Food + Wine

World's Best Street Food

by JJ Goode

The dish: Bhel puri

Where to find the best: Mumbai, India

Word on the street: It only makes sense that India, a continent-size country with five major religions and 16 official languages, would have countless beloved snacks. But the chaat (as they're known) of choice in the food-crazy city of Mumbai is bhel puri, a deceptively simple jumble of puffed rice, sev (tiny fried noodles), potato, red onion, and cilantro. Just before serving, the puri is ignited by a spicy tamarind chutney that not only rouses the palate but moistens the rice and sev to a texture that teeters between crunchy and soft. Chowpatty Beach, in Back Bay, is Mumbai's street food mecca and where you'll spoon up the city's best bhel puri to the soundtrack of wallahs loudly advertising their edible wares. They may tempt you to also try pav bhaji (Portuguese-style bread served with a butter-bombed mash of vegetables cooked in tomato paste) or kulfi, India's famous dense ice cream. Go for it—but be aware that Chowpatty is also known for being one of the less pristine spots in Mumbai. So for a taste of chaat with less risk of gastrointestinal distress, head about a mile north to the well-loved restaurant Swati Snacks, opposite Bhatia Hospital, which uses filtered water.

Swati Snacks
248 Karai Estate, Tardeo
Mumbai, India
Tel: 22 5680 8405

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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