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Mohammed Ali Road
Photograph: Courtesy flickr/cc/meenakshi madhavan

The best street food in Mumbai

Reflecting the city’s diverse cultural makeup, the best street food in Mumbai will take your taste buds to a new world

Written by
Deepika Gumaste
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Magical Mumbai can feel intimidating at first. With an urban population that tops 22 million, how could it not be? Mumbai moves at a million miles an hour and tourists can often get swept up in that. Your best bet is to let the city take you as it goes, and inevitably that will lead to some of the most delicious street food on the planet.


India’s second-largest city has plenty of fantastic restaurants to cater to all tastes, but the best street food in Mumbai is something worth celebrating. The city’s proud history of fishing and an ever-increasing melting pot of communities has led to a diverse food scene that caters to all tastes, offering a unique window into a thrillingly chaotic city along the way.

Best street food in Mumbai

Girgaum Chowpatty
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

1. Girgaum Chowpatty

The city beach is a favourite street food spot for visitors and locals alike and offers a glimpse of the hallmark “sand, sea and lip-smacking chaat experience.” There’s bhel puri for the health freak, made with boiled potatoes, raw mango and chutneys. The adventurous ones can opt for the spicy pani puri. While most vendors lining up on the beach claim to serve the best variant of their offered food, we recommend visiting Stall No. 11- Badshah’s to revive your taste buds.

Crawford Market
Photograph: Courtesy flickr/cc/Jan

2. Crawford Market

Every evening, this area is teeming with people, like swarms of bees out on a mission.  Check out the outstanding seafood dishes such as the pomfret fry and crab curry that food artists carve out for night revellers. It is worth your while to check out the food stalls on Nagdevi street opposite Crawford market every evening, turning out melt-in-your-mouth succulent seekhs and payas prepared in a giant steel furnace. Do try out the special nalli nihari and the harisa, which is the only available vegetarian dish.

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3. Khau Galli

On any given day, locals eat like kings in the city’s Khau Gallis, which literally translates to food lanes. Khau gallis remain busy throughout the lunch hours into late at night with roadside carts offering a visual- and pocket-friendly gastronomic affair. Khau gallis are also often a great place to people watch: expect young working adults and elderly people devour shawarma and the grilled Bombay sandwich. The most popular Khau Galli stretches from SNDT College to Cross Maidan in South Mumbai.

Anand Stall
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

4. Anand Stall

Have you even visited Mumbai, if you haven’t snacked on vada pav? A native dish to Mumbai, it is a deep-fried potato dumpling, stuffed into a pao with a generous portion of red and green chutneys. While it is available across stalls and sometimes even in high-end restaurants, for the best experience you’ll want to visit Anand Stall in Vile Parle or taste the original dish served at Vaidya’s stall on Platform No 1 on Dadar Station. Just a word of caution, though: never call it the Indian burger in front of the locals.

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Fort
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

5. Fort

Hidden amidst several restaurants, an unassuming low-budget eating spot, Pancham Puriwala in Fort, boasts of history older than the first train introduced by the British in India. Gulp down a glass of lassi, a traditional sweet drink, along with a plate of potato and peas curry with puri (a flour dough bread). Listen to legendary tales involving Fort’s owner: he walked from his home town in North India to Mumbai on foot to feed India’s largest city.

6. CST Station

Pav (pao or bread) originally came to India while under Portuguese rule. Since then, Mumbai’s love affair with pav continues unabated, usually accompanying a thick red curry of mashed vegetables, with copious amounts of butter, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of raw onion. While the dish can be found in dozens of kiosks and stalls across the city, visit the Cannon Pav Bhaji centre, next to the CST subway, for a satiating portion.

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Dadar
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

7. Dadar

When in Mumbai, do as the Mumbaikars do. For a hearty breakfast meal, head to the popular local haunt Aaswad. Located in the central suburb of Dadar in Shivaji Nagar, the place has been around for more than three decades and is the city’s most visited vegetarian spot, serving regional Maharashtrian cuisine. A must-try dish here is the misal pav, a spicy moth bean curry.

Haji Ali Juice Centre
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

8. Haji Ali Juice Centre

Another spot you must visit is the Haji Ali Juice Centre, near the majestic Haji Ali Mosque at Worli Seaface. The roadside shop has earned a loyal following since its opening in the late 1930s, refreshing the faithful with healthy sandwiches and juices. Try out the most delicious custard, loaded with fruits, dry fruits and blended-in milk cream.

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9. Zaveri Bazaar Street

Zaveri Bazaar, the city’s diamond hub, is bursting at the seams with shops owned by old-time jewellers and little food stalls. Watch a hawker toss dosa for traders and craftsmen. Gorge on vegetarian snacks such as kachoris, chaats and samosas. Try out the ingenious pudlas: a Gujarati snack made of gram flour or chickpea flour and tossed with vegetables at Mohanbhai Pudlawala’s at chai time. Do not leave without trying out the khichiya papad, a thin crisp disc made of gram flour with 56 spices.

Mohammed Ali Road
Photograph: Courtesy flickr/cc/meenakshi madhavan

10. Mohammed Ali Road

For an indulgent non-vegetarian gourmet experience, head straight to Mohammed Ali Road.  Don’t miss the delicious bhuna gosht (spicy mutton curry). From sizzling tikas, fluffy pattis, succulent kebabs to mouth-watering malpuas and other delectable culinary secrets, you’ll be thoroughly satisfied while striking a conversation with the patrons of the famous Minara Masjid.

Visit when these top events are taking place

  • Things to do

As in the rest of India, religion plays an important role in the city’s daily life, so expect for a fair share of the best events in Mumbai to revolve around religious holidays. The common theme? Unbridled revelry played out in the streets, which means you don’t have to go too far to be in the midst of the action. 

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