Best Dishes You Should Definitely Try in MumbaiMumbai is a city of beguiling mélange. It is beautiful, yet somewhat puzzling. The food which is the most reflective element of a city’s distinctiveness is a proof of Mumbai’s bewitching characteristic. Like any other city; Mumbai's food has its own charm and own taste, but what makes it so special is the way the city has adopted and then reinvented some iconic dishes from different communities and different places, apart from having its own traditional ones. There are so many food items that everyone should try once they land in this magical city; here are our suggestions:
The city has its name endorsed with it; the Bombay Sandwich is undoubtedly Mumbai’s one of the most liked food items. Like many other iconic items, Bombay Sandwich is also invented at the streets of the city. When some of the completely unlikely ingredients are made to combine altogether under the wrapper of butter toasted bread slices, Bombay Sandwich takes birth! In a single sentence, a Bombay Sandwich is nothing but some boiled potatoes, Onion shredded or rings, cucumber, tomato slices, beetroot rings-all spiced up with chat masala and layered on butter and green chutney bathed bread slices. One bite on this crunchy triangle, and you would know why it is called a Bombay Sandwich!
Akuri on Toast
Mumbai is truly a cosmopolitan city. It has long been embracing different communities, different culture, and different cuisine with same appreciation towards all. Parsis are one of these different communities that Bombay (Mumbai) has espoused centuries ago; and since then the city has become almost synonymous with the Parsi culture and food. Among many other iconic Parsi dishes, Akuri is one which tops the list thanks to its simplicity of look and a marvelous complexity in taste. Got confused? Let’s make it a bit simple. Imagine the English scrambled egg with lot more Asia spices like turmeric powder, coriander powder, green chillies, chopped onion and tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste and garnished with a handful of coriander leaves- Akuri it is! Akuri is best served with Toasted bread.
Don’t get confused by the quirkiness its name provides; Bheja Fry is literally the fried brain (of Goats, now chill!) fried in butter and tossed with chopped onions, tomatoes, spice powders, green chilies, and lots of chopped fresh coriander leaves. Bheja Fry has its Muslim origin but is tremendously popular among the meat lovers across the city. It is as awesome as the colloquial lingo of a hardcore Mumbaikar!
This iconic Mumbai food is an unassuming yet delicious snack which can be taken anytime in a day be it at breakfast or just as an accompaniment of your smoking hot masala tea. Batata Vada is made with mashed boiled potato, chopped green chili, shredded ginger and garlic, coriander leaves, lime juice, salt and turmeric powder and then dipped in besan (powdered Bengal gram flour) batter and finally deep fried till golden brown. These delightful dumplings bring joy and happiness in every Mumbaikar’s face especially when they are served hot with the tangy green chutney!
How come a Pav can be separated from Mumbai? Mumbai has gifted us so many things to cherish; the variety of ways of how-to-eat-a-pav is among those things which no one can get over if tasted at least once! Pav Baji is the most popular street food not only in Mumbai, but all over India. The Bhaji is made of assorted vegetable fried with chopped onion, tomatoes, green chilies, ginger-garlic paste and slightly curried in spices and lemon juice; this Bhaji then is served with butter toasted soft Pav (bread buns) and green chutney and onion-tomato salad. Pav Bhaji is available at everywhere in Mumbai, from street food stall to posh restaurants!
Vada Pav is simply the Mumbai version of Vegetable Burger, yet much simple in presentation, but more complex in taste. A Vada Pav is consists of onion or potato Vada( fried dumpling) inserted into a half-cut and buttered Pav (bread bun) and served with green chutney.
If Mumbai is to be described by any three things, Bhel Puri would definitely be one of them! Be it at the Juhu beach or at any road side street food joint, you can’t miss it, because Bhel Puri is simply ubiquitous. This cold, crisp, chatpata sweet and sour mix of puffed rice, chopped onion, tomatoes and boiled potato, green chilies sev, spices and red tamarind chutney can beat the heat of Mumbai, anytime, any day.
Bombil or Bombay duck, whatever you call it, you can no longer just stare at them when they are all deep fried and served in your plate! Bombil is a fish and not a duck which is almost synonymous with the sea food items in Mumbai. The crunchy crust of the outside may confuse you with its soft and succulent part from the inside; but altogether these fries would bring a big smile on your face!
Frankie is what Kathi Roll is for Kolkata, but with a difference, it is made off naan! Every Frankie would come with different feelings of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian stuffs, amount of sauces and spice-all on your demand. These yummy rolls comfort your hunger, kill it and make you totally satisfied.
Keema Pav is another popular choice mostly taken as a breakfast item in Mumbai restaurants. Keema or the minced mutton cooked in lots of hot spices and chopped onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies and then served with butter toasted buns and sometimes with poached egg. Keema Pav is mostly available at any Parsi Café in Mumbai.
This is completely a homely comfort food enormously popular in restaurants and food joints across Mumbai. Poha (flattend rice) is a popular breakfast item in the western coastal belt in India. Kenda (onion in Marathi) Poha is the Marathi version of Poha prepared with abundance of sliced onions and fried potato cubes and served with chopped coriander leaves and scrapped coconut. It blends both health and taste together in a simple way.
Parsi foods are popular in Mumbai. And Mutton Dhansak is one of those Parsi dishes that you will regret if not tasted at least once in your lifetime! Tenderly done mutton pieces cooked in assorted spices and served with brown rice and mutton kebabs topped with chopped onion and tomatoes - Mutton Dhansak is all about soul food satisfying your gastronomic quest.
Patra ni Machchhi
Another iconic Parsi food loved by all the foody Mumbaikars is the Patra ni Machchhi or the spice marinated Pomfret fish fillet wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection. It resembles the iconic Bengali dish Machher Paturi but has its own uniqueness of taste.
Puan Poli is a festival food in Maharashtra mostly made during Holi and Dussera and can be eaten only at the Marathi households! Puan Poli is made by simmering gram flour with jaggery or sugar and cardamom and nutmeg powder until dry. The small balls of this dough are then filled with sweetened wheat flour stuffing and then are rolled out like chapatis and roasted in ghee. Puran Polis are superbly tasty and miraculously healthy providing lots of energy in you.
Yet another popular street food of Mumbai, Ragda Patties are the one-pot meal that completes in itself. Ragda or the boiled and mashed white chickpeas are mixed with boiled potatos, spices, tamarind pulp and jiggery and then small cutlets are made and deep fried; finally these patties are tempered with some typical whole spices and served with assorted chutney and chopped onions. This Chaat item is equally popular as Bhel Puri and Pani Puri.
Bun Maska and Irani Chai
Bun Maska is another perfect example of amalgamations of various cuisines and then giving birth to a whole new one! Take a walk down the south central Mumbai; probably the oldest part of the city and all the Irani cafes would remind you of an old bygone era. Parsi cuisine and its everlasting love affair with the breads and butter are quintessentially reflected on Bun Maska.
A wholesome dollop of butter on a pair of bread buns (almost similar to those French buns) is popularly believed to be the great great-grandfather of Mumbai’s Vada Pav. Burn Maska is often accompanied with the famous Irani chai or the thick creamy masala Tea only available at the Irani cafes. In Mumbai, it is considered a sin to not taste these inseparable duos together!
Samosa is a triangular shaped vegetable patti deep and it is also a popular street food in India. In Mumbai, the city’s love for Pav (bread) is seen almost in every street food. So, here is the Samosa Pav, a samosa pressed and stuffed inside a butter toasted bun and served with green chutney and salad.
Baida Roti is one of the most famous and royal street foods in Mumbai. It is Bade Miya which has made Baida Roti a global name. This scrumptious food is a roti made with flour and stuffed with minced meat and egg and fried in ghee.
So, what is so special in Dhoklas of Mumbai? Simply, nothing! But still, this yellowy, super fluffy and spongy snack from the neighbouring state of Gujarat somehow managed to ensconce itself permanently here in Mumbai also and became a household name in Mumbai food culture. Dhoklas are made by steaming the spiced up besan batter and are served best with green and tamarind chutney.
If the popular stories are to be believed, this dish was invented at the Sion fishing Village or Koliwada by not a Marathi, but a north Indian Punjabi immigrant! Since then, Prawns Koliwada is a signature dish of Mumbai. Prawns are marinated in a batter consisting ginger-garlic and red chili paste and flour and a bit of red colour and then deep fried till crispy.
Butter Garlic Crab
The buttery affair of Bombay (Mumbai) goes hands in hands in this key dish. When a big crab is bathed in butter-garlic sauce, it creates a magic in your taste buds and thus Butter Garlic Crab easily becomes a must-try dish in Mumbai.
Sabudana Khichdi & Vada
How a humble recipe becomes an integral part of food culture of a big city, this dish is a perfect example of this. Sabudana Khichdi is a traditional fasting menu for Indians, especially at the Konkan belt. But, both sabudana khichdi and sabudana vada crossed the restricted borders of fasting foods and have become two of the most popular dishes in Mumbai.
Like those of Gujarati and south Indian dishes, Mumbai has also adopted some of the Goan cuisine and made them its own signature dish. Pork Vindaloo is a Goan specialty famous both in Goa and Mumbai. Meat lovers in Mumbai just swear by Pork Vindaloo.
Mughlai Foods at Mohammad Ali
Mughals not only overrun India from political front, but also left their signature food culture with ultimate Mughlai demeanour. From Biriyani to Mutton, from Kebabs to sweet Phirni- Mohammad Ali Road in Mumbai has everything Mughlai you can ask for. It would be a poor-miss if some of the tastiest Mughlai dishes are left not-tried here at this place in Mumbai.
Chicken Sukka is a Mangalore specialty which has gained tremendous popularity in Mumbai. Butwith time, Mumbai has managed to give this prominent chicken dish its own twist using some of the elected malvani spices. The dry Chicken preparation is robust in flavor and tastes completely out of the world.
Another popular Managalorean non-vegetarian dish that has acquired a respectable place among the foods in Mumbai is the Mutton Gassi. Gassi is the basic meat gravy preparation prepared with coconut paste with all other basic spice mixes and tastes just yum! Gassi is the contribution of the South Indian (mostly Mangalorean) communities residing in Mumbai for eon.
This traditional Maharashtrian pure vegetarian meal consists of boiled rice accompanied by toor daal (split pigeon peas), cooked in mild spices and sugar or jiggery and topped with a dollop of clarified butter. It is an everyday meal in any Marathi household and carries the basic essence of Marathi food. A must try dish while at a Marathi friend’s home!
Misal Pav is originally from Pune but happily taken an eternal place in the food culture of Mumbai. Misal is a mixture of boiled sprouted lentils, chopped onion, tomato and green chilies, cubed boiled potato, sev, crispy poha (flattened rice flakes), lemon juice and sweet and sour spices and is eaten with the Pav.
Usal Pav is another popular street food found almost everywhere in the city. In this dish, Usal or the dried peas are cooked with sliced onions, tomatoes and other spices and served with toasted Buns. We told you, Mumbai knows countless ways of eating Pav!
Kolhapuri Mutton can truly justify the hotness of Mumbai. Kolhapuri Mutton has its origin at Kolhapur, Maharashtra yet is too popular among the carnivorous of Mumbai. This is s coconut based mutton gravy that comes with two variations, the Tambda Rassa or the red chili spiced gravy and the Pandhara Rassa or the Cashewnut, yogurt and other mild spiced laden gravy.
The neighbouring state has influenced the food habits of Mumbai in many ways. And in Mumbai a grand Gujarati Thali is as popular as the south Indian Tiffin items. On the days when the Mumbaikars keep fast, Gujarati Thali comes as a special and well-appreciated resort.
South Indian Tiffins and Meals
Idly, Dosa, Medu Vada, Utthapam, sambar, rasam, dahi vada, aloo bonda, neer dosa, appam and whatnot- eating in Mumbai would be totally incomplete without tasted the foods at those numerous Udipi restaurants flourished and then got somewhat Mumbaified in this ever-welcoming city for years.
Fish and Prawn Curry
The first historical impression of Mumbai was of a fishing village. SO, basically fish, prawns and other sea-foods can never be dragged apart from the city. Fish and Prawn curry was popular, is and will always be popular in Mumbai. The famous curry is prepared with coconut milk and assorted mild spices in which the fish fillets and prawns simply cooked to perfection. This is best served with boiled rice.
Inseparable part of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, Modak is Lord Ganesha’s most favourite item! So, it has to be Mumbaikar’s favouite too. It is a sweet made with uniquely designed flour dumplings stuffed with coconut and jiggery. Undoubtedly, modak is the best dessert item Maharashtra has given to the world!
Natural’s Ice cream and Falooda
And, finally no meal is ever complete without slurping on a delicious ice cream or kulfi-falooda! If Mangalore has its Ideal, Mumbai has its Natural’s. Though the brand is now spread over many other cities in the country, it Mumbai who tasted these delectable desserts for the first time and it is still the most popular ice cream brand in the city.
Also See: Best places to enjoy breakfast in Mumbai | Some offbeat restaurants to try in Mumbai | The best food joints for college students in Mumbai