India has always taken vada pav seriously. The pure supporters would pair it up with almost anything. From the edge of the south to the cliffs of the north, we all savour this. And everyone can agree to this one thing. Potato almost always, is the best pairing.
Vada pav, is not just a dish. It is a marriage. The coming together of these beautiful ingredients in holy matrimony. The companion for those rushing without a home. The playful high five to college students. The warm hand reminding someone of his childhood. No, it is not just a dish.
The spice attacks you first. It seeps into your mouth. Your mouth knows no other taste. The pav then comes around to soothe you. Every bite is a Diwali firework. Every bite is a rush. The entire country claims the Vada pav. They all love the dish too much. But in Maharashtra, it is everything. Days begin and end with it.
Here are a few places celebrating this welcome feast!
The Classic Pav- Ashok Vada Pav
The oldest of the lot. There is a reason they say old is gold. This little stall in Dadar takes the cake. Not only is the taste supreme, it is all a star spot. People like Madhuri Dixit, Shabana Azmi, Sonu Nigam walk in for the best taste in all of Mumbai.
Mr. Ashok Thakur set up this spot 35 years ago. Since that day they dole out thousands of vada pavs every day. The cost of one piece is 15 rupees. The shop is open from 11am to 9.30 pm.
The Pune Rival- Garden Vada Pav
Everyone goes on and on about the praises of vada pav in Mumbai. But the sister city is not staying out of this. The JJ Garden Vada pav, located in two spots across the city will stun your mouth for hours after eating. The chutney served along with it makes the real kill. They have been making this consistently for the last 40 years.
It is big enough to be lunch. It is served along with onions, green chilli dipped in vinegar and a gift from the gods. The gift is the chura. The crispy ends of the batter are the real ambrosia.
The Meaty One
They say, chicken makes everything better. And this place would agree to it heavily. Their meat ridden solution to vada pav amplifies the taste ten-fold. The chicken vada pav, or the shami is made with spiced potatoes, chicken strips and as many spices possible. It is coated lightly in whisked eggs and cooked on the tawa.
This one is found in the lanes of Mahim. Right on LJ Road, adjacent to Midland restaurant, you will find Munnabhai, sister in law and the ustaad frying up this meaty, golden beauty to you. Served with onions and lime!
The Fusion Pav- Jumbo King
They took a street side vada pav and introduced it to the firangi world. Gone are the days of just a potato vada pav. Everyone wants a different flavour pang. And jumbo king does just that. Spread across parts of India, this franchise chain gives the best twists to your vada pav. They take tastes that the desi thrive on and make it new.
For just a little higher price you can find real great taste. This is the millennial generation of vada pavs. The best combinations to try here are the Chinese vada pav and crispy veg vada pav.
The ‘Abroad’ Treat
From the bustling busy streets of India to the fine dine experience in Ireland. It has travelled a lot. A number of people have tried to take this out of India. It has taken our beloved treat and introduced it in Ireland.
They will also be taking it to Germany, Sweden and more. Burger Singh operates with the same cause in UK. Charcoal Eats has taken it all the way to Bahrain and UK. Soon vada pav, will take over the world!
Whatever the case, whatever the place, this delicacy will fill bellies and create smiles! India is a huge Bahubali level thali and we have just begun! Let us know what your favourite vada pav is? We would love to try more and more!