Street Foods in Mumbai – These are a Few of My Favorite Things


By Lakshmi:

Anyone who has spent any time in Mumbai knows the joy of eating out!  Not just eating out, but eating off roadside stalls.  I know what you are thinking….am I recommending a sure way to get sick in India?  No, of course not.  But if you go to the right places, there is no place like these to snack and eat to your heart’s content for very little money.

Pani Puris:  How does one describe this?  The best way to describe it is little puffed balls of fried dough, popped open and filled with a mixture of pulses and veggies and served dunked in a tart tamarind sauce.  The crispness of the puris, the freshness of the veggies/pulses, the sweet and sour taste of the tamarind sauce make for a dish that hits at the taste buds from multiple angles.

Misal Pao:  This Maharashtrian food for the common man is a simple but potent combination of a simple peasant bread, accompanied by the most spicy sauce which includes an assortment of pulses and spices, topped with finely chopped onions, coriander and crunchy fried lentil strips.  Honest confession…the first time I had it, I did not realize the impact the hotness would have on my system.  Suffice it is to say, I had to spend the next day in some level of isolation.  But, every time I am in Mumbai, I still indulge and pretty much every small no-name place has it on the menu.

Vegetable Sandwich:  As the name suggests, there is nothing exotic about this meal.  It is two slices of bread with veggies served with ketchup.  Now, I don’t know whether it is the bread or the veggies or the sauce, but the taste of that quick pick-me-upper roadside sandwich is hard to replicate.

Vada Pao:  This very popular street eat could be called as a local burger.  A nice rotund patty of mashed potato and spices dunked in chickpeas batter and fried to perfection is sandwiched between two slices of pao (peasant bread) and served with the most garlicky coconut chutney.  How can a food-lovers trilogy of ingredients such as potatoes, bread and garlic produce anything but yummy food?

Hmmm….just writing this post makes me want to fly to Mumbai and indulge.  Unfortunately, there is a few months for that!

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