The history of the cuisine in Mumbai is directly linked to the progression of the city from fishing village to the metropolis of today. Immigrants from all over India arrived in Mumbai (previously Bombay), bringing their culinary specialities with them. This has resulted in a mesh of cooking techniques and street food, representing Mumbai’s diverse food culture. Maharashtran food is a conglomeration of Gujarati, Muslim, Coastal, Goan, Parsi, and South Indian cuisine culture.
One of the most popular dishes in Mumbai is Akuri on toast. This is a famous Parsi dish, and every family now has a way of making this popular breakfast. It is normally made by scrambling eggs with tomatoes, onions, green and red chillies, and garnished with fresh coriander leaves. Some versions include milk, cumin, ginger, garlic and curry leaves.
Butter Chicken is also a famous dish in Mumbai. Its roots lie to the Mughal days, when calorie-ridden dishes were very popular. It is traditionally eaten by families dining out in restaurants of Mumbai. This made from chunks of chicken, which have been marinated in yoghurt and spices, ginger, garlic and lime juice.
The Bombay Sandwich is a street-side delight prepared with thinly-cut beetroot, cucumber, boiled potatoes, onion rings, tomatoes and mint chutney layered in between two buttered white bread. It comes in both cold and toasted manner and popular with people of Mumbai who are looking to grab lunch on-the-go.
Bombil Fry is another speciality, also known as Bombay Duck. This dish, however, contains no duck and is actually fish found in the waters surrounding Mumbai. Bombil Fry is a favourite amongst fisher folk, and is made by flattening the Bombil, before dipping in spice-infused gram flour batter and then fried. It is crispy on the outside and soft in the centre, and is usually served as a snack or starter, or accompanied by chapattis as a main dish.
The most popular early-evening snack in Mumbai is their Bhel Puri. Every street in Mumbai sells this chaat, but the most popular areas are the stalls at Juhu and Chowpatty beaches. Every street seller has their own version, each made different by altering the quantities of the main ingredients: papdi, puffed rice, onions, sev, raw mango, potatoes, and sweet and sour chutney.
It is evident that the most popular type of food in Mumbai is street food. It is a way of life for the people of this city, and a way of bringing together people of all classes and religions, who find it hard to resist the rich tapestry of flavours these snacks have to offer. There are some Indian restaurants in London who now bring a taste of this food to the UK. The seven Masala Zones dotted around London, for example, specialise in street food – their samosas and Gol Guppa are said to be the best in town. Other fine dining Indian restaurants, such as Veeraswamy, are even refining street food for their diners’ plates. Their Raj Kachori (regal street food) is recognised as a taste sensation. Chutney Mary of Chelsea also serves their version of street food, such as their tantalising Venison Samosa.