8 things you get to eat only in Mumbai

Okay, first, the title is misleading - when I say ONLY in Mumbai, I mean the good stuff is in Mumbai. Like - in my Bschool at Gurgaon, they served a mis-mash of potatoes and oversized buns (which for some reason had a sweet aftertaste) which the mess would lovingly call - bhaji pao! First, it is not bhaji pao - it is Pav Bhaji and Second - just because you overbought potatoes last week and mashed them with whatever was left in the kitchen, doesnt make it pav bhaji! But what pissed me off was that my north Indian colleagues, perfectly sane 99 percentilers, loved this mixed vegetable masquerading as pav bhaji.

So you see, you can get bhaji pav etc in Delhi too, but it cant be counted as pav bhaji. The real pav bhaji, you get only in Mumbai. Based on this and many other such experiences, here is a list of 8 things you get to eat only in Mumbai

1. Pav Bhaji.

Delicious, melt in your mouth pav, and right amount of cauliflower, peas and potatoes, made to cook on a flat tava consistently mashing the ingredients together makes the bhaji. Amul butter makes 17% of its revenues from the pav bhaji stalls in Mumbai. (Fun trivia - Sanjay dutt played a pav bhaji wala in Vastav in the first 20 mins of the film after which he played himself)

2. Medu Vada Sambhaar

The first Shetty sailed from Udipi to Mumbai, then Bombay, in 1890. He then brought in 100 other shettys (or is it Shetties?) with him to serve the Parsi/Irani population with real breakfast, something that did not involve just maida and butter (80% of Parsi person is made of these ingredients.). Then he came up with an idea- a Vada with the hole - Medu Vada (which Maharastrians wrongly refer to as  Mendu Vada. Mendu is brain in marathi, which makes no sense)

Thanks to Shetty population in Mumbai, the bachelors have learnt to have breakfast. This dish alone is responsible for mass migration of Shettys from Udipi to Mumbai. This also includes Suniel Shetty and Shilpa Shetty.
Today, you find better Medu Vada in Mumbai than what you find in Udipi. (Tasted and compared on multiple occasions)

3.Vada Pav
It is a shame that I have mentioned it 3rd. It should be mentioned first on every list. Even the list of who should be the next PM candidate of India. It should be this dish. Enough has been said about it and I dont intend to say anything more. It is the king of the world. Bas. Khup said.

4.Peppy cheese ball

This is not available north of the Tropic of Cancer. The frequency of their availabilty is what I am referring to when I say you can get it only in Mumbai.
It can make you free of your worries for those blissful 20 mins when you are tossing, light cheese ball after cheese ball in your mouth.(That line sounded much better in my head).
If you are in India and are wondering what is this Peppy cheese balls I talk about - search for it and buy it online (obviously it has a fan club)

5. Misal Pav

Punekars take huge pride in their Misal Pavs but the best misal pav place here would find it difficult to find takers in Mumbai. Here is the Misal pav formula -
Misal pav = Fluffy pav + Farsan (100% besan) + Sprouted peas (and not moong as Punekars use)
If you can follow this formula, you make the best misal pav in Mumbai, ipso facto, the world. Mumbaikars around the world would remind each other of the goodness of your Misal pav, and want to come back - It would be their Swades and you would be their Ashutosh. Your kids would proudly tell their friends - Mera baap misal pav banata hai. All that.

6. Pani puri
What you get in other parts of India is not Pani puri - it is either gol-gappe, or gupchup or some other acoustic name, but it is not Pani-puri. You get Pani puri only here. Its not the taste that I am a fan of - It is the pseudo safety feeling these guys give me when they say "Pani puri made with bisleri water". Some of them have gone ahead and even got the ice that is used to cool the pani too, made with bisleri water.

7. Sugar cane juice
By now you must have realised where this list is going. You get Sugar cane juice almost throughout India's sugar belt, but not in Plastic glasses with a dash of lemon and pepper. Have a glass when you are down. It is India's answer to red bull.

8. Butta

No, not corn but butta. The roasting system is the same across India but what differs is the spicing. Down south, a wet mix of chilli and what might be nuclear waste is used to spice the corn. Up north, they have the hardest corn of all world. Your jaw gives up after three bites. The spicing doesnt matter when you are eating steel bearings.
In Mumbai however, the right spicing and roasting technique is used. Also, now this American corn has swept the market which is just as shitty as other American products, Cheverlot, I am looking at you. It is sweet and soft, like too soft. I want a option between soft as a Katrina Kaif and hard as Rahul Gandhi's luck.

I am sure I have missed a few things, feel free to add stuff to the list.

I am so hungry now. Peace.
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7 letters to the editor:

    On February 8, 2014 at 3:31 AM     
    vikram said...

    You got two wrong. You don't get sugarcane juice and bhutta anywhere as you do in Punjab. And well, rest of your stuff has pav...

    On February 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    @arshat Excellent!! commets goes with food!!

    @vikram bogoff from Mumbai and stick your self to Punjab (no offence against any of my fellow Indians but this thick head needs to be told off)

    oye teri, that escalated quickly!

    Waise @Anon, Vikram is a dear friend aur he likes Mumbai, only not so much its food. But he will get there, I am sure.

    Kyunki - Sabse meetha Mumbai ka paani! :)

    Hi! I too dont agree on the Sugarcane Juice and Bhutta! But agree that Misal is good. And you can say Mumbai serves best sea food as well ..

    On April 5, 2014 at 9:13 PM     
    anand said...

    My god! What a great post. Its like homecoming. May the force be with you!

    Dude, to be true, I really respected u for your take on elections but this, this article is SHIT. We never call pav-bhaji as bhaji-pav in delhi or any other area up north. We also make this stuff on flat tavas where it is mashed properly. For your take that only u guys know the optimum weight of peas and other stuff to be added, I have just one answer- Never argue with a punjabi foodie over 'food'. We have genetically better taste buds than any1 else anywhere in the world for items that are a regular in our households. Having said this and being a delhite, lucknowite and kanpurite myself, I also want to admit that a lot of things in delhi have gone wayward because of the showbaaji and nautanki culture there. Food is one of these items. So, they work more on showing cuisine superiority over there than actually working on the cuisine itself lately. This leads to addition of all the mehanga stuff and various other things that many times lead to taste mismatch. Still, atleast for pav bhaji, u do have gr8 eating spots in every punjabi locality in India.
    Another thing, plz spare me the shit about sugarcane juice in plastic glasses and lemon and other things to go with it on top. Thats dam usual...plz don't talk about a region's culture or food if you haven't explored properly...PEACE...I still think your other posts are gr8 and would love to see u write more..tc

    On June 25, 2015 at 4:52 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    schezwan dosa and a different kind of dosa(mysore), i never eat such taste even in south and
    idli cycle wala(specially chutney)