Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vada Pav, Jumbo King and why Mumbai malls don't sell it

(This image of a perfect vada pav, with a sprinkling of garlic chutney between two soft bread pieces, is from this site)

The other day I had the best vada pav (it is a traditional Maharashtrian favorite, a mashed potato fried in lentil batter, and eaten between two pieces of bread with a dash of some tongue-on-fire hot garlic chutney, or green chutney or both:) in a long long while. It was at the corner off Mahim Station, towards the Mahalaxmi Engineering Estate, on L.J. First Cross Road. It was being prepared by a housewife in a corner, with her utensils and stuff, and fried on the spot. So, its taste was extra-special. A touch of the garlic chutney and huge hunger made this a very special vada pav.

I have had some at Jumbo King: while they have the usual unusual mix-match to tweak Mumbaikar's obsessive need to experiment (including with food), I always stick to the traditional, old-fashioned vada pav ...Rs 10, so I won't crib. Just ok, is my verdict. This was at the outlet near my home, in Thakur village. Btw some of the combos they offer are really a bit `eeks'.

The other day, at Borivli's S.V. Road, where it curves into a flyover, at a Zunka Bakar stall I tried a vada pav -- he did not heat it, so my husband rejected it outright. What is a cold vada pav? Totally off-putting. But I bit into it. It was ok, despite my immense hunger and greater craving for comfort food. Somewhat flat. So, remember not all vada pavs are made equal.

BTW. DO YOU KNOW THAT JUMBO KINGS ARE not there in any malls in Mumbai? Because vada pav is too low-brow for them? Or maybe even low-priced? I wonder why local politicians have not made an issue of that...I would love to eat vada pavs in the mall, in the theaters and hopefully reasonably priced (how would a five-star vada pav taste?).. Perhaps it is not the mall rejecting them, but that the vada pav sellers find it difficult to hike the price of this humble food item to meet the malls's OTT rental costs. Either way, the loss is ours....

I read on a Sify link now that the Shiv Sena had launched a Shiv Vada Pav last year, after holding a vada pav competition and a vada pav conference . Oh wow!! How fantastic.... And that this Shiv Vada Pav was to be touted as a global phenomenon.

Yes, I also think making food is better than making war. And eating it is even better:) Especially if it is a hot vada pav with some aha-hoo garlic chutney:)

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