What better way to sample some of this food that we have been so curious about, foods we have been seeing as we toured the city on our own. It was great to have a guide, to explain to us what we were eating and what was (hopefully!) safe to eat. I did have some concerns that we could be paying for this little adventure over the next few days, but Sagar, our guide, assured us that everything we were about to eat was clean safe food.
The tour started at Chowpatty, Mumbai’s beach and local hang out spot. There were many stands here selling food, most of them looked to be selling the same foods. Its kind of reminded me of buying food at a carnival. This was a Hindu area of town and everything that we would be eating here would be vegetarian.
The first thing we tried was pani puri. A hollow ball of crusty dough, almost like a taco chip, was punctured by the thumb of the man serving the food and filled with a cold water mixture of what looked like corn and something green.
I could count five things in the preparation of this food with the potential to get us ill…should we really be doing this?
The four of us were served our pani puri. The proper way to eat it was to put the entire thing into your mouth and eat it. It is quite a large bite of food! I bit into mine, sending a surprising explosion of cold, spicy, vegetable water into my mouth. I can’t say that I really liked it. Still, I went back for seconds, but that was enough for me.
Dahi Batata Puri
Next up was Dahi batata puri. After stuffing the puri and topping it with sauces and copious amounts of creamy Dahi, he hands us the plate with a flourish and we proceed to dig in. This was awesome. Those same puri shells were filled with some vegetable mixture, hot this time, and not watery, then doused with yogurt and herbs. So, so good!
The third dish we tried turned out to be a family favorite, pav bhaji. This part of India was first settled by the Portuguese, and this dish has a Portuguese origin. Tomatoes and other vegetables are cooked and mashed together and Indian spices are added to it. We ate the bread with the vegetable mixture and it was awesome. I could eat this every day.
Next up, another family favorite and something sweet this time. Kulfi is sweetened condensed milk with added flavorings, then frozen. Any flavors can be added, however, the assortment of Kulfi flavors we enjoyed were pistachio, mango, vanilla, rosewater, cardamom and cashew nut – all traditional delicious Indian flavors. This was perfect on a hot night and it was so good that we went back for seconds.
Chicken Rolls and Sandwiches
Part one of the tour was over. To get to the next location, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Mumbai, we had to take a twenty-minute taxi ride across town. Now it was time for some meat dishes.
We took our seats in the back of a very small restaurant. It was very warm in the back, even at 8 pm. Here we ate chicken rolls, a dish made of beef and eggs in a flat pastry, and a spicy chicken sandwich. It was all very good, especially the spicy chicken sandwich.
Ice cream time! There’s always room for ice cream, especially homemade ice cream. Everything that needs to be said about Taj Icecream has probably been said. The outlet is over 125 years old, and if it isn’t the oldest ice cream place in the city, we don’t know what is. Its charm exists in the traditional preparation of ice cream, still churned by hand. That the place isn’t ideal to hang out at is a small mercy, or we’d be there for dessert all night. Everything tastes good here, and it’s arguably the best traditional ice creams in the city. we were the biggest fans of this dish.
Our food tour ended at Taj Icecream. What a wonderful experience. I love trying new foods, especially strange new foods. And I am very happy to say that none of us got sick after this tour, a very wonderful thing since we had a plane to catch to Udaipur the next day.
So, if anyone has plans to tour Mumbai, put the street food tour with Mumbai Dream Tours at the top of your life.