Mumbai, the bustling metropolis, that we know – is a fusion pot of cultures. While it’s the capital of Maharashtra, a food trail in Mumbai can range from North Indian to Japanese, from Mediterranean to Bengali cuisines, from delectable 5 starred restaurant food to finger licking Mumbai street food off the carts! Though you’re spoilt for choice with the variety of foods, your Food Bucket List in Mumbai would be incomplete if you don’t try these signature street foods, most of them vegetarian – some originating from Mumbai, some originating elsewhere but got ‘Mumbai-ised’ – all guaranteed to be lip smacking! Here are 10 Mumbai street foods and some top places we think you can try those at! So get on a gastronomical journey – as whacky and wild as Mumbai itself!
The Vada Pav
This signature Mumbai street food special – the quintessential fried potato ‘vada’ sandwiched between the ‘pav’ with sweet and pungent chutney – will make you come back for more! There are now many ‘urbanised’ versions of the vada pav from Schewan Vada Pav to Corn Palak Vada Pav – but for the real thing, head to one of these places:
- Ashok Vada Pav, near Kirti College, Dadar
- Anand Vada Pav stall outside Mithibai College, Vile Parle West
- Patil Vada Pav, near Chetna College, Kalanagar, Bandra East
Said to have originated in the 1850s – as a quick lunchtime option for textile mill workers, Pav Bhaji is now a popular Mumbai street food item! A thick curry with mixed vegetables (usually all mashed up – so you cant really tell which vegetable has gone into it!) is served with buttered pav! Head to these joints to savour your plate of Pav Bhaji – don’t forget to ask for extra pav.
- Sardar Pav Bhaji, Tardeo (is THE place to have Pav Bhaji in Mumbai). This place usually open well past midnight and has long queues but is totally worth the wait!
- Shiv Sagar Restaurant, the Udipi style restaurant right opposite Juhu Beach serves piping hot bhaji with buttered pav.
You may have enjoyed the golgappas in Delhi and Phuchkas in Kolkata but you have to sample the Mumbai street food version – the Pani Puri! Mumbai serves 2 version of this chaat – puris filled with warm ragda/ chana and dipped in sweet and sour ‘pani’ or puris filled with spiced sprouts & mashed potato and dipped icy cold spiced ‘pani’. Give both versions a shot at some of these places:
- The ‘Cart’ outside Elco Market, Bandra West – that started as a small cart selling pani puri and chaat, is now a full-fledged chaat corner. Many call this the best pani puri in Mumbai!
- Monsoon Chat Corner at Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West
Snow Cones and Shaved Ice desserts are popular in many countries in the world. Mumbai’s version – the ‘ice gola’ is a must try while you visit! While Shaved Ice Candy with flavoured syrups on a stick was the original Gola in Mumbai, you now have a variety including ‘Malai Gola’ (with malai and masa toppings) and ‘Dryfuits Gola’. Here are some of the popular Gola joints on the island:
- Juhu Chowpatty stalls have a couple of popular Gola joints – take your pick from what you like on the menu
- Pooja Malai Gola, Tilak Road, Ghatkopar serves a variety of Ice Gola options including the chocolate goal 🙂
When Mumbai’s youth party till the wee hours of morning (or till whatever time the clubs are open), their go-to place for the after-party grub is the Anda Bhurji wala! Dishing out piping hot anda bhurji – basically scrambled eggs sautéed with onions, chillies and tomatoes and served with buttered pav. Head to some of these places, that serve anda bhurji through the day (and not just for the after-party snackers)
- The anda bhurji stall, at Kalanagar, Bandra East, across the road from the Mhada office – bustling during lunch times!
- Anda bhurji stall outside Santacruz East Railway Station, right under the skywalk. Serves bhurji well past midnight.
- Stadium restaurant, next to Churchgate station – for anda bhurji and perhaps Kheema Pav too while you’re there.
The Mumbai style toast sandwich – potato bhaaji sandwiched between slices of white bread with chutney and butter and toasted on a stove with hand held clasp toaster! Some Mumbai street food stalls serve filling variants with grated cheese, beetroot and tomatoes. Served piping hot with a dash of butter and chutney on the side.
- Shankar Toast Sandwich, in the park outside Dalmiya College, Sundar Nagar, Malad West.
- Swastik Sandwich Stall, near Santacruz West station
This savoury snack – which at a point in time was synonymous with an outing to the beach in Mumbai – is now available throughout carts in the city. Variants include the bhel puri (bhel tossed with chutneys, chopped onions, tomatoes, chillies, dry puris and a dash of raw mango for the unmistakable tanginess).
- Bhel Puri stalls at the beaches – Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty
- Guru Kripa Snacks, near SIES College, Sion – (you can also try the samosa and chaat while you’re at it).
A chubby bun sliced in half and a generous dollop of butter – let’s just forget to count those calories while we’re on this trail, shall we! Also called ‘brun-maska’ at the heritage Irani cafes in Mumbai, this simple yet absolutely delicious snack is best enjoyed when dipped in (or at least had with) a steaming cup of cutting chai!
- Britannia & Co, the Irani cafe in Ballard estate serves great bun maska with elaichi chai!
- Yazdani bakery in Fort – popular for the kadak brun maska with Irani chai.
Mumbai’s version of the Kati Roll, a Frankie is essentially a paratha stuffed with mashed veggie filling or meat, lightly fried on a pan with spices tossed over. The spices are really the real flavour of this crispy savoury roll.
- Tibbs’s Frankie – which started in Mumbai but now has branches across cities – is apparently the best Frankie you can eat in the city. Try the Tibb’s Frankie stall at Churchgate railway station.
A popular Maharashtrian snack, Misal Pav is basically Misal – spicy curry usually made from sprouts topped with ‘farsan’, onions, coriander and a dash of lime – served with pav (for just this once, not buttered). Usually found in traditional Maharashtrian eateries, Misal Pav is enjoyed both as a snack or as a Mid-Day meal sometimes.
- Prakash Snacks, behind ShivSena Bhavan in Dadar – is known for its most authentic misal pav (also try other traditional snacks like ‘thalipeeth’ and ‘kothimbeer vadi’ while you’re there).
- Panshikar Snacks, near Portuguese Church in Girgaum is another traditional no-frills eatery that serves great Misal Pav.
Drooling already? (I am!) Make your Mumbai Food Itch List right now.
Photo Credits: Vadapav Triphobo), Pav Bhaji (OnlineRecipe.org), Pani Puri (nearfox), Ice Gola (Pinterest), Anda Bhurji (cravecookclick.com), Toast Sandwich (wikimedia), Bhel Puri (food ndtv), Bun Maska (Hindustan Times), Frankie Roll (Tibbs), Misal Pav (Indiatimes)