Let’s feast upon the subject of street food. Street food is a big hit among the masses; in some cases, even the classes in Mumbai. Khau (eating) gallis (lanes) shot to fame with the increasing working ‘hoi polloi’ in commercial areas; most of them depending on the street vendors to feed them brunch, lunch or evening snack every working day. These eatery abodes are favored by the people for a variety of reasons – easy on pocket, delectable in taste, and save them from the inconvenience of carrying food, either to work or on an outing. The sites mentioned here are not much heard of, but are a fair try for the taste buds.
Puzzling Ulta Pizza at Aarey Stall, Pan galli, Near Kemps Corner
Turning the Italian flat bread dish upside down (literally ‘ulta’) and serving it to you on a platter is this vendor at one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Instead of the conventional ‘toppings-on-the-top’, here the toppings are stuffed inside the crust giving you an impression of eating the pizza upside down. A further probe also reveals that the pasta here is worth a taste too.
The Humble Vada Pav
The list of street food would be deemed incomplete without the mention of the Indian version of the burger. Also considered as a staple street food, vada pav which is gram flour rolled potato fritter served in a bread bun. The distinctness of each vada pav depends on the accompanying chutneys it is served with. The eminent places which serve the poor man’s burger are the ones outside Kirti College, near Dadar railway station(Ashok Vada Pav) and the one opposite C.S.T. station (Aram Batata Vada). A must try is the batata bomb; the alliteration used lives up to its name – it is a potato cut in half, dug hollow, filled with assorted vegetables rolled in the spices, topped with the cut hollow dipped in spicy red liquid – it ‘blasts like a bomb’ when put in contact with your tongue.
Khau Galli, Princess Street
This ‘eating lane’ just across the famous ‘Mangaldas Market’ is rarely empty save for Sundays and holidays; the reason being the famous cloth market attracts people all day long during business hours. You’ll usually find the people they serve will have plate of food in one hand and their shopping bags in the other. They whip up a variety of food for you to choose from – pani puri, sev puri, sandwiches and the works with drinks and fresh sugarcane juice. The vendors here have caps on in an effort to promote hygienic street food. The khau gallis at Horniman Circle, Fort, Churchgate and the Bademiya in the lane behind the spectacular Taj Hotel near Gateway of India are quite well known for serving street food too.
‘King’ Shawarma and Multani Lassi, J.J. Hospital
On a busy Maulana Shaukat Ali Road near the J.J. Hospital junction is this shawarma centre. The shawarma is chicken preparation placed on a rotating spit, grilling it, and its shavings cut off and served in a wrap. This crackling, heat spitting place is famous for its chicken shawarma with different combinations of cheese, chocolate, pineapple and olive. Note : it only opens after 5 pm in the evening till about 10 pm at night. A little walk ahead right across this ‘hot’ place, is the cool Multani Dairy which serves a glass of filling lassi of a variety of flavors topped with rabdi which you cannot afford to miss, if you’re in this area.
Manoj Pasta (and Maggi) at Cuffe Parade, near World Trade Centre
The Mongolian pasta used, is given an unusual yet savory twist by the vendors here which makes a trip all this way worthwhile. Also would be the fleet of cars in which people come to eat here. The variations in the pasta as well as Maggi, are each worth a try. They also sell khichiya, which has been mentioned next. They too, open only later in the evening.
The papad (an Indian and Pakistani disc shaped food made with a dough either of gram flour, rice, lentils and chickpeas fried on dry heat) is usually an accompaniment to a meal. The khichiya elevates it to the status of a full-fledged dish, giving it a pizza-style twist, by topping it with potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, cheese and pomegranate. These are seasoned with some salt and pepper, and masala to taste. A lot of stalls offer this piece of ‘eat’ (including Manoj Pasta); the one pictured above is at Dadiseth Agiary Lane,Kalbadevi Bhuleshwar Road.
Khau galli, Tardeo A.C. Market
A commercial place filled with the buzz of office goers is served a full appetite by these vendors of different food wares. You’ll find a stout shawarma, simple anda pav, a heavy thali (puri bhaji, different curries, complete with curd and papad – in short a complete meal), sophisticated sandwich, cool lassi and fresh sugarcane juice, South Indian cuisine – Dosa, Idli and Sambhar, and non-vegetarian biryani, along with the beverages – tea and coffee.
Bonus : You should find fresh sugarcane juice centres at almost every nook and corner in the city for refreshment.