It's a must to go on an adventurous journey across India and visit Mumbai, officially named Bombay until 1995. Being the largest city in India, Mumbai is a financial powerhouse built across 7 islands, it's often called Manhattan of India because of its fast-paced lifestyle, the biggest slums and high standards of living. A city of dreams: millions of people annually go here to try their luck in Bollywood. A paradise for vegetarians, locals rarely eat meat. There are two reasons behind: they can't afford it and they follow the ethical principle Ahimsa of not causing harm to other living beings.
The local Indian cuisine is an ideal choice for people who like it hot: fragrant spices are added everywhere - even to desserts. It's a very special country so keep in mind it's better to eat at inexpensive restaurants that are popular among tourists: food will be fresher and there are fewer chances of poisoning.
Here are top 10 things you must experience in Mumbai to feel the unique spirit of India.
It's a low-calorie appetizing snack made of roasted crispy flatbread that is topped with a mix of tomatoes, onions and local spices. Visit the Hitchki restaurant to enjoy the biggest masala papad in Mumbai. Here it also goes with cheese and looks like traditional European pizza, however, the taste is absolutely different! The restaurant's concept is to add a contemporary look to authentic Indian dishes. This place is famous for its rockin' parties, come here to enjoy Bollywood music and traditional flavours of Mumbai.
Bhel puri is another fabulous Mumbai snack, crispy and tangy street food you must try here. The key ingredients are puffed rice, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, chat masala and savoury tamarind sauce. Taste this low-fat and nutritious dish at the seaside restaurant Sea Longe while enjoying the spectacular view of the Arabian Sea and listening to live music. Have a look at fantastic desserts as well!
You can hardly imagine India without spicy curry, Mumbai is not an exception and it boasts its own version of this dish called Bombay chicken curry. It's pot-roasted chicken with masala seasoning. Try irresistible Bombay chicken curry at the London Taxi restaurant. It's worth coming here for fine dining and romantic evenings with your one and only. It's a place where every national Indian dish looks like a work of art. Meet the India’s first female flair bartender and enjoy her genius cocktails here.
Have you ever heard of panipuri - deep-fried crispy dough balls stuffed with potatoes, onions, chili, chaat masala, tangy tamarind and sweet chutney? Eat the most delicious panipuri at the best Mumbai cafe Boulevard. Choose a dish from the 10-minute Lightning Menu: the order will be on your table in 10 minutes. If longer, it will be free for you. Boulevard is an extremely nice 24-hour coffee shop.
It's an authentic must-try Mumbai burger. Vada pav is vegetarian, affordable and so scrumptious. Deep-fried spice potato dumpling is sandwiched between buns and layered with green chutney and chili. You can try one of the most delicious vada pav at the 18th Century Rooftop Restro & Bar family restaurant. It's a great pick to hang out with friends and smoke a fruit shisha outdoors.
Whenever you are in Mumbai, you have to take a wander and ask street vendors to make you fresh sugarcane juice. It's so refreshing, it makes you so energetic and it helps you survive the scorching Indian sun. Sugarcane shoots are pressed in small portable mills, mixed with water and cooled with ice chunks. You can add masala to your juice.
Also, you can get refreshed with tender coconut water. Street vendors cut coconuts with machetes right before your eyes and give you a cocktail straw to drink chilled water from the fruit.
Try the authentic masala chai - the spiciest tea worldwide. It's the aromatic mix of Indian tea, spices and herbs brewed directly in milk. Steamy Mugs serve the richest masala chai in Mumbai.
Falooda is a yummy ice cream dessert flavored with rose syrup and made of vermicelli, sweet basil seeds, sweetened milk and ice cream. Visit the Taftoon bar for this heavy and indulging dessert. It's a modern place with a wide range of delicious beverages and an ambient atmosphere.
It is one of the world's most efficient food delivery system that originated in Bombay in 1890 and surpassed other food delivery services. Dabbawala literally means "one who carries a box" and a dabba, or "a box" from Persian, is a tiffin lunchbox, an aluminum container or cylindrical tin resembling a milk pail. Every dabba comes in several tiers: the bottom is for rice, the others are for curry, vegetables, flatbread and desserts. The concept is simple: a dabbawala must deliver a homemade or restaurant lunch for people who can't eat their lunch at home. Then he must return a lunchbox back home within next three hours.
Why do locals prefer dabbawala? It's very affordable and well-organized, dabbawalas have a tough schedule but they are never late. You know, it's expensive to eat at canteens and locals are afraid of getting ill from other food. You can see energetic dabbawalas riding bikes to the nearest train stations. Whenever in Mumbai, order a dabbawala lunch!
Bollywood is the world's second film-making industry, a daydream of millions of people, its household name is a combination of Bombay and Hollywood. You can bump into famous Bollywood celebs almost everywhere in Mumbai but take the chance to meet Indian celebrities at Lotus Cafe while degusting delicious Indian specialties and enjoying the lotus pond view. This place is located at the five-star JW Marriott hotel that often holds special events.
You can view the most breath-taking sunsets and sunrises in your life on the beautiful beaches in Mumbai. Also, there are a number of roof-top restaurants having a panoramic Arabian Sea view. One of them is Souk offering the greatest Sunday bunch with a bottle of champagne.
No one can remain indifferent: you either dislike India or fall in love with it. Visit Mumbai and find out which side you belong to.