‘Vada pav‘, a humble fast-food item any Mumbaite will vouch for and even i can say its quite a mouth-watering thing to it. The vada pav is also known as ‘Garibon Ki Pav Bhaji’. Priced at Rs.3.00-Rs.6.00, it is a snack worth your money and relished by everyone from laborers to college junta to professionals. With every turn you make in Mumbai, you are bound to find someone or the other selling this yummy dish. In addition, various other places in the state of Maharashtra apart from Mumbai will boast of their delicious vada pav.
So, what exactly is this vada pav? Well its a simple snack consisting of a ‘vada’ stuffed in a bun bread called ‘pav’ and served with either fried green chillies, onions, dry garlic chutney, coconut chutney or some may even add tamarind chutney to it. There are no limits to how one would like their vada pav to be served. However, a piping hot vada straight out of the deep kadai immediately wrapped into the pav is the way to eat this delectable treat.
The vada is made from mashed potatoes seasoned by a tempering of mustard seeds, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and turmeric. This potato mixture is then made into tiny balls, coated in a batter of gram flour and deep-fried until crisp, golden-yellow vadas are obtained. The aroma of the vadas being fried can never go unnoticed by anybody.
The Jumbo King Vada Pav, a chain of vada pav serving outlets in Mumbai that provides hygienic vada pav at reasonable prices has many variations to offer to the conventional vada pav. You can ask for jumbo vada pav (called so because it is larger in size than the conventional vada pav) with cheese, cholle, ussal or even Schezwan sauce. Even a vada stuffed in brown bread can be found at this place. Predominant in the central suburbs of Mumbai is another chain of vada pav serving outlets called ‘Goli’.
Apart from these vada pav chains in the city of Mumbai, there are other places famous for vada pav. These include stalls opposite the Mithibai and NM Colleges- Dhiraj and the other one called Anand, Shrikrishna at Dadar, M M Mithaiwala at Malad, Amrut Bhuvan at Lower Parel to name a few.
Despite the presence and growing popularity of international cuisines and particularly burgers offered by McDonalds, Bembos and KFC in Mumbai, the vada pav retains its unique charm and even today has a loyal fan base.