What One Must do in Mumbai, Food-Wise
I am back home in the city of Mumbai, India after what seems to have been a three-year long vacation in the United States. Here are only a few of uncountable things that fueled my desire to return to my home country, and what should persuade you to visit too!
- •Vada PavIt is a sin to visit/live in Mumbai without having what we dearly call our own burger. Made with a huge crispy-battered potato patty that is stuffed in a bun that can barely contain it, there is something incredibly addictive about VP. Perhaps it is the combination of the sweet and spicy chutney (dip) playing a delicious game of their own on everyone's tastebuds! Undoubtedly, this is what I pined most for for three long years. It is sold literally everywhere in Mumbai by street vendors—25 cents!
- •Pani PuriThis is possibly the most genius street food item an Indian brain has come up with. Little inflated balls of light, crisp pastry are used as bowls to contain flavorful savory water (that can be made sweet according to your requests) and all you have to do is eat it all in one mouthful. Also, watching the Pani Puri artist serve you in a matter of mere seconds (while serving other customers too) is mesmerizing, and the price makes it affordable to all in India (re: wealth disparity)—50 cents!
- •Natural's Tender Coconut IcecreamI'm pretty cynical about corporate food giants, but Natural's, which is a sizable conglomerate in India, makes me rethink that. Made with the delectable meat from fresh coconuts available on the coasts of India year-round, this ice cream is something one shouldn't die without having devoured. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the scattered bits of coconut that have a bite to them, and the solace that a scoop offers against the scorching heat of the Mumbai sun!
- •Mad Over Donuts' Double TroubleMad Over Donuts is another food chain that makes me rethink my cynicism. Now, I've had donuts in NYC, and then some in San Francisco, but I've yet to eat one that beats this soft, warm donut that takes its eater to paradise. Topped with a milk chocolate concoction, it is generously injected with dark, dark ganache, and it is impossible to eat it without making a delicious mess.
- •Le 15 Patisserie's Sea Salt MacaronThis little French pastry shop exploded in popularity because of its immaculate macaroons, and since has held up to its reputation. The sea salt macaron is a perfect symphony of textures and flavors—chewy and crunchy, sweet and salty.
- •My Grandma's Dosa and ChutneyDosas are, although I'm being reductionist, South Indian savory pancakes. By most people, they are made with fermented rice, and the thin and crispy pancake, often eaten as breakfast (although I can have it for all three meals) can be found universally in small to large scale food joints in Mumbai. However, my grandma is not most people—she adds a mix of select spices and condiments to the batter that makes it more nutritious, and delicious!
- •This SunsetNot food-related, but dude, this is a pretty sweet view to gaze at and think about life, probably while wolfing down one of the above.