Eons before Mc Donald’s created the Mc Aloo Tikki burger, Bombay (Yes I refuse to call it Mumbai) has had it’s own Batata Burger – Vada Pav. It’s also called the poor man’s food and there was a time not very long ago when school children paid just Rs.1.50 for a hot, satisfying Vada Pav. Just turn into any street in Bombay and you will find at least one Vada Pav vendor or stall. This humble deep fried potato sandwiched in pav has created an industry which is estimated at Rs.2000 Cr.
The Vada Pav is a meal in itself, eaten when you’re hungry and even if you’re not hungry. A bite of the vada pav and your mouth explodes with different textures and flavors, the soft, fluffiness of the potato complemented by the crusty shell and soft insides of the pav, the heat of the coconut chutney, the tangy sweetness of the tamarind chutney and finally the bit of flash fried green chilly….
‘A bite of the vada pav and your mouth explodes with different textures and flavors’
The Vada Pav has evolved over the years and now you can choose to have it with cheese, or schezewan sauce and for the Jain’s there is the special Jain Vada Pav without onion and garlic.
Some of our favorite places to eat Vada Pav are:
1. A tiny stall near Asha Parek hospital in Sanatcruz West. There is no way you can miss it with the number of people surrounding the vendor.
2. A favorite in the summer is the one next to Gokhale school in Parle East, the most awesome Vada Pav served with Aam panna ( a sweet and sour drink made with steamed raw mangoes and jaggery)
3. And not to be missed is Ashok Vada Pav near Kirti college at Dadar/Prabhadevi.
We’ll leave you with a little story. The story is that Mr.Vaidya had a little stall near Dadar and used to sell Batata Vadas as well as fresh Pav there. One day a customer walked in and asked him to stuff the Batata Vada into the Pav for him and that’s where the Batata Vada was born. Mr. Vaidya, if only you’d thought to patent the recipe then!
Trivia: 23rd August is celebrated as World Vada Pav day