread). Also, referred to as Pithla Bhakri, a bite of the dish is simply an explosion of flavor in the mouth. Traditionally, the dish is served with a chutney or techa (a spicy paste of green chilies and garlic), that enhances the taste. Apart from that, raw onions, and curd are also served with it. Due to usage of whole grains and other healthy ingredients, the dish is very popular among people on a strict diet and avoiding extra calories.
What: Breakfast dish
Best available: Assswad Restaurant at Dadar
A quintessential Maharashtrian breakfast item, Misal Pav is a spicy curry served with Indian flat bread and is extremely popular in Mumbai. Misal, a healthy alternative to Vada Pav, made from sprouted lentils, is a two part curry. The watery gravy, known as rassa is made with different spices, whereas the thick curry, ?usal?, contains lentils. Mumbaikars, mix these two items to create a Misal according to their preference. Decorated with farsan, or Indian snack noodles, onions, and corianders, gives Midal Pav a different crunch altogether. Every region in Maharashtra has a different variation of Misal Pav, with different combination of spices and ingredients. Among them, the Mumbai Misal Pav is comparatively lighter on spices but higher on the flavor and crunchy factor. Traditionally, in Maharashtrian homes the spicy Misal is served without bread or Pav, which was a Portuguese introduction. With Pav or without Pav, the flavorful and crunchy Misal can light up anyone?s mood.
What: Cold dessert
Best available: Badshah in Crawford Market and Haji Ali Juice Center in Hajiali
Sometimes considered as Mumbai?s version of Chocolate Sundae, Falooda is a treat to both eyes and taste buds. A riot of taste and textures, this cold dessert, ideal for hot summer days of Mumbai, Falooda is love. Many believe that Faalooda came to Mumbai with the Iranis in the late 1940s. Later on, Mumbaikars adapted this sweet dessert into something their own, adding local ingredients and enhancing the taste. Made from vermicelli mixed with rich dry fruits and nuts, rose syrup and basil leaves, this drink can be a substitute of a meal as well. The slippery vermicelli and layers of crushed ice dipped in rose water syrup make an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Falooda, adapted from a Persian drink, is sometimes served with Kulfi or Rabri (both Indian deserts) or ice-cream. Presented in beautifully decorated glasses, this drink is known to have cooling effect on the body and mind of the person.
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