Mumbai is said to be a city that never sleeps but have you ever imagined what the secret behind this dazzle is? The one thing that keeps the megacity going is out there on its buzzing streets. You will find hawkers out there 24X7 selling delicious cheap eats. Both locals and tourists pause at the by-lanes for street food or the famous ‘cutting-chai’, the secret behind the fast-pace workforce.
Here is to the street food of Mumbai – the hawkers wake up early in the morning and keep going late into the night. It has now become a kind of tradition in the busiest Indian City. Your Mumbai trip can never be complete, if you missed the ‘Khau Galis’ (Eat streets).
Remember to gulp down these lip-smacking and refreshing street foods in Mumbai, when in the city.
Chaat – finger-licking good!
Chaat is a word derived from ‘chaatna’, a Hindi word that means ‘to lick’. Being one of the best veg street food in Mumbai, you will find chaat in every nook and corner. It is a spicy, tangy and crispy dish that would leave you lip-smacking. The most common ingredients in chaat are potato patties, pulses, coriander, onions, chillies, sev and the seasoning of chaat masala (spice mix).
Where to eat: To have the ebst chaat in Mumbai, head to the Kahu gallis in the Churchgate Station area, Bandra’s Carter Road or Ghatkopar station. You can also have the bhelpuri-style chaat at Juhu Beach and Girgaum Chowpatty.
Vada Pav – the signature street food of Mumbai
You will love this Indian version of burger called Vada Pav which is an all-day snack that defines the city. The deep-fried potato dumpling is stuffed in a bun along with spicy and tangy green chutney, garlic chutney, chillies and sev. Want to know the interesting story behind its concoction? Let’s go back to the 1970s, there was a street-vendor in Dadar area who got inspired to discover the dish and it was the popular food during a local government movement. Vada Pav is since then the Marathi pride of the city. It is the best street food in Mumbai at night. Yes, they never take a break!
Where to eat: No politics involved, you can still get to taste the original Vada Pav dished by the same vendor’s family for over 40 years – go to the Vaidyas’ stall located on the Dadar station’s platform no. 1. Other popular joints include Aaram vada Pav, opposite CST station and Ashok Vada Pav at Kashinath Dhuru Marg, Dadar.
Chana Jor Garam – Try it hot!
Prepared from onions, pulses, spicy masalas and chutney, Chana Jor GAram is the refreshing tangy treat for your taste buds. The portable spicy tart snack is made in variations and the best part is they prepare it fresh for every serving. Book last minute flights to Mumbai and taste the buds like never before.
Where to eat: To get the best taste of Chana Jor Garam, go to the water-facing area of the city. You will find college and school students waiting to grab their share at hotspots like Shivaji Park, Marine Drive and Gateway of India.
Pav Bhaji – The Surprising American Connection
One of the most popular street foods in Mumbai, thanks to America that Pav Bhaji was discovered in the city. The history dates back to the 1840s when a global shortage was faced by the Mumbai cotton merchants due to the American Civil War. During this period, the Mumbaikars used to wake up early and end up working late at night. The local hawkers invented a fastfood snack of mashed potatoes and curried vegetables, spread on a buttery bread for the traders to stay filled till midnight. However, you can find pav bhajis all day today at various food stalls and moving kiosks.
Where to eat: To satiate your palate, reach Sardar Refreshments (opposite to Tardeo Bus Station) or cannon Pav Bhaji (opposite to CST Subway). You can also taste delicious pav bhaji at Nariman Point’s Zunka Bhakar Kendras stalls.
Bhajee – All-day treat!
Pakoodas and Bhajis are the favorite fretters of Mumbaikars. The yummy package of potato, onion, spinach, green chillies, aubergine and other fillings is dipped in gram-flour batter and deep fried. Especially famous during monsoons, Bhajis are served hot at stalls with green chutney, tomato chutney or just have one with hot tea. If you have seen a video of Mumbai street food, you must have come across this spicy snack.
Where to eat: Get your favorite filling at various popular food stalls like Soam at Girgaum Chowpatty, Khau Gali at Nariman Point. For some adventure, try the ice-cream bhaji at Mahavir Nagar’s Monika Ice Cream in Kandivali West. You can also try the Chinese pakoda at Parleshwar Vada Pav Samrat (Nehru Road) in Vile Parle.
Falooda – End it with a sweet
Once you have tasted all the popular street foods mentioned above, it is time for something sweet for concluding the street food trail. Order a Falooda – a glass of vermicelli, nuts and dried fruits, garnished with rose syrup and toppings of sabza. You can even end your day with a plate of pineapple, watermelon, oranges and famous Mahabaleshwar strawberries at any kiosk.
Where to eat: You will get the best Falooda at Haji Ali Juice Center in Breach Candy and Swati Snacks in Tardeo.