Best Street Food: Asli Vada Pav, Sandwich and Bajjiyas

picture of vada pav colaba mumbai food
You are not a Mumbaikar if you haven’t tasted the street-side Vada Pav. Not the sterile globs you get in a restaurant. You gotta eat from the street stall. If you haven’t, may I ask you to kindly turn in your Mumbaikar card!

During college days, the vada pav wallah near Fountain (Hutatma Chowk) was the best and my source of daily nourishment. This one is right across from Regal Cinema on Colaba Causeway, next to the entrance of Sahakari Bhandar. Look at that dynamite red chutney and those roasted green chillies! You know you want them on your vada pav! *smacks lips* After a couple of these, I rush down the street for ganna juice to put out the fire in my mouth! ha hA!

picture of vada pav colaba mumbai food

The proud owner!
picture of vada pav colaba mumbai food

There is now a vada paav stall outside the Colaba Police Station, a stones throw from our house. Every time I need a snack, I mingle there with the laborers, elbow my way to the front, press a 10 rs note and get 2 vada-paav, extra “tikka” and wrapped in an old newspaper. When I bring my prize home and salivate as I open it, my mom rolls her eyes. She knows, I won’t be eating any of her home cooked meals. oops! I’m slowly getting Meera started on vada pav. πŸ˜€

Remember the street-side sandwich wallah? However much I tried, I could never make sandwiches this tasty. What IS their secret ingredient? This guy was thrilled I wanted to take his pic. Wish they delivered. Aargh!
sandwich colaba mumbai food

Since we are condemned to the eternal fires of bombay belly, how about some garam-a-garam bajjiyas? YES!
picture of bajjiyas colaba mumbai food

Other Street Food and Fast Food Posts:

39 thoughts on “Best Street Food: Asli Vada Pav, Sandwich and Bajjiyas

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  1. Hi Arun,

    I thought on similar lines and so included Bahrainin my signature so as to make it clear!!!

    I know the other SS, I’m a hardcore follower of her site too!!!


    Shilpa (Bahrain)

  2. Hi Arun,

    So nice to see this blog. Have been following it since couple of weeks and read every single post.

    Have shown kids the real Mumbaiyaa life and all the food joints which is remarkably well captured by you.

    The coverage of Mumbai blast is also very soul stirring.

    I wish you all the very best and hope to stay in touch with you and your wonderful family.

    Take care

    Shilpa, Bahrain

    1. Hi Shilpa:
      Thank you for your kind words and so patiently going over my older posts
      The people in Mumbai and india in general are so beautiful and have such wonderful stories, the posts essentially are their biography.

      Please do stay in touch.
      Jai Hind,

      PS, at first I thought the comment was from a good friend, the author of who is also Shilpa Shanbhag πŸ™‚

  3. Hello! Can I use one of your photos for a private school project please? It will not be viewable to the public. Thank you!

  4. I found your blog just last week and have been poring over it since. So apologies for these late comments. Everything is very, very interesting and informative. Not like any I have read so far. Thanks a bunch for sharing your thoughts and perspectives.

    As for the pictures of the bajjiyas..there ought to be a law against posting these! Simply torture! I am drooling…

    If you are ever in Mangalore, you must visit Balli’s. His podis are legendary.

    1. Hi Sanjeevi:
      Thank you for your patience in going over the many articles.

      And I may have to agree, since I am now in Boston, watching those pics of Bhajjiyas is very traumatic for me as well.

      Will certainly note down Balli’s for a future Mangalore visit. I already have the TajMahal Cafe on my short list.

      Best Wishes to you

  5. Wonderful pictures and very well written blog. Vada Pav is one of the kry identities of Indian food. It is the most delicious street food…… it………yummy πŸ™‚

  6. I stumbled upon your site when I was looking for recipes and was gripped, reading about you. I found your blog more fascinating, intresting than amitabh bacchans!!
    Congratulations on your daughter, she is precious.
    As a new mom, myself and having grown in bombay, but becoming a transplant in the US , having left bombay nearly 20 years ago,for school and the like, I yearn for the India, that exists in my imagination. your images and blogs brought back those memories of the India that used to be.

    1. Oy Rina! “… more interesting than big b’s?”
      *does a little dance!*

      You are very kind. and yes, Meera is a precious gift we have been given.

      and yes, writing and sharing pics is the soothing balm to that ache in our hearts! Such is life! C’est la vie!

      Do you have a blog, or write somewhere?
      Best Wishes in all that you do! and Congratulations on the baby! What a thrill!

  7. They are still using Modern bread :). I liked the phrase “turn in your mumbaikar card”. My first introduction to mumbai, was the road side vada pav, that my co-worker bought on my first day at work / mumbai.

    1. You are right! It must be the sliced bread, which has the distinctive taste! Even using the Britannia sliced bread makes a difference.

      Glad you were initiated ‘quickly’ to the vada pav!

      Best Wishes for the Holidays

  8. Hi Arun,

    I stumbled into your blog while random surfing…must say, you have a lovely blog. I am a GSB from Mumbai and absolutely loved your posts on Mumbai and goa, especially this one on ‘vada paav’!!:)

    Also, I saw that you have some posts about Kumta and was wondering where I had heard about this place. Then it struck me that my brother-in-law (sister’s husband) has his family home there!the world is indeed a small place.

    Best wishes for your blog..keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Vinaya!
      M and I are both GSBs from Mumbai.

      yes, Kumta is the epicenter of Konkanis in North Kanara! the bestest place! and good you know your sister married a kumta-kar. ha ha! Should I assume you are from SK?

      and you have a nice blog as well.

  9. oh dear me… you just know how to torture this poor soul in DC…. I have had the vada pav from that very stall (well, the one near Fountain) – a common hangout for N! yummmmm…..

    sometimes it’s better not to know their secret… it’s more fun eating out these things! Otherwise, we will need to make it at home! πŸ˜‰

    You’d better fedEx some over!! my mouth is watering way too much!

    1. Sorry Smitha for getting back to you so late!

      After some shoveling, this can be the perfect meal! Interesting that you actually ate near this place. Since I live around there, I have prolly eaten nearly at all these places. They are all fabulous. The only difference I see is the option of adding those roasted green chillies! Hooooooo! as if the chutneys were not spicy enough!

      And yes, eating on the street is soooo fun!

  10. Hi Arun, you making my mouth water even as I read.
    You need to try the Pani Puri in Bandra at the Elco Market, it is really out of this world.
    Would you have the recipe for the famous Matunga Coffee at Udipi or Anand Bhavan, if you happen to have it would you mind posting it, when I am in Matunga I always have five or six cups every day, Oh how I miss that.
    Mr De

    1. Mr De:
      Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment. hope you and family are having a great holiday!

      The key ingredient in the Matunga/Udupi Coffee is the supplement of “Chicory,” which give it the distinctive earthy taste and the imparts the ‘thickness” to the coffee. And it needs to be made in the traditional Coffee filter.

      I have a complete post on how to make the south indian coffee. In the post I have a pic of the BRU Ground coffee (with Chicory) that you can get in the Indian grocery stores in the US. Get that and if you make it in the filter, it is the next best thing to going to Matunga. But you need the coffee filter like I have shown in the pic. If you don’t have one, ask Sam to bring one for you. They are available at Sahakari Bhandar near Regal. :-))

      Thanks for the tip for Elco Market Paani Puri. Will visit on my next trip there.

      Best Wishes

  11. vada pav and pav baaji never tastes the same when I make it at home Arun. How much I miss the mumbai specials especially with the plummeting temperatures here. It’s only fair if you share it with all of us πŸ™‚ I usually go for a garam chai to wash it down πŸ™‚ or something from vadilal.

    1. Absolutely right Viji – it never tastes the same; I have had it in Edison, NJ and yes, it is just not the same! I think the street wallah’s have a secret ingredient!

      Chai! interesting you say that, because right next to this was a busy Chai stall and I actually have a nice pic! Thot it did not go well with the spicy vada pav; Will post the pic with a future CHAI post :-))


  12. Hey hey Arun, I have had tasted this Vada-Paav even if I am not Mumbaikar. πŸ™‚
    I forgot how many times I have had this when I used to visit Mumbai-Pune. I am salivating now! πŸ™‚

  13. My tummy is growling with hunger.. have not had my breakfast yet! and those hot wada pav is making me even more hungry.. yummy pics πŸ˜€ Everytime I visit Mumbai I stay at my aunt’s homeat Chembur.. There is a Wada pav wallah and I see so many customers at his place.. I miss Wada pav so much here 😦

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