Ashok pav bhaaji-vala. Fort, Mumbai. Foodocracy India

Ashok in action over the years that I have been to his stall

Ashok is one of the countless pav bhaaji-wallahs who operate out one of Mumbai's countless 'khao gulleys'. Food streets that had sprung up to feed the city's working force. He operates at a (there are many) khao gulley in Fort. The original Central Business District of Mumbai. In the lane parallel to the Strand Book Store. The one that faces the Kashmir Emporium which is down the road from the historic Bombay Store. That is how you identify the street food stars of the city. Not through geo-tags.
I am afraid that I do not know his surname. I will ask him what it is the next time we meet.
He told me that he has been making Mumbai's favourite street food of pav bhaaji for the last 40 years.  He makes tava pulao too. I have never tried that. Not a fan.
I have frequented his stall for the last ten years. His pav bhaaji has to be my favourite in town. There is a certain sense of purity to what he serves. The flavours are consistent. The seasoning too. Having a piping hot plate of this mixed vegetable dish, which he pulverises first with his spatula and to which he blends in spices, always makes me smile. The experience is complete only when you mop it up with the pav which he first slices, then swipes across the tava (griddle pan) in which the pav bhaaji was made. Locking in the flavours, before he adds a dollop of salted Amul butter. As does he to the pav bhaaji. The heart of the dish lies in the butter you could say and yet it is not excessive. It does not drown the other flavours.
Mix in the the sliced onions that he gives, before you have the pav bhaaji. Squeeze in some lime too. The only precaution I would suggest is to not to be in a hurry. You might singe your mouth otherwise.
I usually stop at his stall when I conduct food walks at Fort. Most of those I take to him are foreigners from the 'first world.' All of whom have been smitten by his food. No one has had a bad stomach!
He had to be my first Foodocracy India street food entry.
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