Mumbai – The City That Never Sleeps or the City Of Dreams, or maybe we can say the Home and Birth-place of Bollywood? There are just so many ways Mumbai stands out amongst the long list of cities in the world, that it doesn’t even require an introduction. From international sports stadium to national parks, it has everything for everyone, including the famous Mumbai street food!

No matter what cuisine you crave and no matter what your budget is, Mumbai has something for every palate and budget. With five-star hotels, roadside restaurants, highway side dhabas and countless food stalls scattered through various streets of Mumbai (the famous Khau-gallis!), it truly is a paradise for foodies.

Read on to learn about the absolutely drool-worthy street food, that is a must have on your next Mumbai visit.

1. Vada Pav

Vada Pav has to be definitely at the top of our list, because when people hear “Mumbai street food” they immediately think “Vada Pav”. A Maharashtrian staple, this grab and go dish is also known as a poor mans burger. Made up of deep fried flavorful potato patty (batata vada), stuffed in a pav, coated with coriander and mint chutney, it is sold on countless food stalls through out the city. Accompanied by fried green chillies and red chilli masala it is scrumptiously filling and a perfect companion to evening tea.

Mumbai Vada Pav
Mumbai Vada Pav
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 10/-  
  • Famous places to check out: Shivaji Park, Babu Cha Vada Pav,Gajanan vada pav, Anand vada pav stall, Jumbo King, etc.

2. Pav Bhaji

Thick spicy tangy tomato based gravy made up of mixed and mashed vegetables, topped with a dollop of butter and coriander, served alongside chopped onion, slices of lemon and pav fried in butter or bhaji masala, is what you get when you order a Pav Bhaji. Cooked on a big tava (girdle) in front of everyone, this dish is a favorite amongst many food enthusiasts. Although today we find quite a few variations like Khada pav bhaji (vegetable chunks in the bhaji instead of fully mashed), Cheese pav bhaji (bhaji topped with cheese), Paneer pav bhaji (paneer cubes in the bhaji), Black pav bhaji (bhaji with activated charcoal powder added to it), etc. nothing beats the plain old and original pav bhaji.

Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 50/-
  • Famous places to check out: Sardar Pav Bhaji, Canon Pav Bhaji, Sukh Sagar, Juhu Beach stalls etc.

Also Read: Top 5 Brunch Places In Dubai

3. Misal Pav

This versatile dish can be a breakfast dish, full meal or a snack. Served with pav, misal is a spicy curry made from moth beans and in part with sprouted lentils. There are two components to it: thick lentil curry called “usal” and watery spicy gravy called “rassa”, people mix these two as per their taste and preference. It’s topped with farsan and sev along with onion and lemon. There are many varieties of misal depending upon their region of origin and what they are served along, Kolhapuri misal (high spice content), Puneri misal (contains poha), Nashik misal (served along curd or buttermilk), are the most well known varieties.

Misal Pav
Misal Pav
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 50/-
  • Famous places to check out: Gajanan Misal, Mamledar Misal, Aaswad, Shree Datta Snacks, etc.

4. Chaat

Coming all the way from North India, chaat is an integral part of the Mumbai street food menu. Pani puri, Bhel puri, Dahi puri, Sev puri, Dahi vada, Ragda patties, Ragda puri, Kachori, Dahi Kachori, Raj kachori, Papri chaat, Basket chaat, Chole Samose, Masala puri, etc. are just some common chaats you will find on the streets of Mumbai. Made with a variety of ingredients like potatoes, mung beans, chickpeas, papdis, kachoris, etc. topped with curd, sweet – spicy and tangy chutneys, garnished with sev, coriander and pomegranate seeds, these quick and tempting dishes burst with flavors in every bite. Pani puri or Golgappe or Puchkas are these unique flavorful water-bombs that are loved by everyone.

Variety of Chaat
Variety of Chaat
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 20/- at road side stalls.
  • Famous places to check out: Chole Samose at Guru Kripa in Sion , Pani puri at Elco in Bandra, Girgaon Chowpatty, etc.

Also Read: The Ultimate Thai Street Food Guide

5. Bhajiya

Bhajiya/ Bhajji / Pakora are usually made of potato, onion, corn, paneer, spinach, banana, eggplant, bread slices stuffed with potato mixture (bread pakora), chilli, etc. sometimes rice flour is also used for other varieties. They are dipped in spiced gramflour batter and then deep fried. (With potato you get 2 varieties: 1- sliced potato coated in batter and deep fried- aloo bhajiya, and 2- boiled and mashed spiced potatoes, dipped in the batter and deep fried- batata vada or aloo bonda). Fresh hot bhajiyas served with spicy chutney and kadak chai is truly a match made in heaven, munching on bhajiyas in monsoon is pure bliss!!!

Onion Bhajiya
Onion Bhajiya
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 10/-
  • Famous places to check out: Any roadside stall, outside local train stations, etc.

6. Bombay Sandwich

A popular lunch of students, Bombay Sandwich is made with bread and slices of tomato, onion, cucumber, beetroot and sometimes a potato filling, topped with chaat masala and chutney it can be toasted or untoasted. Just like every other thing, there are many variations of sandwiches available now, cheese sandwich, paneer sandwich, jain sandwich, also other unique variations from chocolate sandwich to sundae sandwich are available.

Bombay Sandwich
Bombay Sandwich
  • Cost: starts from as low as INR 10/- at roadside stalls.
  • Famous places to check out: Say Cheese, Sandwizza, Lucky Sandwich, Raju Sandwich, etc.

Also Read: Food that you shouldn’t miss when in Singapore

7. Dabeli

Dabeli literally means “pressed” in gujarati. It is the equivalent of Vada pav from Gujarat. Although slightly sweeter, this gujarati delicacy is made by mixing mashed potatoes with special dabeli masala (made from dried red chillies, dried coconut, salt, cumin turmeric, cardamon, and other garam masalas) and stuffed (pressed) in pav with tamarind, date and garlic chutneys and garnished with sev, roasted peanuts and pomegranate seeds. Since dabeli originated in Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, it is also called a Kutchi Dabeli.

Kutchi Dabeli
Kutchi Dabeli
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 30/-
  • Famous places to check out: Dancing Dabeli in Andheri-E, Dabeli House, Joshi’s Dabeli house, etc.

8. South Indian Specialities

A steamer- steaming fresh hot idlis, big wok full of oil- deep frying piping hot medu vadas, a big rectangular thick girdle- making crispy dosas, containers- full of chilled coconut chutney and hot sambhar — this is the sight that welcomes you when you visit a stall selling these South Indian delicacies. Attracting major crowds, these dishes are an instant crowd pleaser. There are many varieties of dosa (mysore masala dosa, chinese dosa, noodle dosa), idli (stuffed idli, malasa idli, fried idli), vadas (medu vada,dal vada, sambhar vada), bondas, upma, uthappam, appam, etc. that are available in the streets of Mumbai. A light dinner or filling breakfast or just an evening snack, these dishes tick all the boxes.

South Indian Dishes
South Indian Dishes
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 50/-
  • Famous places to check out: Hotel Ramashray, Mani’s and Cafe Madras in Matunga, Banana leaf in Thane, etc.

Also Read: Sri Lankan Food: Heaven in Seven Dishes

9. Rolls & Wraps

For people always on the run, these grab and go dishes are a blessing and for Mumbaikars who are always on the move, hustling and bustling from one place to another these dishes sometimes make up their lunch on the go. Rolls and Wraps have become a favourite because of the ease with which these can be eaten while walking or even when traveling in the Mumbai local. There are many Frankie and Shwarma stalls scattered throughout the city. Shwarma is the Eastern Mediterranean wrap, that’s filled with meat roasted on a rotisserie along with tahini, hummus, pickled vegetables, etc. Frankie is the Indianised version of a Shwarma that can be veg, non-veg or Indo-chinese.

Shwarma
Shwarma
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 40/-
  • Famous places to check out: Near Mahim Dargah, Kings Shwarma, Carter’s Blue, Tibbs frankie, Breadkraft, etc.

10. Desi Chinese

We Indians love giving desi twists to things we love. This love is not limited to just movies or fashion, but extends to food as well. Indo-Chinese or Desi Chinese is an example of it. We took the traditional Chinese dishes, added our local vegetables and spices, along with Chinese sauces and created a cuisine that hits the perfect spot on deliciousness and creativity. There are so many dishes and their Chinese variations available, even the Chinese people don’t know these exist!

Chowmein served on roadside stalls
Chowmein served on roadside stalls
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 15/- for Chinese Bhel, and INR 70/- for Chowmein and Hakka Noodles at roadside stalls.
  • Famous places to check out: 5 Spice, China Bistro, China Gate, China Village, etc.

Also Read: 11 Thai Food Specialties That Will Leave You Craving For More

11. Momos

Taking the street food over recently are these bite-sized steamed dumplings. Popular in Nepal and Tibet, this dish came to our country through the North East India. Usually stuffed with a filling made of vegetables, there are several non-veg options available. Served with garlic chutney, momos also have variations in terms of how they are prepared. Apart from steaming we get pan fried, deep fried and tandoori momos on the streets of Mumbai.

Tandoori, Steamed and Fried Momos sold in Mumbai
Tandoori, Steamed and Fried Momos sold in Mumbai
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 40/-
  • Famous places to check out: Dev’s Momo, Desi Adda, Dumpling Khang, Darjeeling Momos & More, etc.

12. Khichiya Papad/Masala Papad

Roasted over coals and topped with chutneys, onion, tomato, coriander, lemon juice and sev, this crunchy crispy snack is quite famous in the Kalbadevi (Zaveri Bazar) locality. This dish is slowly gaining popularity among various Khau-gallis of Mumbai.

Khichiya Papad
Khichiya Papad
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 30/-
  • Famous places to check out: BKM Papad in Borivali, Maa Anjani in Borivali, Ghatkopar Khau-galli, etc.

13. Falooda

Ending our list on a sweet note. This Persian dessert made of vermicelli (noodles), sweet syrup, soaked basil seeds, chilled milk and topped with ice cream has also found its way to the streets of Mumbai. Apart for small dedicated stalls, there are various “Mewad Ice Cream” carts roaming around the city that sell Falooda.

Falooda
Falooda
  • Cost: starts as low as INR 40/- at roadside stalls
  • Famous places to check out: Baba Falooda, Badshah Cold Drinks, Haji Ali Juice Centre, Shiv Sagar, etc.

Also Read: Roti, Rice and Everything Nice: The Singapore Food Guide

Special Mentions:

Chowpatty: Since this doesn’t exactly fall under street food category but has all the street foods available in one place, Chowpatty deserves a special mention. Strolling through the sands while enjoying the sea and craving something from the list above? Head over the corner dedicated for food stalls and satisfy your cravings with a view. 

Pav Bhaji being made on a girdle at Chowpatty
Pav Bhaji being made on a girdle at Chowpatty

Mohammed Ali Road & Bohri Mohalla: It will be a crime not to include these places in our list. These meat lovers paradise are scattered with stalls and eateries selling Kabab pav, Baida Roti, Mutton Roll, Naan Sandwich, Tandoori Chicken, Seek Kabab, Fried Chicken, Crispy Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Shwarma, Khichda (Khichra/Haleem), etc. whatever your heart craves, they deliver. Bademiya – a famous eatery joint in Colaba also has an outlet at Mohammed Ali Road, that is operational only in the holy month of Ramadan. Not just non-veg lovers but these places also have something to cater for people with sweet tooth too, from a hand-made ice cream shop to various sharbat vendors and old established sweet shops scattered through out you will definitely find something to indulge in your sweet cravings.

Interested in a food tour of Mohammed Ali Road or Bohri Mohalla? “No Footprints” takes you on a flavourful walk, to tickle up your tastebuds through various food stalls in these localities and lets you experience all the available culinary varieties from sweet to savoury. You can sign up for their walks through their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Seekh Kabab and Chicken Drumsticks being grilled at Mohammad Ali Road, Mumbai
Seekh Kabab and Chicken Drumsticks being grilled at Mohammad Ali Road, Mumbai

If the names of some of the dishes in this list, don’t express the fondness we Mumbaikars have for pav, then we don’t know what will. As pav absorbs the oil and gravy in the Indian food, it was absorbed in our diets after the Portuguese introduced it to us in the mid 1500s. Some bhajiya vendors also sell samosa or bhajiyas in a pav making samosa pav and bhajiya pav another addition in our list.

Coming over from all over the country, and even China, these street food specialties have not only made a place in our plates but also in our hearts. Street food in Mumbai is surely a blessing for foodies on a budget. Filling, comforting and easy on the pocket, its no wonder travelers and locals alike, love to indulge in Mumbai street food.

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