We Mumbaikars take our nosh very seriously. When it comes to food, nothing matters—religion, class or financial status. Our love for things edible unites us all. You do not have to be a Mumbaikar to know that dishes like vada pav, pav bhaji and the mish-mashed bhel puri are local favourites. These dishes have made their way to all corners of the country, but their origins are traceable to amchi Mumbai:
For any seafood lover, this spicy, deep-fried, and crunchy prawn dish characterised by its bright red colour, is a welcome delight on any day. Owing to its regional name, most people believe Prawns Koliwada originated from somewhere along the Konkan coast of India. However, this delicacy was actually invented right in the heart of Mumbai city, in a koliwada (fishing village) in Sion. The dish was created at Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Nagar area in Mumbai, which had a considerable Sikh/Punjabi population (post-Partition refugees). Prawns Koliwada, which has a marinade similar to a Punjabi dish known as Amritsari Fish, was invented by a Sikh in one of the many restaurants in the area. The GTB Nagar area at that time used to be known as Sion Koliwada, and that is how the dish got its name.
Mumbai’s Juhu beach and the ubiquitous Pav Bhaji are almost synonymous with each other, but not many are aware that this popular street food was invented right here in the city. While it is true that the Portuguese introduced pav bread to the city, this particular dish was concocted as an affordable mid-day meal for textile mill workers in the Bombay of 1850s. Legend has it that the mill workers did not get a very long lunch break, nor could they down a heavy lunch as they needed to get back to physical labour post lunch. So pav bhaji came into being as an easy-to-cook, light meal that was also spicy enough to suit their palates. Today there are different versions of this dish in many states all over India. It remains an affordable yet delicious snack for all.
One of the most popular Indian-Chinese dishes is Manchurian, available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions. This ‘Chinese’ dish may be unheard of in Mainland China, but Mumbai adores this staple. The city is the birthplace of the Chicken Manchurian—batter-coated, deep-fried cubes of chicken in spicy gravy—that is available and loved all over the country. This feisty dish was invented by Nelson Wang, a Chinese-Indian restaurateur and the founder of Mumbai’s well-known China Garden Restaurant. The story goes that Wang was working as a cook at the Cricket Club of India back in 1975 when a customer presented him with a special request, to create a new dish that did not feature on the menu. His experiments led to a dish with crispy chicken bits and soy sauce instead of the usual garam masala – the famous Chicken Manchurian. If you happen to be in Mumbai, head to China Garden to enjoy the popular dish at the very place of its inception.
How to Get There:
Where: Khar | Kemps Corner
Contact: Khar – 022 26002611 | Kemps Corner – 022 23630842
Timings: All Days 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:45 PM
Cost: ₹1,500 for two people