Its the street food that makes Mumbai special! From the chana-wallahs at Gateway, to ganna-wallahs and paan-wallahs, seemingly at every corner; and the vada-paav baakdas at Fountain. And of course, Bademiya in the seedy gulli behind the Taj Mahal Hotel.
As a school kid, I remember the rickety cart on the sidewalk coming to life after the carpet and antique stores had closed for the day. Baida-roti and boti-kebabs were the big draw then. We gaped in awe of Bollywood stars hanging out there in the early hours of the morning – way, way past my bedtime.
Now its a very elaborate affair and Bademiya has acquired legendary status on Bombay's culinary circuit. There are two elaborate stalls (you can't call these carts any more). Folding tables and chairs on sidewalks seat about 50. Waitstaff in uniforms are ever present serving your every need. But they can't do anything about that open drain next to our table, or that mangy dog walking uncomfortably close by.
Managers are constantly taking orders for 'take-out' and cars drive by to pick up their stuff. Drugs and skin trade is live and well too. None of this bothers me as I grew up in the thick of this area. This IS the real bombay, my dear! The hippies are all hanging out at the Cafe Leopold around the corner, munching on peanuts, burping beer and rolling joints. Or you can always saunter over to the sterile Delhi Darbar – a stones throw away.
For me, I'll take a few orders of their kebabs and kheema roti, the calico street cat rubbing against my leg not withstanding.
Workers sweating over the grill. WoT! Gloves and all, to give a veneer of hygiene.
I can smell the kebabs at my keyboard. Brain playing tricks again!
The lucky dudes got seats. We had to wait 15 minutes. Snobs of course sit and eat in their cars. They don't want the low-life ogling their perfumed girl friends.
Mumbai Street Foods:
- Asli Vada Pav
- Shri Krishna Batatavada
- Video: Making Ganna Ras (sugarcane juice)
- Limbu paani: Lemonade and Meera’s Right Foot