After the lockdown, life took on a whole new meaning. The little things that I once took for granted felt more important, and being locked up made me realise how valuable it was to be able to walk the streets of Mumbai. What I missed the most was the street food. Can you blame me? I was brought up near the Khav Galli of Mohammed Ali Road. So once the world opened up, after what seemed like an eternity, I made it my mission to revisit all my favourite street food joints.
That weekend, passion consumed me. It was a nostalgic trip, reliving the good old days of the 80s, the tandoori chicken of Haji Tikka, the paya of Surti Barah Handi, the bhuna pulav of Khav Galli, and the list goes on. I know this is beginning to sound like a food guide, but believe me, these weekend culinary trips are all about rediscovering myself.
I stood there, watching this old man, with weathered hands, skilfully whip up some double egg malpua, and I thought that this place has not changed in over thirty years. I took my first bite, and it was evident by the flavours that even the taste has remained the same. The experiences taught me that a morsel of food gives us so much more – like the joy of sharing a table with a friendly stranger.
The true essence of Mohammed Ali Road lies not only in its flavoursome street food, but also in the spirit of togetherness. Here, amidst the buzzing crowd, people from all walks of life converge, united by their love for food. My friends and family bond over shared plates, exchanging old stories, and their recommendations of where to get the best kebabs. Honestly, these people breathe life into my culinary journey. The street vendors, and the enthusiastic food lovers I encounter along the way add a human touch to my gastronomic journey.
As my culinary exploration continues, I realise that rediscovering Mumbai through its food is not merely about satisfying my taste buds – it is an invitation to delve deeper into the soul of this vibrant city. I continue to spend my weekends in the gallis, looking for forgotten gems that I need to rediscover. If life allows me this joy, I’ll be the happiest man alive.