If you love to enjoy the real cuisine of the land, the signature restaurants by top chefs would do only a little help. You need to get with the local population and dine street food. Street food need not mean food from a pull-over cart on the road-side. You can find decent stalls that sell most of the street food cuisine.
Some of the dishes might be available only in a certain area of Mumbai and maybe only in a pull-over cart. Here is the list of famous street foods of Mumbai that you should try at least once during your visit.
1. Vada Pav
This is one of the top street foods of north India. The pav is thick burger bread. Vada is a fried fritter stuffed with mashed potato, cheese or other ingredients. The bread is toasted in butter and spread with a spice mix.
The fritter is placed inside it and served like a burger with a side of sweet and spicy chutneys.
2. Misal Pav
This street food is originated from Pune. Throughout this list, you will find dishes from other parts of the country popularized in Mumbai.
During the 20th century, people from many parts of the country migrated to Mumbai for a better job or dreams of Bollywood. Thus, you can find culture reminders of various ethnic groups in this city.
This Pune dish is a dry mixture of curried lentils, potatoes, poha (flattened rice), tomato, onion and others. It is served with a side of pav or mixed with yogurt. This is considered as one of the very few healthy street food of the city and is chosen as a breakfast by many.
3. Pav Bhaji
Pavbhaji has made its way to almost all the states of the country. No matter where you are in the city, you can always find a pavbhaji shop closer to you. The pav (bun) is toasted in a lot of butter and served with a vegetable curry. The curry contains more amounts of mashed potatoes with peas, carrots, spices and others.
This is a famous chaat item, which belongs to the local population, Marathis. This chaat is a mixture of many ingredients like vegetables, puffed rice, chickpea snacks pieces and others, mixed with tangy tamarind sauce.
Some shops give you the sauce separately for tasting. It would be a delicious treat to try.
SevPuri is an advanced version of Bhelpuri or, in simpler terms, more ingredients are added to BhelPuri to make it SevPuri. This dish has a lot of diced potatoes, other vegetables, puffed rice and chickpea noodles. It is seasoned with garlic, chili and the tamarind sauce. It is sometimes served with raw mango on top.
6. Batata Vada
If you love deep fried items, this would be a good dish to start with. This dish is also called as aloo bonda. Aloo is the local term for potato.
Yes, you will find that potato is one of the main ingredients for most of the street food items. In this dish, mashed boiled potato is mixed with spices and chili. A ball of this dough is dipped into thick chickpea flour for coating and deep fried in oil. It is served with chutney.
7. Ragda Pattice
Ragda is a chickpea curry made with chickpeas, onion, tomato and many other spices. Pattice is balls of mashed potatoes fried in oil. Sometimes, the potato balls and curry are served side by side.
Usually, the potato balls are crushed and topped with the curry. For tangy flavor, tamarind sauce is served. If you are up for a spicy version, ask for green chutney.
8. Bombay Sandwich
This would be one of the most interesting sandwiches you would have tasted. What is the most unlikely vegetable to use in sandwich? Well, Mumbai decided to bring beetroot to it.
Yes, the Bombay sandwich has three slices of white bread with slices of beetroot, cucumber, onion and of course potato. It is served with mint chutney. You would hate to admit that beetroot tastes wonderful in sandwich.
9. Akuri On Toast
This Parsi dish is basically spicy scrambled egg made with onion, ginger, chilies, black peppers and coriander. This scrambled egg is served on top of a toasted bread slice and serve with a side of hot cup of tea.
10. Baida Roti
This is a roll with a filling of any meat. Some shops have mutton brain rolls too. The flour coating is very thin and the filling will be rich. This roll usually comes in a square shape. If you are very hungry, this is the right dish to try.
Frankie has become popular around the country with many branded stores too. You would easily find many food chains serving Frankie. However, it is best to try the local stores. Frankie is nothing but a rolled tortilla roti with stuffing in it.
The roti is coated with egg and meat stuffing is placed inside it. It is a very juicy and tasty dish to try. There is also a vegetarian version, which has a filling of cottage cheese, potato and other vegetables.
12. Kanda Poha
This snack is an assortment of flattened rice, onion, diced potato, peas, green chilies and other ingredients. This mixture is tempered with a generous among of fried mustard seeds. It is sometimes garnished with chickpea noodles and coriander leaves.
13. Zunka Bhakar
This is a healthy street food of the city. Chickpea flour is mixed with onion, curry leaves and other ingredients to make thick dough. This dough is flattened and made in roti and dry cooked in a pan. It is served with raita (onion yogurt) or chutney.
14. Steamed Idlis
Idli is a rice cake, which is a staple breakfast of Southern India, especially Tamil Nadu. Idlis are made with a batter of rice flour and black dal flour, which is poured into a cupped cast and steamed in a cooker. It is served with sambar, chutney or any meat curry. There are many versions of this idli, some are sweet, some come with stuffed vegetables and so on.
15. Mysore Masala Dosa
As the name indicates, it is a specialty of Karnataka. This dish uses the same batter like idli but, a little watery. This batter is spread into a very thin pancake (like crepe) and is stuffed with different types of fillings. It is usually served with four or five chutneys.
Pav bread is toasted in generous amount of butter and served with a curry of crushed peanut, potato and other spices. It is garnished with pomegranate seeds, chickpea noodles and freshly chopped onions. This is a Gujarati styled dish, which is now very famous in Mumbai.
17. Keema Pav
Keema means ground meat. Pav bread is toasted and served with a side of spicy ground meat gravy, which is spicy and tangy. If you are a non-vegetarian, this is a must-try food.
Panipuri is found in almost all states, today. Pani is a spiced water (actually, the word pani means water). Small crispy balls are popped and mashed potato is filled into it. It is dipped into the spicy pani and is served. It has to be eaten instantly, before the balls get soaked up in the liquid. There is also a sweet version of this dish. While dining, try to taste the flavored water alone.
Remember that many of these dishes can be very spicy and hot. Ask for a milder version if you cannot handle Indian heat.
Moreover, it is best to carry bottled water with you. If you have a very sensitive digestive system, it is best to avoid street vendors and settle with small shops, which sell street foods in a hygienic manner.