I haven't written anything about Bombay in a while. Not that I am left with regular readers for this blog would would know that I used to write about Bombay every now and then. Bombay or Mumbai - to me both are the same. Bombay is just a habit as I have known that city by that name for years. It's that weird habit and attachment you have with old names. Maharashtrians have this tradition of changing the name of the girl after marriage. Your name, your identity that you held for years suddenly changes overnight. But her family will always relate to and call her by the old name. Same is the case with this city. Some people act like its khadus sasural wala and force everyone to call it Mumbai. Stupid analogy, yeah. But you do get the drift right?
Anyway. There is this very typical thing about Bombay. Like if someone goes to Haridwar, you ask them to get you a bottle of gangajal, when I travel to other cities, people ask me to get vada pav for them. Yes we do get vada paavs here at every corner, and they are tasty almost everywhere; but getting them at 5 am is expecting too much even from Bombay. And if you are a gujju, then the list includes thepla dhokla too.
Yes. Vada paav. The best ones I have had so far is at Ashok's vada paav near Kirti college. If you are from Bombay and haven't had vada paav there, what are you even doing in this city bro? Then you get this awesome vada paav outside mithibai college. I guess their butter layer in it is thicker than the paav.then you have datta vada paav across Bombay and express way, dattaguru at panvel, Joshi vada paav in Pune. But yes, all these can be missed, but not Ashok Vada Paav. Go and eat that right away.
Misal. Another maharashtra specialty. Again, you can hardly go wrong with this dish. It's mostly spicy and has gujju farsan in it. It's so spicy that you can't make out any other taste. And it tastes the best with paav. Probably the best misal place in Bombay is mamledar misal in thane. (I know thane is not Bombay, but for food we can adjust this much.)
Then you have thaali pith and kothambir vadi. Thaali pith is maharashtrian version of thepla. And kothambir vadi is another dish with coriander and besan. You either steam and serve it or shallow/deep fry it. It tastes superb either way. Some people ruin it by adding shengdana to it. This state people add shengdana and vataana to every damn thing. Anyway, coming back to these two dishes, again you cannot go wrong with any. And you get amazing ones at any maharashtrian food joint. Datta again being the best place to have it. And Sapre.
Sabudana vada. And Piyush. Place to go is Prakash in Dadar. Sabudana vada - I am sure most of you know. Piyush is liquid Shrikhand. If you are not a fan of sweets, it will kill you. It is extra sweet. And then you have jhunka bhakhar. Again a dish made of besan and bhakri - roti of different/mix grains. Earlier you had Jhunka bhakhar kendras across bombay. It was a kind of food chain. Now you see fewer of them around, but they are still there. The best one I knew was at nariman point. It was a sea facing joint behind NCPA. College time regular joint. They served the tastiest parathas and sandwiches I have ever had anywhere. It shut down. Again something you really really missed if you lived in Bombay a decade ago and never been to. Then there is puranpoli too - sweet roti. I hate it so I can't tell you where you get the good ones.
I must have missed out on quite a few dishes and places. Food everywhere is unlimited. You have plenty of varieties at almost all the places and in all the states. Almost all of us can write/talk about it all the time. All of us have favourite places to eat out at - restaurants and street food joints. Bombay has so many khau gallis. Most of them are in gujju areas. Bombay is full of gujjus anyway. But you still can't miss out on Maharashtrian food. If you visit Bombay, read this post. You don't have to meet me now. Hah.