Link to the blog post I had done after my first visit to Pancham Pooriwala in 2010
Sometime in the 1840s, the late Pancham Sharma walked for 39 days from what is known as Uttar Pradesh today to what was known as Bombay then.
He walked down the distance because train services were yet to start in India.
He then set up a poori (fried flatbread) shop, ironically just outside what would be Victoria Terminus, the central train station of Mumbai.
He used to serve 5 (a play on his name Pancham) pooris in a plate. More than a century and a half later, VT is now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus as India has long been independent and its politician have decided to discard British names. So Bombay is called Mumbai.
Pancham's work is carried on by the sixth generation of his great grandchildren who proudly feed pooris to their customers. A standard plate still has 5 pooris.
Pancham Pooriwala now exists as a small two storied restaurant opposite CST station. It's a no frills, non-airconditioned place with shared seating. The pooris are fried fresh through the day. There are three versions - sada (plain), masala and palak. These come with a variety of vegetarian side dishes or you can go in for the full blown thali too. The vegetables are made everyday and nothing is stored overnight. Which is why they didn't keep a refrigerator till recently. Prices of the meals range between Rs 60 to Rs 160 and they have some nice lassis and butter milk.
I would strongly recommend that you go here to get a taste of Mumbai's culinary history.
The puris are pretty good too.
Do check out the video that we shot at Pancham Puriwala where we spoke to the current owner and 6th generation descendent of the founder. We also met a gentleman whose family has been working here since when the shop was set up. And we had a lot of pooris as they wouldn't let us start work till we were satiated.
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|Stuffed with pooris and stories at the end of the shoot.|
That's Anupam Sharma, 6th generation owner of Pancham Puriwala