The cuisine of Mumbai has been shaped for centuries by motley groups of people who have made the city their home–the Koli fishermen, Muslim Sultans, Gujaratis, Parsis, the Portuguese and British colonists. Through all these centuries, the culinary legacies of all the residents have been passed on from generation to generation. The seasoned hands of the bawarchis among these communities have preserved the legacy, quality and tastes associated with this cuisine with a consistency that makes it special and outstanding.

What I have experienced is that people of Mumbai cut across barriers of class, religion, gender and are passionate about the city’s street food. The story of street food in Mumbai is closely related to the growth of the city as people migrating to the city brought their culinary assets with them and Mumbai became a smorgasbord of different cuisines and cultures.

Today, the food sold by hawkers in different khau gullies and chowpatties across Mumbai is symbolic of the sincere love offered by this city. These areas boast of varieties of street food, perpetually on display for all– from the richest businessman to the common man travelling in local trains.

Here’s my list of the top 10 street food varieties on offer in Mumbai and where to find the best among them.

1.    Vada Pav

If you haven’t tasted a good vada pav, you have no idea what Mumbai’s food is about. This dish more or less defines the spirit of Mumbai. The best vada pav is served at Anand, opposite Mithibhai College on Gulmohar Road, Vile Parle (West).

2.    Pav Bhaji

There’s very little to differentiate between the Gujarati and Mumbaiya pav bhaji. You must try this bread and spicy curry combination at Amar Juice Centre close to Mithibhai College and Sardar’s, next to Mumbai Central railway station.

3.    Bhel





















Varieties of bhel are found all over the country, but the Mumbai one is especially crunchy and zingy. Juhu’s Chowpatty beach is home to Mumbai’s best bhel.

4.    Ragda Patties

This is one of the special chaats found in Mumbai, and a must have, especially at Prithvi Café, on Juhu’s Church Road.

5.    Khandvi
Another Gujarati delicacy, the best khandvi and makaiwadi specialities are served in Chira Bazaar, Kalbadevi and Ghatkopar’s khau gully.

6.    Keema Pav
Minced meat stuffed inside butter toasted bread, who wouldn’t want a bite? Olympia Coffee House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Colaba; Saarvi restaurant, Dimtankar Road, Byculla; Kayani & Co. Dhobitalao, Kalbadevi; Paramount, L T Road, Wajanwadi, Mahim; Hotel Grant House, Palton Road Police Station, Crawford Market; these are a few places I would recommend for keema pavs in Mumbai.

7.    Dosa
A south Indian delicacy, adapted by adventurous Mumbaikars; the best dosas are to be had at Anand, opposite Mithibai College.

8.    Chicken Boti Kebab















Mohammed Ali Road is the benchmark for the best kebabs in Mumbai. The street is also home to a variety of other Mumbai-special kebabs.

9.    Amarkhand
Amarkhand is a Mumbai speciality made of fresh mangoes. Aaswad and Panshikar at Dadar are two places I’d recommend for the best Amarkhand.

10.    Bun Maska and Cutting Chai

All the Parsi joints are the best places to have bun maska. You could try Kyani and Co., Sassanian, Cooler and Co., and Good Luck Café for a bun maska and cutting chai experience.

The author is the Head Chef at Junglee Billee, GK I, New Delhi (India Today)

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