Best Cities for Food Around the World: Mumbai
By Alannah McDermott and Mariam Bulin-Diarra
Alright, it’s time to head back east to the exciting and joyful streets of Mumbai, India. If you really want a taste of genuine Indian cuisine, you are going to have to make the trip to Mumbai!
The lively city, busy streets, and friendly locals are always ready to feed you the best of the best. You’ll soon find that if you want to feast like a king, you need not look further than the street food, which serves the tastiest dishes for only a few dollars. There’s no need to book a restaurant when you can be served on the post by a smiling cook. Loosen up, relax, and get ready to get your hands a bit messy. Food always tastes so much better with your hands. If you are thrown off by the idea of eating with your hands in public, just think about how you eat burgers, chips, fries, burritos, pizzas, chicken wings or shellfish back home! (Except Marie, our Parisian diva, who still eat burritos, shrimps, and pizza with knives and forks).
The first dish on our list of delectable Indian street food is vada pav. 2 million of these crunchy and spicy snacks are eaten a day on the streets of Mumbai. Vada pav begins with a patty made up of mashed potatoes, garlic, green chilis, and masala spices. Next, they’re dipped in a chickpea flour mixture and fried until they reach a deep, golden brown. Okay, we are drooling, but it doesn’t stop there! The vada is then placed on rolls known as “pav” which are heavily buttered and topped with a coriander chutney spread. The spread is known in Mumbai as “cilantro chutney”, and is made up of green coriander leaves, mint leaves, more green chili, and groundnuts, ginger, and lemon juice. Vada pav is usually served with a side of fried green chilis, making the meal feel a lot like a more delicious and savory version of a burger and fries. The most well-known vada pav street vendor, Anand Stall, pops out over 2000 of these a day, so don’t hesitate to grab a few while making your way through the vibrant streets. If you’re in the mood to recreate one of these finger-licking appetizers, here’s a recipe for you to follow!
Our next featured dish is, you guessed it, curry! We couldn’t write an article on Mumbai without taking a mini journey through the detailed creation of this flavorful meal. There are so many different types depending on what you are craving, but pav bhaji is one of the most well-known dishes on the streets of Mumbai. Pav Bhaji is a thick vegetable curry served with heavily buttered rolls, making the dish so rich and satisfying you’ll soon be back for more. The vegetables used in pav bhaji are cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, peas, french beans, and capsicum (red and green peppers). Once they’re all mashed up and seasoned with masala powder, the pav is usually fried and buttered, making for a quick, put together meal! Sardar Refreshments is a popular spot to grab a plate of this for only 250 rupees (a couple of US dollars)! Although you may feel intimidated by the big country and packed streets (21,000 people per square kilometer!), Mumbai is your one-stop shop that offers you all the local specialties that will satisfy your appetite, such as the South Indian favorite dosa (crepe with rice and black lentils), panipuri (pastry with potatoes, onions, chickpeas, and spices), dumplings, and other sweet pastries. If you want to make the most of all the city has to provide and to taste even more amazing street food, join a street food tour by night!
We’ve spent some time highlighting the scrumptious street food of Mumbai, so now let’s take a look at the best restaurants in the city if you’re more in the mood to sit down and be served! Located in the business district of Fort, Khyber Restaurant has hosted prominent figures in government, business, and entertainment such as The Prince of Luxemborough, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Paul McCartney, Goldie Hawn, Demi Moore, and many more! Some of the chef’s favorites include Mirch ka Salan and Tandoori Raan. The former is a vegetarian dish consisting of slit jalapeno peppers cooked in a Hyderabadi style spicy gravy. The latter is a non-vegetarian option of a leg of a baby lamb marinated with Khyber spices & cooked in a clay oven.
Feeling adventurous? Head on over to Shree Thaker Bhojanalay, a mouthwatering restaurant that serves an assortment of dishes arranged on a platter, more commonly known to locals as Gujarati Thali. This restaurant is set in the bustling marketplace of Kalbadevi. If you’re taking a taxi, just tell your driver to take you to Kalbadevi Road. The variations of Gujarati Thali are about as many as the people in this city, but the common platter usually consists of roti (unleavened flatbread also known as Chapati), kadhi (chickpea flour gravy with vegetable fritters) or dal (split lentils), rice, and shaak (a paste made of spinach, mustard leaves, or other greens along with masala spices). Some popular versions of Gujarati Thali are Gujarati khatti mithi daal (sweet and sour lentil) and for the winter, undhiyu (mixed vegetable prepared with spinach paste).
We hope your stomach is growling after reading this article because ours are! Let us know your favorite dish and comment any ones we missed! Also, check out our list on TourMega of over 280 Mumbai tours here, and remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for sneak peaks of our next featured city!
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