Street food will forever hold a special place in India’s heart. Each region takes immense pride in its culinary inventions because the dishes offered are explicitly tied to the history and soul of a city. Of everything we’re passionate about, our individual regional street food ranks pretty high. Although “street food” is a common enough phrase, Mumbai has a unique variation of for it. For those unfamiliar like I was, “khau gulli,” meaning eating gully or lane is what Mumbai calls the secret, hidden by-lanes that house the tasty treats and snacks we gorge on at all times of the day, on any occasion, and in any financial situation.
Here’s our map to 4 of South Mumbai’s oldest, busiest, and best khau gallis:
I. Mohammed Ali Khau Galli
Location: Alongside Minara Masjid near Marine Lines Station
Strung on the road alongside Minara Masjid, the street stalls that make up Mohammed Ali Khau Galli are heaven on Earth for those who love their cheap and delicious street food. What sounds like a rhyming hook in a catchy pop song, Mohammed Ali Khau Galli’s twists and turns have something for everyone. From roasted and salted pistas, and cashews and packaged salted snacks like chakli to instantly made bhel and paani puri, Mohammed Ali Khau Galli is one of Bombay’s oldest and most well-known areas where filling snacks and dishes can be bought for as cheap at 25 INR. You can even find well-known eateries like Bademiyan, which sells mouth-watering rolls, and Noor Mohammedi Hotel, known for its variety of kebabs, for tasty meals that lead to comfortable afternoon naps. As an added treat, as if we needed one, this khau galli is known to offer the tastiest Mughlai food during Ramzan.
II. Zaveri Bazaar Khau Galli and Princess Street Khau Galli
Location: Zaveri Bazaar and Mangaldas Market near Marine Lines Station
Only a street apart from each other, the khau gallis of Zaveri Bazaar and Mangaldas Market are lesser known gems of Mumbai’s culinary landscape. Although every street vendor in Mangaldas Market will be able to guide you to the narrow khau galli hidden between large corporate offices, you might get initially frustrated at directions like- “Go straight, it’s the next lane” said five to seven times in a row. Your walk will be punctuated with the smell of oranges, strawberries, and bananas and your view will be full of small toys, garments, and socks. The wait, however, is worth it because in the narrow side lane of Mangaldas Market you will find steaming chilli cheese dosas for 50 INR, fluffy pancake-like uttapams for 35 INR, and pani puri with an interesting ingredient- warm dal. On your walk back to the main street, with a stomach full and content, you can stop for some salted snacks at Jagannath Chaturbhuj or roasted peanuts from street vendors while gazing at the rows and rows of sparkling jewelry stores, which is where Zaveri Bazaar gets its name.
III. Tardeo Khau Galli
Location: Tardeo Road near Sardar Pav Bhaji
Sardar Pav Bhaji is possibly the most iconic eatery for most of Mumbai residents, young and old, but that’s not all the neighbourhood of Tardeo has to offer. Located in the heart of South Bombay, Tardeo has some of the city’s best thalis, kebabs, and biryani meals that hold their own against the strong and often undisputed hegemony of Mumbai pav bhaji. Mamaji’s Grill and Pizza, one of the most well-known eating joints in Tardeo, has interesting sandwiches like their “Pahadi Grill Sandwich” made with potato bhaji, mixed vegetables, and cheese, and “Samosa Kurkure Cheese” sandwich made with samosa bits, cheese, capsicum, garlic chutney, and Kurkure, junk food that will transport you back to your school canteen in the late ‘90s. Mamaji’s Grill and Pizza even has a “Russian-Triple” made with jam.
IV. Mahim Khau Galli
Location: Opposite the Mahim Dargah
As you head closer to Worli Sea-Face and leave the heart of South Bombay or “town” as we affectionately call it, you will soon find yourself nearabout the Mahim Dargah, the home of Mahim’s khau galli. Open from noon till midnight and catering to young students and office goers alike, Mahim Khau Galli has an eclectic selection of street food. While its savory offerings has as much merits as its counterparts further south, this khau galli’s most famous eatery is Baba Falooda. Although it has been dubbed the meat-lover’s paradise because of its mutton pav, shawarma, and doner kebabs, Mahim khau galli’s claim to fame is chilly Indian dessert made with flavoured syrups, seeds, and nuts, vermicelli, milk, and ice cream. Baba Falooda, the most well-known joint for falooda in the city, has a range of flavours: kaju, butter scotch, kesar pista, royal malai, and more. The place even offers kulfi, milkshake, ice cream, and rabdi in whatever flavour you can think of. A taste of Mahim’s falooda can be the perfect end to your khau galli tour.
Feature image by: NDTV Food
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