The list of Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai is long and varied, consisting of dynamic complementary and contrasting flavors that range from hot to sweet to savory, and textures that run the gamut from soft to crispy to creamy, making the bustling city a culinary paradise for locals and travelers alike.
Located along the Konkan Coast in the Indian state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is well-known around the world for its massive population of 12.4 million within the city limits, which balloons to over 21 million once the surrounding metropolitan area is factored in. Many of those 21 million residents, including those from all economic classes and various religions and ethnicities, are known for enjoying the distinctive and cost-effective roadside food that has made the city a premier destination for foodies all over the world, including myself.
After two visits to Mumbai in less than a year, I have fallen in love with the city’s vibrant and exceptional food scene. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of food options there, which can get overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why I want to share my personal favorite street foods from Mumbai with you. These are the foods I couldn’t get enough of, the ones that made my mouth water and my taste buds sing for joy. These are the 25 street food dishes you must try in Mumbai!
One of the most common and most popular street foods throughout the Indian subcontinent is pani puri. This dish consists of a round flatbread that puffs up into a crispy, hollow bread ball, called a puri, when it is fried. In the most common and most traditional version of the dish, the puri is punctured by the vendor, who then fills it with a flavorful mixture of spiced, soup-like water (imli pani), chickpeas, potato, onion, chilies, tamarind chutney, and chaat masala. Many other inventive and contemporary varieties of the dish can be found throughout India.
My first experience trying pani puri was at Elco Restaurant in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai. Little did I know it would become my favorite Indian dish of all-time! The liquid-filled puri explodes in your mouth the moment you bite down on it, releasing the minty and savory contents, which wash over your palate. After just one, I found myself craving more and have made it a point to find them wherever I go in India. And at 80 rupees for six puris at Elco, you can’t beat the price or quality!
With temperatures in Mumbai that regularly skyrocket into the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit, walking the streets of the city for foods to sample can be tough with the blistering sun beating down on you. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a vendor selling cold treats like ice gola, a sweet and salty snack that will help you beat the heat and energize you for more food adventures.
Ice gola consists of a ball of shaved ice, which the vendor molds into an oblong shape around the end of a stick. After dropping the end with the ice ball into a cup, the vendor will add various fruit flavorings, depending on which kind you order, and salt. And just like that, you have an icy treat to enjoy on a sweltering Mumbai day! The kind I tried had both blueberry and lemon flavors, which made for a unique flavor combination, especially with the salt added. Just try not to get brain freeze like I did!
No list of the best Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai is complete without the scrumptious, roasted or grilled chicken dish known as chicken tikka, which is made by marinating small pieces of chicken in a mixture of yogurt and spices that include ginger, garlic paste, and red chili powder.
I tried chicken tikka (which is essentially a boneless version of chicken tandoori) at Eataeria in Mumbai’s Bandra neighborhood. It was served in a wrap with cheese and a delicious sauce. While I didn’t find the chicken spicy, it was extremely flavorful and the crispy wrap around it made for a wonderful non-veg dish I will never forget!
Masala Vada Pav (Indian Burger)
A trip to Mumbai is not complete without trying one of the city’s signature snacks, Vada Pav, also known as the Indian burger. With approximately 50,000 food stalls around the city selling this unique treat, there’s no shortage of places to find it. The dish consists of a deep-fried potato fritter that is placed in a pan-fried bun called a pav or pao. There are many variations of this traditionally veg dish in the city, including ones containing cheese, mayo, onions, corn Chivda, and even chicken patties!
But the Vada Pav at Kalidas Masala Vada Pav is different from them all. The bun is pan-fried on a tawa, or grill, along with butter; masala that is reduced to a rich, red paste; onions; and capsicum. The masala mixture is spread inside the buns and on top of them before the potato fritter is added inside. It’s well worth a trip to the Mulund area just to have a bite of this spicy, crispy, and flavorful veggie burger. Don’t miss out on it!
As you’re strolling down the streets and lanes of Mumbai, you’re sure to come across foods that are more bizarre than you’re used to and the Nitrogen Biscuit from the Ice Cream Factory in Mulund is bound to be one of them. These strange confections are made up of biscuits or wafers that have been frozen by dipping them into liquid nitrogen.
The biscuits themselves are dry, crumbly, and practically flavorless. But the thing that makes these biscuits so popular, and so unique, is what happens when you eat them. The heat from your mouth will turn the liquid nitrogen from the biscuit into a gas, which will then pour from your nose and mouth and give off the illusion that you’re breathing smoke like a dragon, so it’s very much a spectacle and one of the top Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai. If you have sensitive teeth, be careful; mine were frozen after trying this shocking snack!
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If what you’re looking for is a warm, savory dish that’s packed with delicious meat and phenomenal flavors, head down to Mohammad Ali Road, where you’ll find vendors selling mutton rolls. These rolls are made up of the tender, juicy meat of a full-grown sheep, with an eggy roti wrapped around it. The roll is cooked on a large, flat grill called a tawa and is served with a lemon wedge and a side of vegetables.
The roll has a fantastic mix of spices throughout and is quite spicy as well, but the vegetables served with it help calm down the heat. It’s almost like a spicy egg roll with mutton inside. If you like spicy food and non-veg Indian dishes, the mutton roll is definitely for you!
The name of the next street food on our list of the 25 Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai, the chicken lollipop, might make you think this is a sweet dish, but it’s not—it’s actually a fried chicken drumstick that is bathed in a bright red curry that is so vibrant and rich that it changes the color of the chicken’s skin and meat!
When the drumsticks are held upright, they resemble a lollipop, hence its unique name. While you may have had fried chicken before, I’m pretty sure that, unless you’ve been to India before, you’ve never had fried chicken like this! It’s intensely flavorful and not too spicy, and is served with a wonderful ginger sauce that had my taste buds craving more. I assure you, you’ll be craving more too after just one bite!
Mutton and Chicken Kabab
When visiting Mumbai, especially if you’re going for the street food, I recommend setting aside a night strictly for the incredible food you’ll find along Mohammad Ali Road, including mutton kababs and chicken kababs. Kababs, or kebabs, is a word for any type of meat that is cooked on a skewer, over a flame, and the ones at Haji Tikka blew my mind.
The kababs at Haji Tikka are soft, juicy, and tender, and made of mincemeat. They’re served with a side of onions and other vegetables to cool down your mouth. You’ll need it, as the kebabs are also served with a spicy chutney that may take you by surprise if you’re not prepared for it!
After a feast of spicy Indian food, there’s no better street food dish to soothe your mouth and throat than a Lassi, a creamy, yogurt-based drink that is extremely popular all around the country. The milky drink is effective at cooling down your mouth because it contains a high amount of casein, a protein found in mammal milk that acts as a detergent to capsaicin, the component in chilies that makes your tongue feel as though it’s on fire.
You can find lots of different flavors of Lassi around India, including mango, but along Mohammad Ali Road, I tried the original flavor and saffron. The original is better in my opinion, but both are a great way to kill the fiery feeling in your mouth and cool down your body after spending hours in the sweltering Mumbai heat!
Like the chicken lollipop I recommended earlier, the Indian dish known as Bombay Duck may give you the wrong impression as to what it is. Sharing a name with the Indian city that became known as Mumbai in 1995, this succulent dish doesn’t contain any duck. It’s made up of small strips of fish, which are either deep-fried or cooked in a red curry.
I tried this local specialty at Mata Pita Da Dhaba on Madh Island and it blew my mind. The fish is lightly battered with a crispy exterior but is soft and flaky on the inside. It reminded me a lot of flounder and is served with a chutney on the side. Bombay Duck is an incredible seafood dish that I recommend everyone try when they visit Mumbai!
Bombay Duck isn’t the only treat from the sea that you can find at Mata Pita Da Dhaba on Madh Island. Another phenomenal Indian street food dish you must try in Mumbai is their fried prawns, which are bright red like the Bombay Duck.
These incredible prawns are hot and juicy with a really nice, curry-like spice on the outside. It’s one of the best foods to try in Mumbai if what you’re looking for is a tasty, spicy, quintessential Indian seafood dish. I couldn’t get enough of it!
If you’re a foodie who has researched places to eat amazing food in India, you’ve probably come across Bademiya, an iconic food stall and restaurant chain that was established in Mumbai in 1946. This culinary landmark is known for its curries and kebabs, which include their fantastic kebab rolls, a dynamite treat I was lucky to try on my second night in Mumbai in February of 2018.
My Chicken Bhuna Roll contained fresh, minced chicken that is marinated in the restaurant’s kebab masala before it is wrapped in a roti that’s made right in front of you. The masala contains a secret blend of spices that is incredibly tasty and complements the chicken extremely well. The roti is so fresh and chewy and makes this kebab roll one of the best chicken wraps I’ve ever had in my life. It’s a must-try when you come to Mumbai!
A popular place to eat in Mumbai after dark is CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) Train Station, and one of the best street food stalls there is Cannon Pav Bhaji. Their namesake dish is also their signature, Pav Bhaji, which consists of a thick, spicy, and buttery potato-and-tomato-based mixed vegetable curry that is served alongside chopped onions, lemon wedges, and soft buns or rolls.
This heavenly, flavorful dish is popular throughout India and is eaten by mixing the pat of butter into the curry before you tear small pieces of the roll, scoop up bits of curry with them, and pop it into your mouth. While the dish is like a light tomato-based paste, it is also an explosion of unique Indian flavors that I could not get enough of! The bread is nice and fluffy and the onions add a whole new layer of deliciousness. Hands down, the Pav Bhaji at Cannon Pav Bhaji is one of the top Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai!
The next dish on our list, Dahi Puri, can also be found at CSMT Train Station. This popular Maharashtrian snack is a type of chaat that originated in Mumbai, and consists of mung beans, onions, chili powder, coriander, a type of yogurt called dahi, and crunchy chickpea noodles known as sev, which are placed in small puris, the same puffed-up, hollow bread balls that are used in pani puri.
The yogurt in the Dahi Puri added a delicious sweetness to the dish, which exploded in my mouth and contained a mix of so many wonderful complementary flavors that I absolutely loved. It’s a fantastic snack I urge you to try the moment you get the opportunity!
When you come to CSMT Train Station to eat some late-night Mumbai street food, don’t miss out on trying Ragda Pattice, a popular dish in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. This dish is made up of yellow peas, potatoes, and various Indian spices and is somewhat similar to a dish called chole tikki, which is popular in the northern part of the country.
With Ragda Pattice, two mashed potato cakes (pattice) are served with gravy (ragda) and topped with the peas and potatoes, along with green chutney, tamarind chutney, chopped onions, coriander leaves, and sev. It was kind of sweet and not spicy at all to me, even though the green chutney is said to be pretty hot. Even without the heat, it’s still extremely high up on my list of my favorite foods in Mumbai!
Another type of chaat that is essential for newcomers to Mumbai to sample at CSMT Train Station is Sev Puri, a Maharashtrian specialty that is a popular street food in both Mumbai and Pune. This snack doesn’t have a fixed recipe, but typically consists of a puri that is filled with onions, diced potatoes, tamarind chutney, garlic chutney, and chili chutney, and is topped with sev and raw mango (when it’s in season), lemon, and chaat masala.
Some variations of Sev Puri also include spinach, corn, paneer, and mint chutney. The Sev Puri I tried had a nice sweetness to it from the tamarind chutney, a satisfying crunch from the vegetables, and was also a little nutty and crispy like a cracker.
After lots of savory dishes and sweet-and-savory street food snacks, you’ll probably be in the mood for some dessert. For one of the best desserts in Mumbai, head over to Badshah, where you can try a unique treat called Falooda. This cold dessert is kind of like a milkshake, as it typically contains milk, ice cream, and your choice of fruit. But it also contains rose syrup, sweet basil seeds, jellies, and most curiously, vermicelli noodles.
The Falooda I tried at Badshah contained mango, and the moment I tried it, it reminded me of other Asian desserts I had tried in China, especially with the little jellies inside it. I’m not a huge fan of Western desserts like ice cream, but I loved the Falooda because it was extremely refreshing, and the noodles gave it an interesting texture. If you like Asian desserts like I do, be sure to try a Falooda the next time you’re in Mumbai!
Those looking for more veg dishes in Mumbai are in luck, because the city’s street food stalls and restaurants offer a massive variety of delicious, vegetable-based culinary creations, including Thalipeeth, which is a savory, multi-grain pancake that is made from grains like rice, wheat, jowar, and bajra; legumes including chana and urad; onion, fresh coriander, and other vegetables; and spices such as coriander seed and cumin seed.
The Thalipeeth I tried in Mumbai reminded me of a deep-fried potato patty and was served with a coconut chutney with a slightly sour taste, which was different from the sweeter varieties I had tried earlier in my trip. This dish is only really found in the state of Maharashtra, so be sure to give it a try when you go to Mumbai!
Another Indian street food dish you must try in Mumbai is an extremely popular Maharashtrian starter or appetizer called Kothimbi Vadi. This crispy and flavorful snack is made with besan, or gram flour, as well coriander leaves and spices that can include ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and more. Also known as a coriander fritter, this dish is usually fried, but non-fried versions can be made as well.
This amazing dish was reminiscent of a fried, potato-based veggie burger. It was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and each bite sent a wonderful and diverse array of spices washing over my palate. I tried it with some coconut chutney and fell head over heels for it. This dish is outstanding!
Lip-smacking, deep-fried treats are commonplace in Maharashtra and one of its best is Sabudana Vada, which is also known as Sago Vada. This traditional snack is made from sabudana, or tapioca, as well as potatoes, peanuts, red and green chilies, and coriander leaves, which are formed into small balls or patties and cooked in hot oil. Sabudana Vada is commonly served during religious festivals and is considered a great option to eat while fasting.
The ones I had in Mumbai were served piping hot along with yogurt and coconut chutney. Even though it was deep-fried, it was soft and gooey in the middle. Both the yogurt and chutney paired well with it. The flavors were out of this world!
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Our next street food dish is Tawa Pulao, another popular Maharashtrian dish, which I tried on Juhu Beach in Mumbai as well as JM Road in Pune. This common veg dish, which contains basmati or long-grain rice, tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, onion, potato, peas, ginger, garlic, cumin, masala, turmeric, coriander leaves, ghee, and more, is prepared on a large, flat griddle called a tawa, and is similar to a stir-fried rice dish.
The Tawa Pulao I had on Mumbai’s Juhu Beach was quite spicy, but luckily it was served with a watery yogurt, which helped calm down the heat in my mouth and throat. The masala gave it a nice texture and I loved the vegetables in it, especially the green beans and tomatoes. Also served alongside the Tawa Pulao were some crisp tomato slices and papad, a type of thin, wafer-like flatbread.
In addition to Indian food, you can also find fantastic Indo-Chinese dishes on Juhu Beach, including one of my favorite dishes in all of India, Paneer Chilli. This phenomenal veg dish is made by stir-frying cubes of deep-fried paneer (a type of non-melting cottage cheese that is extremely popular in Indian veg dishes) with Chinese sauces and chili paste, and adding the mixture to a bed of fresh cabbage and other vegetables.
The end result is a phenomenal, flavorful, mouthwatering dish I honestly feel like I can’t oversell. Even though I was told it would be spicy and it wasn’t really hot at all for me, the flavors are so rich and complex that I didn’t miss the heat at all. This dish marked my first having paneer. Its texture and flavor were so different that I thought it was tofu at first. No matter how many times I go to India, this is one dish I will always seek out. It’s easily one of the top Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai!
As you wind your way through the hundreds of people enjoying food on Juhu Beach, be sure to stop to try Dahi Kachori, a northern Indian dish that has made its way to the bustling street food markets of Mumbai. This dish is made up of a dough of maida flour and ghee, which is stuffed with a filling made up of yellow moong dal, gram flour, ginger, green chilies, chili powder, garam masala, cloves, cumin seeds, and more before it is deep-fried in oil.
The kind I had on Juhu Beach was more of a deconstructed version, where the deep-fried dough, or kachori, was crumbled onto a plate with all of the other ingredients, including the dal, chilies, and various chutneys and yogurts placed on top. The dish was sweet and refreshing due to the tamarind chutney and wonderfully flavorful, and definitely one of my favorites from Juhu Beach!
One of the most common street foods you’ll find throughout India is Paan. This dish consists of an areca nut that is tightly wrapped inside a betel leaf along with various spices, berries, and nuts. The dish is often used as a stimulant, a breath freshener, and a palate cleanser between meals, and is also said to aid in digestion and have medicinal properties.
While exploring Juhu Beach with a few friends, I came across a stall selling a type of Paan containing chocolate! It was full of chocolate flavor and also contained gummies, and was the perfect transition from the dinner part of my Juhu Beach street food tour to the dessert portion! For its uniqueness alone, it’s one of the Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai. Don’t miss out on trying it!
Kulfi Falooda Rabri
During your time at Juhu Beach, you’ll find lots of savory and sweet-and-savory dishes, many of which are detailed above. If you still have room left in your stomach, end your food journey with something sweet, namely the Kulfi Falooda Rabri, a creamy, unique dish that contains a condensed-milk-based dish called rabri, an Indian ice cream called kulfi, milk, sugar, pistachios, almonds, and more.
I’d had kulfi before, as well as Falooda, but them together with the rabri was an out-of-this-world combination that blew my mind. The jellies along with the vermicelli noodles and the rich creaminess of it all was a delightful way to end my night in Juhu Beach, and I suspect it will be a sensational way to end yours as well!
BONUS: Dara Singh Thali
One dish that it is imperative for anyone visiting India to try is a Thali. The word “Thali” is essentially the name in India that is given to a large platter that contains many different dishes. Thalis vary quite a bit from region to region in India and can exclusively contain different types of bread or rice or sometimes even both. They’re a great way to try lots of outstanding local fare in one sitting.
When in Mumbai, though, I highly recommend trying the Dara Singh Thali, which is billed as the largest Thali in Mumbai, comprising over 44 veg and non-veg items, including pani puri, black bean dal, fish curry, paneer cubes, butter chicken, fish koduva, minced mutton, Chicken Amritsari, prawn curry, chicken achar, khichdi, lamb curry, chicken biryani, and much more. This massive dish is unbelievably tasty and remarkably varied, but it’s so huge I don’t recommend trying to finish it by yourself like I did. I barely made a dent in it! Grab five or six friends to go in on it with you and have at it!
That concludes my list of the 25 Indian street food dishes you must try in Mumbai! This coastal Indian metropolis is very much a food city and I’d argue it’s one of the best in the world when it comes to dynamic flavors and sheer variety. If you want to try street food at its very best, get online, pack your appetite, forget about any diet you’re on, and book a trip to Mumbai today. I assure you, it will be the culinary adventure of a lifetime.