I met up with Shashank, a freelance TV producer, who is currently preparing a documentary for a TV team from Singapore, on Mumbai’s street food vendors.
I simply went along for the ride, as he figured out a few places and family businesses that would be willing to be interviewed.
First stop: Chowpatty Beach, a stretch of sand on Back Bay, with a view on the rich Malabar Hill area. I first just had to get some pictures of the sunset.
Then I sampled some street food, in that case Pani Puri. Those were some hollow fried balls, that our vendor filled with white beans and dunked into a green, sweet&spicy sauce.
I had 6 or 7 of them, and despite all the warnings about non-fried street food, no unintended side effects. It was actually pretty good.
Shashank then took me on a cab ride through town to Kazipura, a predominantly Muslim area on Mohammed Ali Road, and an amazing night market on the streets.
The streets were crazy. I have never seen anything like it. The number of cars, taxis, buses, carts, people, motorcycles crossing at once is indescribable.
I can’t believe there are no constant accidents. We managed to cross it a couple of times, but it was clearly something out of my league.
We found a couple of other street food vendors, who Shashank interviewed and who were open to talk to the Singapore TV team in a few weeks.
For me, just trailing along and taking pictures, this was a feast to the eyes, ears and all other senses. I felt overwhelmed by the speed, the sounds and noises, total sensory overload, on the first night out in Mumbai.
I wish I had taken more pictures, but navigating these streets was demanding full attention. Mostly I had to walk on the side of the streets close to the cars with the other pedestrians, as the side walk was actually occupied by all the vendors.
I did not sample any more food, as most in this area wasn’t vegetarian. But I’m glad I went along, it was a place I would never have gone alone.
We ended the night in a more quiet place: a roof top bar in South Mumbai, chilling with a cold Indian beer and some Fried Yums, a sort of greasy finger food that Indian kids love.
With a view over the Arabian sea at night, an approaching thunderstorm and an Arabian wedding at night, this was the perfect way to end a first, overwhelming day in Mumbai.