'DabbaDrop' Is Bringing Mumbai’s Dabbawala Culture To The UK

Promo images from DabbaDrop.
Inspired by Anshu's family recipes from across South Asia, DabbaDrop delivers weekly or fortnightly dabbas filled with delicious, home-style vegetarian meals. DabbaDrop

For many Indians, a home-cooked meal is more than sustenance; it's a thread connecting them to their heritage and loved ones. But busy lives often leave us reaching for takeaways that lack the warmth and soul of a home-cooked meal. This is where DabbaDrop steps in, offering a unique service inspired by Mumbai's iconic Dabbawalas. The Dabbawala system, operational for over 130 years, is a marvel of human ingenuity. These "lunchbox men" collect home-cooked meals from residences and deliver them to office workers across the city with remarkable efficiency. Their dedication to fresh, home-cooked food and minimal waste resonates deeply with DabbaDrop's mission.

Founded in 2018, DabbaDrop is the brainchild of Renee and Anshu, who craved high-quality, plant-based meals without the environmental guilt of disposable packaging. Inspired by Anshu's family recipes from across South Asia, DabbaDrop delivers weekly or fortnightly dabbas filled with delicious, home-style vegetarian meals.

DabbaDrop's menu is a culinary journey across diverse regions, each dish telling a story of heritage and flavor. From Sri Lanka, their offerings feature the sweet and peppery Jackfruit Kottu Roti, fruity Aubergine curry, and earthy-sweet Beetroot Mung Dal, all served with red rice, capturing the essence of the island’s vibrant food culture. Their collaboration with Hanoi Cà Phê brings Vietnamese delights like Nôm salad, vegan pork lettuce wraps, and a creamy Cà Ri Chay curry, accompanied by crispy spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce.

Inspired by Goa’s sun-soaked shores, the menu includes Baby Aubergine Recheado with Portuguese spices, a tangy tofu Goan curry, and sweet-sour Amti dal with nutty red rice. From Japan, they offer Greens Goma-Shoga, Yaki Nasu, and a classic Japanese kare with squash and edamame, topped with Shichimi togarashi. The Pakistani selection is a cozy array of Dal Bukhara, turmeric roasted cauliflower in cashew Qorma sauce, and cumin-coriander infused Subzi with Jeera rice. Finally, the Punjabi dabba is a hearty combination of Aloo Gobi, classic Saag with spiced tofu, and the richly spiced Pindi Chole, showcasing the robust flavors of Punjab.

Just like the Dabbawalas, minimizing waste is a core principle for DabbaDrop. Their reusable steel dabbas eliminate the need for disposable containers, and their pre-ordering system ensures minimal food waste. Deliveries are made by eco-friendly cyclists, further reducing their carbon footprint.

DabbaDrop goes beyond just delivering meals. They offer a sense of community, allowing people to connect with their roots through familiar flavors. Their commitment to plant-based cuisine aligns with a growing movement towards sustainable food choices.

DabbaDrop's success lies in its ability to bridge the gap between tradition and modern life. By reviving the spirit of the Dabbawalas in a sustainable and convenient format, they offer a taste of home for busy individuals while minimizing their environmental impact. As they explore new culinary destinations beyond South Asia, DabbaDrop is sure to continue its journey of bringing people together through the magic of home-cooked food.

Follow DabbaDrop here.