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When you think of Mumbai’s street food what comes to mind are its vada pav, pav bhaji, dosas, dabelis and bhels.
All vegetarian dishes.
However, there is a meaty side to Mumbai’s street food too. You will come across this in the city’s Muslim-dominated areas. The range of kababs and meats on offer here would enthrall even the most jaded of palates. The bulk of these places come alive after sundown.
The most famous spot to try out these meaty dishes is Mohammed Ali Road during the month of Ramzan. The Minara Masjid lane is packed in the evenings during Ramzan with stalls selling kababs, tandoori items, grilled quails and biryani. The atmosphere is truly festive thanks to the bright lights and revelers moving around in colourful clothes.
Those in the know, though, will tell you that there is better fare on offer than what you get in the lanes of Md Ali Road.
Slightly away from Md Ali Road is Bohri Mohalla or Bhendi Bazar. The food in this quiet lane is an epicure’s delights. Must eats are the rolls and bheja fry at India Hotel and kofta kababs at Bar-b-q. The hand made ice cream at Taj ice creams, and during Ramzan, the malpuas at Tawakkal make for a sweet treat. The beauty of Bohri Mohalla is that unlike the Md Ali Road Ramzan stalls, the food here is available through the year. Their patrons are people who live in the Bohri Mohalla unlike the transient crowd at Md Ali Road. This shows in the consistency and quality of the food on offer.
The lane outside Bandra and Andheri Station have quite a few kabab sellers too.
However, your best bet after the stretch below JJ Flyover and its Bohri Mohalla and Md Ali Road stops would be the area outside Mahim Dargah. Here you get kababs and chicken fry fresh off the oven. There are folks selling a unique mix of chickpeas with liver and offal, pulao and red-coloured semolina halva puri. There are a few pulao stalls too.
Yes, Mumbai has a lot of meaty treats on offer for those willing to explore its streets.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.