Street food

Street food

By
Cyrus Todiwala
Contains
11 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742706337
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

If one city in India is truly reflective of the vast array of the subcontinents’ street food extravaganza, then it has got to be Bombay/Mumbai!

Bombay’s street food is unrivalled and can satisfy any budget from the poorest of the poor to the rich and famous, the high and mighty and the hoity-toity, all of whom indulge in the street delights of this magnificent city, which was our home for years and still feels like home every time we go back.

You might be surprised that a famous place like Baday Miyas, whose baida roti is legendary and has been on the streets ever since I began my career at the Taj in 1975, attracts the richest of the rich in their flashy Rolls Royces and fancy Ferraris, jostling with the poor and foodies like us to get in first.

If a Juicewalla gets famous because of a cocktail of juices he has perfected, rest assured there will be lines of cars waiting to be served until the wee hours of the morning, which may sound baffling.

Likewise, our local Good Luck restaurant, which I have been frequenting since the late sixties as a very young lad (from when proper pocket money kicked in to now) is where we go every time we are in Bombay to satisfy our passion for their kheema ghotala which simply translates as ‘confused mince’. The place has changed little, and despite all the mobile phones and hi-tech devices in everyone’s hands, the people and their attitudes towards Good Luck’s food haven't changed either.

The Great Bombay Street Sandwich draws the foodies to their own favourites. Bombayites will travel fifty miles to eat what they love from a particular vendor for a 20-rupee sandwich. That’s how mad and dedicated our people are when it comes to good food! A delicious, tasty meal can be bought with loose change, and is worth travelling for miles to get to. In our rather mad days we would drive twenty-strong on motorbikes for a hundred kilometres outside Bombay just to eat a famous biryani from a little roadside shack. That’s crazy considering you have to ride back after a heavy meal.

But Bombaywallas still do these and will go a long way to get ‘That man’s famous onion bhajias’ or ‘this guy’s fish koliwada’ or ‘That fellow’s bhael poori’ or ‘That lady’s wada pao’. That is passion and commitment and no doubt a sheer urge to satisfy that craving the palate demands.

Street food also came with the usual haunts of the ‘Booze Aunties’! All of us knew of at least two or three places where we could buy an out-of-hours tipple. It was either Aunty Josephine or Aunty Mary or Aunty Cecelia, but we never saw their faces. Money and little bottles were always exchanged from behind a curtain: a hand would come out and take your money, a little opening in the curtain again meant change and the goods were thrust out. We were all victims of a little alcoholic desire, and the only thing dictating whether we bought cheap locally distilled booze or a slightly upmarket rum was the size of our pockets.

No matter what your tastebuds call for, or for that matter how much money you have at your disposal, Bombay will amaze you, astound you, excite you and leave you spellbound if you take the decision to be adventurous and pig out. That is a guarantee!

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again