10 Must try Meals in Mumbai
Whats most exciting about Mumbais food is not the authentic fare from other states. https://food.ndtv.com/ Its the native, borrowed, interpreted, re-interpreted, refurbished versions that collectively create the landscape of Mumbaiah cuisine. So here is the list of top ten must try meals if you ever visit Mumbai
The Street Food
From Paav Bhaji, Vada Paav, potato and onion Bhajias, Bombay sandwiches, street-side Dosas, Patti Samosas, Pani Puri, Sev Puri, Dahi Puri, Ragda Pattis, boiled Channa Chaat, Kala Khatta, raw mango slices and berries in Chinese Bhel Indian-style pizzas heaped with cheese to fresh fruit accompanied by real dairy cream that is rare to find in most places. This is a gastronomes delight. As layers of flavours, textures, colours create dishes that pop in your mouth and hardly impact your pocket, it maybe fun to play a guessing game of what came from where and how it may have transformed here. In South Mumbai, Girgaum Chowpatty snack shops, Bachelors for shakes, Indian style pizzas and sandwiches, and Homji Street Khao Galli (Fort) offer a spectrum of street food. Cannon (near CST) and Sardar (Tardeo) are famous for Pao Bhaji, Gurukrupa (Sion) for Samosa Ragda and Haj Ali Juice Centre for fresh juices, fruit cream, sandwiches and Indian style pizzas.
A Konkani Coastal Meal
The Konkan coast starts from Mumbai and goes on till Goa. Malvani cuisine is marked by the use of garam masala and red chilli. On the other hand, Gomantak cuisine is the coastal cuisine of areas in and around Goa and is marked by the generous use of fresh coconut and kokum. The curries here are tangy, coconuty, fiery with spice and red chilli and accompanied by rice as the primary starch. Eat the catch of the day in a coconut-y curry poured over a heap of steaming white rice or mop them up with the variety of breads unique to this coast. Bombil, prawn and Surmai fries, fresh and tangy fish curries and Sol Kadi as a before and after drink are a must. If you have any space in your tummy left, I would enviously recommend Mutton Masala and Tisriya (mussels) Suke, rice Bhakris and fried, deep-golden wade to mop it all up. If you are extra lucky, you will run into a Gaboli fry in season for fish roe. This is a meal that will grow on you and have you coming back each time you are in Mumbai.
A Typical Vegetarian Maharashtrian Meal
The star attractions that really pull crowds are snacks like Thaali Peeth (a sort of a multigrain pancake or flatbread), Kandha Pohe (flattened rice snack), Sabudana Vada (sago and potato fritter flecked with roasted peanuts), Misal Paav (a fiery curry made of pulses and fried nothings served with bun), Kothimbir Vadi (coriander leaf and gram flour fritters) etc. Aamras (fresh mango puree) when in season and Kharwas (a jelly like milky pudding made from the milk of a cow that has just given birth) round off the meal perfectly.
A South Indian Meal
Venturing into most Udupi style restaurants of the city will guarantee a fix of South Indian 'fast food' fare ranging from the staple Masala Dosa to the mind boggling ilk of Chinese 'Schezuan Dosas', but you will also be spoilt for choice with the typical Bombay mix of street foods. What you have may not be authentic, but it will definitely be tasty, affordable and absolutely Mumbai. You must also know that today a lot of the streetside stalls make some really innovative dosas. For example, the Pizza Dosa at the stall opposite Narsimonjee college seems rather popular with the youth. If you're somewhere near the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) you must try the scrumptious dosas at Jay Snacks next to BSE in Fort.
Bori Mohalla Food Trail
It is said that Bohris are a Muslim business community who came from Gujarat and made great inroads into trade and commerce. The Muslim eat street of Mumbai, offers a cuisine distinct from other Mughal/Muslim cuisines of the country. While Mohammed Ali Road is famous for the food it offers for Iftar during Ramzan, Bohri Mohallah is the hidden gem of Mumbai that comes alive at dusk everyday, just as the evening prayers are being said at the Saifee mosque near by. In these gallis you will discover unique dishes of the Memon and Dawoodi Bohra inspired from regions as diverse as Surat, Delhi, Lucknow to United Kingdom, Malaysia, Iran, China and Yemen. Every kind of meat imaginable is on offer, cooked in myriad ways, served up as kebabs or in rich gravies. Breads range from naan to khamiri to fried paranthas and the murtabak like Baida Roti.
An Irani Cafe for a Parsi Meal
rani cafes (Iranis were the second batch of Zoroastrians to come to India from Persia) today offer simple menus with signature Parsi dishes including Salli Boti (a fantastic dish of melting mutton in a beautifully caramalised gravy, topped with crunchy fried potato straws), Mutton Dhansak (meat cooked in a creamy gravy of lentils and spices), Kheema Ghotala (curried minced mutton with an egg scrambled in, served with paav for breakfast) all to be washed down with the syrupy raspberry soda. Finish with the famous Lagan Nu Custard. Pick up a crusty Brun layered with oodles of soft and salty butter. Or you may just choose to drop in at breakfast and splendidly make do with Akoori (parsi style creamy scrambled eggs) served with the freshly baked bread, crisp butter kharis and sweet milky tea.
A Mangalorean Meal
The food along the west coast of India is a continuum of gradually transforming flavours. As you reach Mangalore things start to get more meaty. The seafood and meat gravies including Ghassi (the most famous gravy of this region) are served up with the silky gossamer like Neer Dosa (thin rice pancakes). The coconut laden Sukka preparations of mutton, squid or clams make for another brilliant combination with the soft Neer Dosas. Chicken Roti, another specialty of Mangalore is an intriguing dish of chicken curry with a roasted coconut gravy, served over crisp rice cracker 'Kori Roti' that softens into a dosa on soaking up the chicken gravy.
A Modern American/International Meal
The modern deli style cafes offer wonderful gourmet versions of sandwiches, fresh layered salads, thin crust pizzas and eclectic burgers alongside gourmet international ingredients including imported cheeses, artisan breads, handmade jams, flavoured oils and other condiments that can be bought of the shelf. The food is sometimes reinterpreted to suit the Indian tastes yet guaranteed to please even pickiest of well traveled eaters. Absolute favourites of ours are the Pulled Pork Burger and the Eggs Benedict blanketed in velvety, buttery Hollandaise sauce at the Indigo Deli in Andheri. I can attest that has been known to challenge the worst of hangovers.
Mumbais Old School Bars
While Cafe Mondegar is famous for its murals painted by Mario Miranda, Leopold has gone into the Mumbai annals of fame for having been around since 1871 and then being the scene of crime for the horrific shootings of 26/11. In the suburbs, the forever packed Totos Garage is one of the oldest themed bars in the city while Janata bar is for the more adventurous or broke. The resulting clientele is typically college kids out for a good time that can legitimately be funded by their pocket money. I still remember the experience of buying my first drink by the quarter bottle and even chugging it down as such in Janata Bar, surrounded by my classmates, feeling all grown up in the big city of Mumbai for our internships. The fact that nobody gave us a second glace only emphasised the feeling of being liberated and just about.. having arrived. Where: Leopold, Café Mondegar and Café Churchill all flank the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba. Totos Garage and Janata Bar are both in Bandra.
If you want to try seriously authentic versions of cuisines from parts of the country you have never been to before, the city does offer a few restaurants that just about manage to escape Mumbaification. Where: Head to Bhojohori Manna (Oshiwara) for superlative home-style Bengali food, Punjab Grill (Juhu or Phoenix Mills) for fantastically authentic Punjabi fare. Soam (Girgaum) and Hiralal Kashidas (Girgaon) make fantastic Gujarati Undhiyo when the season is right. Bhagat Tarachand (several outlets) is famously known for its North Indian thaali (I am great fan of their rotis and dal). The food is recognisably North Indian, dishes tease in associations with several North Indian states but try pinning it down to any one place and the closest you will arrive at, is Bombay.