Chanawallah: Quintessential Mumbai

chana wallah mumbai street food
(behind the Taj, Nov 2008)

We have all eaten from the Chanawallah in Mumbai. The nicely toasty chana (Bengal gram?) are perfect while walking aimlessly, taking in the sounds of the waves at Gateway of India, or giving a shoulder to a friend. Growing up, it used to cost 5 or 10 paisa for a pudi. A pudi is the paper cone used to dispense the chana – usually from recycled newsprint. You can see pudis stacked on the side of the basket. Now it is 5 or 10 rs for a pudi. I always wondered, how much do these guys earn in a day? Any idea? Can they afford to pay for the chana, the coal embers, take the bus or train to whereever they live and still make enough money to feed their family? Just wondering. Now you know why I always buy at the chana wallah. So should you.

A closer look at the shaenga (peanuts, left) and chana.. O, Meera loves these protein-laden chana, so we buy her a pudi every time we go out.
chana wallah mumbai street food

At the Gateway of india (April 2009)
chana wallah mumbai street food

Mumbai Street Foods:


  1. brings back so many memories of childhood…correctly put….so quintessentially mumbai…it would be a wonder if you found a ki(d) growing up in mumbai without memories of this man!

  2. Dr Sagar Gudhka says:

    I guess somewhere around Rs.300-500 a day….!

    • Interesting! and thanks!

      A few months ago I asked a guy selling Maps in front of the Shivaji Museum (Previously Prince of Wales Museum). He said on many days he may NOT sell any maps, but on average about Rs100 per day. But then when there are festivals or big groups visiting he could make a lot more.

      I should do this study more systematically – just asking the street vendors how much they make.

      Thank you


  3. Dr Sagar Gudhka says:

    When one passes by these chanawala.. I have often marked.. its simply unstoppable to buy one pudi and munch it.. irrespective whether you are truly hungry or not. It has always been fun enjoying this singh-chana during outings..!!

    • yes, these are addicted; I have done that so many times – and still do!
      Any thoughts on how much they earn each day? Just curious.

      And thank you for your comment.

  4. Kathy Gori says:

    What a great post. Showed it to my husband, he remembered being there many years ago

    • Thank you Kathy,

      Have you guys been to India lately? Its worth a visit. And near the Gateway of India, the Chanawallah’s are all over the place.

      Best Wishes for Easter,

  5. oh my – you’ve made me HUNGRY! these look fantastic.


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