And we all thought the food cart was such a novel idea. As it turns out, Indians have been chowing down street-side for decades, if not centuries. The savory snacks sold in the makeshift stalls by the side of the road are collectively called “chaat,” a word derived variously from cāṭ (tasting, a delicacy), cāṭnā (to lick), and our personal favorite caṭṭei (to devour with relish, eat noisily). We’re just going to say it: while tales of sub-continental gastric distress abound, to miss out on street food in Mumbai would be a pity. Indigestion be damned, sometimes you just have to go for it.
Fried peanuts or “badam vaja,” is a popular snack any hour of the day, but especially when you’ve got time to kill.
Panipuri, also known as golgappa, is a hollow, deep-fried ball of dough filled with potatoes, tamarind, onions, and chili, topped with chutney and sev (crisp vermicelli). Ordering panipuri will typically get you 5-8 of these toothsome little spheres. They’re traditionally eaten in a single bite, so pop one in your mouth and let the flavors explode.
With a flavor we’ve heard described as “tart banana,” jackfruits can weigh up to 80 pounds, making them the largest edible tree-grown fruit. While not as popular as the mango, the sight of these green, pointy specimens (they remind us of something you’d see scuba-diving) is a pretty common one. Young jackfruit is said to have a “poultry like texture” (feels like chicken?) and is often used as a meat substitute, while the sweet seeds can be roasted for a special delicacy.
Shucked and grilled with butter and spices, this corn puts those bland, boiled ears to shame.