Forts In The City Of Islands.

Worli Fort

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This fort was built by the British in 1675 on Worli Hill facing Mahim Bay and was used to keep an eye on enemies’ ships and pirates. This fort was renovated in 2008-09 but sadly, that has changed its look drastically and it now looks like a new construction altogether. It is pretty tough to go up this fort, not because it is high but because the road going up is blocked by illegal slums that have mushroomed over the years. But once you do get on the top, you can view the entire Bandra Worli Sea Link from here.
Get There: To reach Worli Fort, you will have to get down at Worli Village bus stop and walk up. The village is also famous for Golfadevi temple.

 

Sewri (Shivadi) Fort

 

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Sewri Fort was built in 1608 as a watchtower for Bombay harbour and was taken over by British from Portuguese. It has a nice pentagonal room along with a long domed corridor, and linear vaulted structures. Now it is declared as a grade I heritage structure and efforts are being undertaken to preserve it. You can also spot pink flamingoes from here during their visit to Mumbai.
Get There: This fort is pretty close to Sewri station and you can take a taxi from there to reach the fort. 

 

Sion Fort

 

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The small hillock which you see near Sion while travelling in a local train is the one on which Sion Fort is located. It was built by a British Governor of Bombay, Gerard Aungier, on the conical hill in around 1669 to 1677. Sion was the boundary between British-held Parel Island and Portuguese held Salsette Island and the castle marked the northeast boundary of British possession. Sion Fort guarded the city’s entrance from island of Salsette. Its doors would open and close at the boom of cannons.Today, there is a garden at the base of the hillock and you can view a panoramic scene of the city and the salt pans near Thane creek.
Get There: Get down at Sion station and walk.

 

Mahim Fort

 

Mahim Fort

Mahim fort was built somewhere in 1500s and after the English gained control of the fort, it was strengthened by Sir Thomas Grantham in 1684. In spite of being declared as a grade I heritage structure, you will not believe it is one; the reason being encroachment of slums, poor maintenance and tidal erosion too!
Get There: Mahim fort is also very accessible but yet unnoticed. It is off Mahim causeway. Once you reach St. Michaels church, you have to walk straight towards the sea to reach the fort.

 

Bandra Fort ( Castella de Aguada )

 

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Bandra Fort is relatively more familiar to Mumbaikars, thanks to Bandstand and some Hindi movies. This fort was built in 1640 by Portuguese as a watchtower overlooking Mahim Bay to the south, Arabian Sea to the west, islands of Worli to the south and Mahim town to the south-west. This fort offers a breath-taking view of Bandra Worli Sea Link, especially during night. Did you know that real name of Bandra Fort is Castella De Aguada? (agua meaning water in Portuguese; hence, Watery Castle) It was named so because it had a fountain of fresh water which was used to provide potable water to the Portuguese ships passing by.

Get There:  This is perhaps the most easily accessible fort in city where you can take a bus till Bandstand and walk for a minute or two to reach the fort.

 

Madh Fort

 

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Situated at Madh Island, a northern part of the city and also known as Versova Fort, Madh Fort was built by Portuguese and was won by Marathas in 1739. This too, was built as a watchtower. Though getting to this secluded fort seems easy, you need to take prior permission as now it is under control of the Indian Armed Forces and the Navy.
Get There: Catch bus no. 271 from Malad and get down at the last stop or take a ferry from Versova and come to Madh jetty to reach Madh Fort. Second option is exciting though.

 

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The Mumbai Dabbawalas – Dabba, Dabba Do!

A Dabbawala is a person whose sole job it is to collect home cooked ‘dabbas’ – basically packed lunches – from the homes of office workers and deliver them to said office workers via different modes of transport. After the packed lunch – or tiffin – has been consumed, the Dabbawala will re-collect the empty box and take it back home to the person’s residence. Each tiffin box usually contains two or three containers – mostly carrying traditional Indian foods such as rice, veg curry, chapattis and vegetables.

 

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Every day, about 5,000 semi-literate Dabbawalas deliver a staggering 175,000 – 200,000 tiffins to Mumbai’s office workers, using a colour and code marking system to ensure faultless delivery (codings, that would apparently baffle the most advanced of cryptographers). In fact, Harvard has made a study of this incredible delivery system due to the fact that mistakes only occur at a rate of one in six million – all done without the use of IT and cell phones. Beat that Tescos! And not only has our very own Prince Charles and Richard Branson been to meet the Dabbawalas of Mumbai, but back in 2004, the President of the Tiffin Suppliers Association addressed a group of 50 management gurus on the finer points of logistics management. Further, Forbes also awarded it a six sigma performance rating! 

There are many persons in the dabba chain between home and office – and the deliveries are made using a kind of relay system: A Dabbawala will collect around 30 lunch boxes at around 9-10am – he will then distribute these to other Dabbawalas at the train station dependent upon the final destination of the office worker. On the train journey into the city, each carrier can transport up to 40 packages on a long tray that they balance on their heads. At the main terminus at the other end (in our case, Churchgate station but commonly know as Mahalaxmi or Victoria Terminus), the dabbawalas stream off the train at around 11.30 am where they re-group outside the station to organise the onward journey of the lunches. The onward journey is usually by cart, bicycle or on foot through the heavy traffic. An amazing spectacle! The journey is then reversed upon collection of the empty tiffin boxes.

 

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Dabbawala As Postman: In the days before mobile phones, housewives could send messages to their husbands in the tiffin package. And messages could be sent back from the husband upon collection of the empty box.

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The Code

Dabbawala,the lifeline of Mumbai.

Now , why on earth these office workers don’t just take their own packed lunch into work – as is the norm in the rest of the world. Well having done a little bit of research on this,  I can tell you the following:

 

Genuine, cheap and hygienic home cooked food guaranteed: For the majority of Mumbai workers, restaurants are way too expensive to be a daily solution. On the streets, numerous outside stalls sell for a few rupees different types of snacks that you have to eat standing on the pavement in the middle of the crowd and sanitary cooking conditions are not guaranteed!

 

Food diversity of Indian people: With the diversity of Indian eating habits, it is very difficult to answer the specific need of each employee in a same place. “Veg” and “non veg” are usually the only two options that canteens are able to give, without taking care of all the different regime between religion, castes or geographic origin. By delivering to each employee his tiffin filled with food prepared at his home, dabbawalas solve the problem.

 

Time shortages: Many Indian workers have to leave very early in the morning to make their long commute to work – before 7am at least. It is enough that the individual or the Indian housewife has to get up, get their breakfast ready and send the kids off to school. The Dabbawala service affords wives a couple more hours to prepare their husband’s lunch – cooking it and packing it before it is picked up from their home at between 9am and 10am. Not only that, but on the extremely crowded trains of Mumbai, it means that workers can move unhindered – with both hands free to fight for precious space.

 

 

Mumbai -15 Amazing Facts!

Some interesting facts about the Maximum City.

 

Life in a metropolis like Mumbai, is on one hand full of frenzied new discoveries each day and on the other, is also a constant grind that the resilient people of the city endure ardently.

With all its adequacies and inadequecies, the remarkable city continues to have a mesmeric effect on people from all walks of life cutting across India and beyond, who come in hordes into the Maximum City daily, in search of a better future.

The incredible city of Mumbai has a very vivid history and there lying buried within its bosom are amazing facts, some of which are being listed below:

 

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Original 7 islands of Bombay and present day Mumbai

 

1) Mumbai is built on what was once a group of seven islands.

2) These seven islands were merged into one landmass over a period of six decades starting circa 1784 AD

3) Mumbai was previously known as Bombay, a name given by the Portuguese navigator, Francis Almeida derived from Bom Bahia which means the Good Bay.

4) The Portuguese handed over Bombay to the English in 1661, as a part of dowry, when King Charles II of England married Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal.

5) The zero mile of Mumbai, which marks the centre of the city has 3 different locations as perceived by the Mumbaikars. The Flora Fountain at Hutatma Chowk, the Asiatic Society Library in the Fort area and the GPO near the CST terminus, all are believed to be the actual zero mile/s of Mumbai.

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Flora Fountain

 

6) The Flora Fountain was erected at the exact place where once an entry to Bombay Fort, Churchgate, a gate named after the St Thomas Cathedral, used to be. The Cathedral was the first church to be built in Mumbai and is also the reason that we have a station by the name ‘Churchgate’.

7) The Asiatic Society Library has one of the only two first edition original copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy in its collection.

8) The present day name of Mumbai is derived from the name of an ancient Goddess of the Koli fishing community, Mumba Devi and Aiwhich in Marathi means mother.

9) The Mumbai suburban trains or locals, the lifeline of the city carry more than 7.2 million commuters’ everyday, which is more than the totalpopulation of Israel.

10) The Mumbai suburban trains carry nearly 200,000 lunch boxesknown as dabbas everyday which are distributed by the 4000 odd“Dabbawalas” to corporates, workers and students alike. 

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The lifeline of Mumbai, the local and a Dabbawala

 

11) The more than a century old Dabbawala System has been awarded a six sigma performance rating by the Havard Business Review magazine for its astonishing service accuracy rate.

12) Douglas Jardine, the English cricket team captain, who is infamous for the Bodyline series and the Nobel prize winner writer Rudyard Kipling, who is famous for his Jungle Book and Mowgli, were born in Mumbai.

13) Rudyard Kipling’s birth home is within the campus of the JJ Institue of Applied Art and has been traditionally the home of the dean of the institution.

14) Bhendi Bazaar area in Mumbai has a very interesting story behind the genesis of its name. This area which is to the north of Crawford market was referred to as the place which was “behind the bazaar” by the British who resided in the Fort area, a locality which is to the south of Crawford market. The locals mistakenly picked “behind the bazaar” as “Bhendi Bazaar” and thus the very unique name.

15) Last but not the least, Dharavi in Mumbai was once an island, then a mangrove swamp and today is one of the largest slums in Asia which reportedly exports goods worth more than USD 650 million to countries across the world.  

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Top 10 Places To Visit In Mumbai.

Mumbai is also called Bombay. It is world of dreams. Mumbai is most populous city of India and forth populous place of world. Mumbai also named as Alpha World city. It is one among the must see places in India. Below is a list of top 10 places to visit in Mumbai.

 

  1. CHOWPATTY BEACH

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    Chowpatty beach is a great picnic spot for weekends. It is located on the north of Marine drive. People not only come here for beach but also to please their tasting buds with delicious local snacks. Best time to enjoy the beauty of chowpatty is evening time, at evening it looks lovely.

  2. ELEPHANTA ISLAND

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    Elephanta Island is a popular tourist attraction in Mumbai because of its cave temples. The only transport to reach here is boat that can be catched from Gateway of India, first boat leaves at 9am and the last one at 2pm. From the dock to the base of steps leading upto the caves you can enjoy a short journey in toy train.

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  3. GATEWAY OF INDIA

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Gateway of India is a great historical monument of India in Mumbai. The place is usually crowded by tourists from all over the world. The looming Gateway is designed to be the first thing that visitors see when approaching Mumbai by boat. It is virtually the starting point to explore Mumbai. The Gateway of India is one of the architectural marvel of our country.

4.  HAJI ALI

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Haji Ali Dargah is one of India’s most famous and prestigious landmarks. The imposing Haji Ali is both a mosque and tomb. It was built in 1431 by wealthy Muslim merchant and Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. The Dargah is located on a small island and is accessible through a narrow walking lane.

5. BAND STAND

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Band Stand is a more of a lover’s point in Mumbai. It is a kilometer long walkway along the sea on the west side of Bandra. The Band stand is also home to many bollywood superstars. SRK and Arbaaz Khan are just the two of many. This is also the very famous location for Old churches of Bandra and Saint Father Agnel Ashram.

6. JUHU BEACH


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This beach is known to be the one of the most-visited beaches of India. It is quite common to find famous celebrities jogging along the sands of this popular beach of Mumbai. Tourists visit this beach because of its peaceful atmosphere, its scenic beauty and its popularity. Best time to enjoy it is evening. It is also famous for its food stalls.

7.  ESSEL WORLD

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Essel world does not need any description, it is known to every single person. It is home of all the rides for all age groups. But one can’t get all of these in a single day. One has to keep some for other visits. Essel world and water kingdom, together, they are recognized as India’s Largest Amusement And WaterPark as well as Asia’s Largest Theme Water Park.

8. MARINE DRIVE

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The official name for this road, though rarely used, is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road. You can spend the quality time here with your loved one and collect the memories for lifetime. It is linked to Nariman point. It is one of the best open area in Mumbai.

9. COLABA CAUSEWAY

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It is officially known as Shahid Bhagat Singh road. It is the ultimate shopping destination for students and tourists. It is the best place for street shopping and bargaining. Today, it is termed as the culture Square of Mumbai.
10. SIDDHIVINAYAK TEMPLE

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This temple is dedicated to hindu God Lord Ganesha. It is richest temple of Mumbai. Mumbai has many devotees of Lord Ganesha. It is a must go place in Mumbai.

10 Beautifully Poignant Quotes That Truly Define Mumbai.

Mumbai. A city that has hypnotized every soul that has had a taste of it. Writers have a lifelong love affair with the city, artists call her their muse and a common Mumbaikar will tell you that there’s no place like Mumbai. Here are 10 beautifully poignant quotes on the enigmatic land that is Mumbai.

 

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10 Of The Best Street Foods In Mumbai

Pav Bhaji @ Sardar’s

A five-minute walk from Mumbai Central station, Sardar's Refreshments specialises in straight-from-the-streets, finger-licking pav bhaji. It's hidden behind white barriers, but mutter "Pav bhaji?" to any passerby and they will point you in the right direction. Two metal plates arrive within minutes: one containing thick vegetable masala straddled by a slab of butter, the other with fluffy rolls so well buttered the bread's yellow. Your arteries will tighten at the sight, but your stomach will thank you. Squeeze some lemon on top and dig in with your fingers.

A five-minute walk from Mumbai Central station, Sardar’s Refreshments specialises in straight-from-the-streets, finger-licking pav bhaji. It’s hidden behind white barriers, but mutter “Pav bhaji?” to any passerby and they will point you in the right direction. Two metal plates arrive within minutes: one containing thick vegetable masala straddled by a slab of butter, the other with fluffy rolls so well buttered the bread’s yellow. Your arteries will tighten at the sight, but your stomach will thank you. Squeeze some lemon on top and dig in with your fingers.

• Sardar’s, 166-A Tardeo Road Junction, Tulsiwadi, near Tardeo bus depot, +91 22 2494 0208, £1 a serving. Open noon-2am

 

 

Kebabs @ Sarvi

Mohammed Ali Road is the benchmark for skewered kebabs, which hang from smoking stalls like sizzling curtains. But towards the north end, veer left on to Dimtimkar Road and head to Sarvi. It's been around for 90 years, has no sign, looks fire damaged, and grills the most tender beef seekh kebabs in the city. Crisp on the outside and melting in the middle, with a hint of mint – rumour has it they grind papaya into the meat. Get there early evening, as they sell out fast.

Mohammed Ali Road is the benchmark for skewered kebabs, which hang from smoking stalls like sizzling curtains. But towards the north end, veer left on to Dimtimkar Road and head to Sarvi. It’s been around for 90 years, has no sign, looks fire damaged, and grills the most tender beef seekh kebabs in the city. Crisp on the outside and melting in the middle, with a hint of mint – rumour has it they grind papaya into the meat. Get there early evening, as they sell out fast.

• Sarvi, 184/196 Dimtimkar Road, opposite Nagpada Police Station, Byculla West, +91 98 3353 3305, from Rs78 (£1) for four kebabs. Open 9.30am-11.30

 

Vada Pav @ Anand

It's every Mumbaikar's grab-and-go snack. Potato patties mashed with garlic, chillies and coriander are dipped in chickpea flour, fried golden, then laid in "pav" – a springy white bap that's well buttered, spread with coriander chutney and sprinkled with garlic and chilli powder. Everyone from students to businessmen flock to the Anand stall, under a purple and green awning, which whips up more than a thousand a day. An added touch is a plate of rock-salted fried green chillies, which aren't nearly as fiery as you might think. Cool off with mini bottles of sweet lassi from the stall to the left.

It’s every Mumbaikar’s grab-and-go snack. Potato patties mashed with garlic, chillies and coriander are dipped in chickpea flour, fried golden, then laid in “pav” – a springy white bap that’s well buttered, spread with coriander chutney and sprinkled with garlic and chilli powder. Everyone from students to businessmen flock to the Anand stall, under a purple and green awning, which whips up more than a thousand a day. An added touch is a plate of rock-salted fried green chillies, which aren’t nearly as fiery as you might think. Cool off with mini bottles of sweet lassi from the stall to the left.

• Anand, opposite Mithibai College, Gulmohar Road, Vile Parle West, 20p a bap. Open 7.30am-11pm

 

Pani Puri @ Elco Pani Puri Centre

The craft is part of the fun: vendors poke a thumb into a crisp fried sphere, fill it with potato, chickpeas, onion and sprouted lentils, then dunk it into a sweet-and-sour mix of tamarind and jaggery, then a liquid blend of coriander, mint and garam masala. Eat it whole, and unless you have a stomach of steel, don't go anywhere but Elco Pani Puri Centre, where they use mineral water. Pull up a red plastic stool and sit on the pavement with Bandra's locals, and the occasional Bollywood actress.

The craft is part of the fun: vendors poke a thumb into a crisp fried sphere, fill it with potato, chickpeas, onion and sprouted lentils, then dunk it into a sweet-and-sour mix of tamarind and jaggery, then a liquid blend of coriander, mint and garam masala. Eat it whole, and unless you have a stomach of steel, don’t go anywhere but Elco Pani Puri Centre, where they use mineral water. Pull up a red plastic stool and sit on the pavement with Bandra’s locals, and the occasional Bollywood actress.

• Elco Pani Puri Centre, 2/A Elco Market, 46 Hill Rd, Bandra West, +91 22 2645 7677, 50p for two. Open 10am-11.30pm

 

Chicken Tikka Rolls @ Bademiya

No Mumbaikar seems to have been to Bademiya before 3am – a testament to the late-night allure of its charcoaled, meaty goodness. A glorified open-air kitchen on wheels, Bademiya sits in a backstreet directly behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Waiters in red aprons appear from a cloud of smoke and hand over plastic menus, but the chicken tikka rolls are the best option. Slid off skewers, the meat is wrapped in a steaming roomali roti – as thin and soft as a handkerchief – and topped with strips of fried onion. No sauce required, its juices are enough.

No Mumbaikar seems to have been to Bademiya before 3am – a testament to the late-night allure of its charcoaled, meaty goodness. A glorified open-air kitchen on wheels, Bademiya sits in a backstreet directly behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Waiters in red aprons appear from a cloud of smoke and hand over plastic menus, but the chicken tikka rolls are the best option. Slid off skewers, the meat is wrapped in a steaming roomali roti – as thin and soft as a handkerchief – and topped with strips of fried onion. No sauce required, its juices are enough.

• Bademiya, Tulloch Rd, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, £1.50 a roll. Open 5pm-4am

 

Bhelpuri @ Sharmajee’s and Badshah’s

Bhel puri is one of the most common all-day snacks: a crunchy, cold, sweet-and-sour mix of puffed rice, sev, chopped onion and potato, and tamarind chutney. It has to be mixed and eaten on the spot, and most vendors will concoct their own variations. Chowpatty Beach is the home of bhel puri, where it should be eaten while strolling along the shore. Try Sharmajee's (No 22) or Badshah's (No 11), amid the cluster of stalls opposite the Levi's Store, where rugs are spread out and bhel puri "touts" will bring it over to you.

Bhel puri is one of the most common all-day snacks: a crunchy, cold, sweet-and-sour mix of puffed rice, sev, chopped onion and potato, and tamarind chutney. It has to be mixed and eaten on the spot, and most vendors will concoct their own variations. Chowpatty Beach is the home of bhel puri, where it should be eaten while strolling along the shore. Try Sharmajee’s (No 22) or Badshah’s (No 11), amid the cluster of stalls opposite the Levi’s Store, where rugs are spread out and bhel puri “touts” will bring it over to you.

• Sharmajee’s and Badshah’s, Chowpatty Beach, near Charni Road station, 30p per plate. Open all day

 

Kheema Pav @ Olympia Coffee House

Forget trawling Colaba's tourist spots for fry-ups and cereal, and try breakfast the way the locals do it – with a plate of fried minced meat and hunks of bread to mop it up. Directly opposite the infamous Leopold's, Olympia does saucers of delicious masala kheema – and don't forget, this is a coffee house, so top it off with a short, sweet cup. Olympia is a local Muslim haunt with not a female in sight, but female visitors shouldn't be put off: the waiters and customers are friendly, courteous and no one bats an eyelid.

Forget trawling Colaba’s tourist spots for fry-ups and cereal, and try breakfast the way the locals do it – with a plate of fried minced meat and hunks of bread to mop it up. Directly opposite the infamous Leopold’s, Olympia does saucers of delicious masala kheema – and don’t forget, this is a coffee house, so top it off with a short, sweet cup. Olympia is a local Muslim haunt with not a female in sight, but female visitors shouldn’t be put off: the waiters and customers are friendly, courteous and no one bats an eyelid.

• Olympia Coffee House, Rahim Mansion, 1 SB Singh Rd, Colaba, +91 22 2202 1043, £1 a plate. Open 7am-midnight

 

Channa Bhatura @ Cream Centre

As a rule, restaurants with laminated menus showing photos of their food aren't to be trusted. Cream Centre is an exception. It does a version of channa bhatura that's a bit on the oily side, but it's rated the best in Mumbai by the hordes of students, families and workers on breaks. Sit tight in your booth as a football-sized, deep-fried puri arrives alongside a bowl of creamy masala chickpeas, diced potatoes and onions. Poke a finger in the top and watch the puri deflate slowly into a chewy bread for scooping up the masala.

As a rule, restaurants with laminated menus showing photos of their food aren’t to be trusted. Cream Centre is an exception. It does a version of channa bhatura that’s a bit on the oily side, but it’s rated the best in Mumbai by the hordes of students, families and workers on breaks. Sit tight in your booth as a football-sized, deep-fried puri arrives alongside a bowl of creamy masala chickpeas, diced potatoes and onions. Poke a finger in the top and watch the puri deflate slowly into a chewy bread for scooping up the masala.

• Cream Centre, Fulchand Niwas 25/B Chowpatty Sea Face, +91 22 2367 9222, £2 a serving. Open noon-11.30pm

 

Crab @ Mahesh Lunch Home

Strictly not street food, but it's a sin to come to Mumbai and not eat crab. Trishna is excellent, but full of expats and tourists, so try Mahesh, around the corner from the Mocambo Café, in Fort. Order the jumbo butter garlic crab with a roomali roti to wipe up the crunchy bits of garlic and chilli. If you're unsure about portions, waiters will happily bring your crab to the table to wave a leg at you. There's only one way to eat it – with a bib and both hands, making as much mess as you like.

Strictly not street food, but it’s a sin to come to Mumbai and not eat crab. Trishna is excellent, but full of expats and tourists, so try Mahesh, around the corner from the Mocambo Café, in Fort. Order the jumbo butter garlic crab with a roomali roti to wipe up the crunchy bits of garlic and chilli. If you’re unsure about portions, waiters will happily bring your crab to the table to wave a leg at you. There’s only one way to eat it – with a bib and both hands, making as much mess as you like.

• Mahesh Lunch Home, 8-B Cawasji Patel Street, Fort, +91 22 2287 0938, £10. Call for opening hours

 

Juices & Milkshakes @ Bachelorr’s

Bachelorr's (yes, they've added an extra "r") is the definitive hangout for smoothies, shakes and juices. It's been in business since the 1940s and has generated a loyal following, who gather by the roadside kiosk during warm evenings, perched on car bonnets and in open boots. The cream-and-strawberry milkshake is a classic, but it also churns out numerous chocolate variations – from Classic Chocolate and Black Gold Premium to Liquid Marble – along with a host of fresh lime, coconut water and lychee juices.

Bachelorr’s (yes, they’ve added an extra “r”) is the definitive hangout for smoothies, shakes and juices. It’s been in business since the 1940s and has generated a loyal following, who gather by the roadside kiosk during warm evenings, perched on car bonnets and in open boots. The cream-and-strawberry milkshake is a classic, but it also churns out numerous chocolate variations – from Classic Chocolate and Black Gold Premium to Liquid Marble – along with a host of fresh lime, coconut water and lychee juices.

• Bachelorr’s, Chowpatty Sea Face, opposite Birla Krida Kendra, near Charni Rd station, +91 22 2368 1408, from £1-2. Open 3pm-11pm