Vada pavs in the rain. Shree Krishna Fast Food, Bandra E

Vada pav in the rain

It rained all afternoon this Friday and the roads of Bandra E were washed clean and there was a lovely play of grey and green around one.

The rains had just stopped and I decided to head to Sri Krishna Fast Food near Guru Nanak Hospital and Hallmark Building.

Sri Krishna and the equally old and very popular tea stall beside it
Make for a great combo

This wet evening needed a vada pav (or pao as I used to say till recently. The Jury is divided).

I made my way through the crowd at Sri Krishna and asked the hands on owner, young Anand Mishra, for a vada pav.

Anand Mishra in the light green shirt

I got my vada pav, went into a corner, and bit into its steaming, starchy, spicy, carby goodness and enlightenment happened.

There is nothing that goes better with the Mumbai rains than a vada pav I realised as my inner food Buddha emerged.

While growing up in Kolkata I used to have an egg roll every evening.

When I moved into Mumbai this got replaced by a vada pav every evening in front of the LIC building while heading to the Churchgate Station from Nariman Point after work.

Over the years I realised that this spicy boiled potato, deep fried in a chickpea batter patty (vada), incased in a soft bun (pav or pao), with a chilli garlic powder (ghati masala or lasoon chutney) and served with deep fried salted green chilli is the lifeline of Mumbai just as egg rolls are for Kolkata.

These chillies are a must with vada pav

Which is sort of funny as, if you go by Wiki, the vada pao was invented as recently as the early 1970s by Ashok of the famous Kirti College vada pav stall.

There is no consensus on the best vada pav place as I wrote here on EazyDiner yesterday.

For every one person who says Kirti vada pav is the best, there will be five who will reply saying 'that's over rated'.

Every Mumbaikar has their personal favourite vada pao place.

I have a simple yardstick for finding a good vada pav. Find a vada pav guy who is surrounded by people and who serves his vadas fresh off the wok (just don't burn your tongue in the process!).

The super busy guys at the Sri Krishna counter

My current favourite is Sree Krishna Fast Food run by Anand Mishra. I go there whenever I am at Bandra E in the evenings.

Anand started the shop more than a decade and a half back after he completed his schooling and didn't want to study further. His dad set him up with this shop.

Anand was born in Mumbai though his parents came in to the city from UP. Which possibly explains the lovely dahi kachori that they serve here.

His workers in the early days would keep running away. So young Anand learnt how to make the vadas from them and since then has taught his workers and fries them (the vadas not the workers!) himself too.

Vadas and samosas are the most popular items in his shops and he sells more than a 1000 of each every day.

When he started off 15 years back, a vada pav cost about 3 Rs. Today it's Rs 12.

Anand is normally pretty busy as the shop is crowded through the day but one day I managed to have a chat with him and got to know his story.

The vada pavs here are consistently good. They have never given me acidity or a bad stomach. They are fried in sunflower oil as Anand proudly told me. His hard work and personal involvement shows in the quality of food. He takes a break only between 3 to 4 to clean up the shop before evening service and the shop is open till about 8 pm.

Anand Mishra
a great example of what Mumbai is all about

In case, like Gitika Saikia, you are wondering why I keep posting about places around Guru Nanak Hospital and are worried for me, please don't be. 

I go to an office next door twice a week on work!


Unknown said…
Hey hi! I miss my Mumbai too much sitting far away in Singapore, and your blog is making me want to reach out for those treats in the pics :-)
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Leena, hope you make it back soon