Five days in Mumbai at the beginning of this month were not enough for me.
Over the last couple of years, I have fallen hook, line and sinker for life in one of India’s most well-known metropolis – not the least because of the hustle and bustle of life there – but for the myriad variety of food it offers.
Mumbai, in one sense, can be called the world’s street food capital and, as I found out yet again, it’s not an understatement.
The omnipresent vada-pao (mash potato fritters with a bun) can be found in several shapes and sizes and in several forms, as I discovered this time round. The “missal pao”, which is served with a spicy and tangy chutney, is an amazing concoction. So is the ‘vada’ served with the South Indian ‘sambhar’ (spicy lentil curry). And, of course, one has to have the traditional Mumbai offering, the ‘karak’ chai (strong tea), served in a small glass tumbler.
The best part of the whole deal, besides the price, is while the hunger pangs are taken care of for a few hours, one never ends up feeling “full”. Perhaps, the ‘chai’ has something to do with it!
This time round, I also made it a point to go to what is supposedly the world’s most famous “street food” street, Mohammed Ali Road. This entire area is known for its non-vegetarian food cooked right on the road and straight into your hands. Just taking a walk along the place can take several hours and you will never be able to see everything.
A mistake I made was that I went at night. Daylight is the best time to come, was told later – because that is when one can take in the sights, and the food, much better!
That, of course, is a must for the next visit.