Mumbai is a hotpot of different cultures and cuisines. While one can easily find ingredients for Gujarati and Punjabi dishes, the same cannot be said about other cuisines. Team SMD looks for stores that stock authentic Malayali, Goan, Bengali and Sindhi food items
If you’re a Malayali, it is not possible that you can do without your achappams and unniyappams. Or that the very thought of shukto cooked with panch phoran doesn’t make your mouth water, if you’re a Bengali.
Nigel Xavier interacts with cutomers who throng the Arctic Circle cold storage that sells all kinds of meats and (above right) Goan masalas and pickles at Fatima cold storage Pics/Suresh KK
It’s easy to find these spices and snacks if you live in Kerala or West Bengal respectively, but when you’re in a place like Mumbai where Maharashtrian, Gujarati and Punjabi fare takes precedence, where do you go looking for them?
We scouted the city and found a couple of stores selling authentic Malayali, Bengali, Goan and Sindhi specialities, which cater to most of your culinary needs, if you belong to any of these communities.
Name of shop: Prakash Papadwala
Where: Outside Sindhu Halwai, near Vrindavan restaurant, 3rd Road, Khar West
Specialities: They offer a variety of Sindhi foodstuff such as nakul (a fried snack made of sev and sugar-coated), wadiyan (sun-dried spicy nuggets made from urad and moong dal, added to gravies and pulao), makhana (roasted, starchy white seeds used in dishes) and kachri (sun-dried, deep-fried snack made of rice flour).
(Clockwise from top-left) Prakash Papadwala’s famous aloo patties, spicy papad, onion pickle and Sanjri. Pic/Atul Kamble
Name of shop: Shankar Papadwala
Where: The pavement near Punjab Sindh Paneer Centre, Durga Niwas, near Khar Telephone Exchange, Khar Pali Road, Khar West
Specialities: Don’t miss their famous aloo, dal and paneer patties, Sanjri (a variety of dried flowers), onion pickle, spicy aloo papad and dried bhindi (to be deep-fried before consumption).
Name of shop: Dashakarma Bhandar
Where: Chembur Naka market, where you also get vegetables and fish varieties traditionally consumed by Bengalis
Specialities: (clockwise from top) Mustard seeds, garam masala, posto seeds, white jeera, dried chillies, bay leaves, black jeera, panch phoran. The ghee (in bottle) is used as a cooking medium
Name of shop: Mukherjee Pooja Bhandar
Where: Shop no 1, Shakti Kripa Building, near Sumariya Electronics, Parsi Agiary Lane, Jambhli Naka, Thane West
Specialities: Khejoor (dates), bori (vadi), kasundi (mustard paste), chanachur (Bengali farsan), aamshotto (sweet made from mango), naroo (coconut and jaggery laddoo), aloo dom masala, moori (puffed rice).
For all your ‘spicy’ needs, Dashakarma Bhandar has it all. Pic/Dhiman Chattopadhyay
Name of shop: Arctic Circle cold storage
Where: C4/5, Garden Colony, Near Canossa Girls Convent, Soonawala Agiary Lane, Mahim
Specialities: Nigel Xavier, the owner of the shop, tells us that the clientele includes 60 per cent Catholics and 40 per cent from other communities. It is a one-stop-shop for hardcore non-veg lovers to get their fill of chicken, bacon, ham, salamis and pickles. They also stock boneless pork, costa goa sausages and cafreal masala among other items.
Name of shop: Fatima cold storage
Where: Shop No 2, St Michael’s Bhavan, LJ Road, Mahim
Specialities: Pickles and masalas including Bombil balchao, Ambot Tik masala, Vindalho masala and Goan pork sausages
Name of shop: Benny’s South Indian store
Where: Sector 9, vegetable market, Vashi
Specialities: Reddish-brown meen chattis (or mud pots), that are used traditionally by Malayalis to make several dishes such as netholi manga curry.
(Clockwise from top) Jackfruit chips, Unniyappams, Kaliyadakka/ Cheedas, Achappams and Kuzhal appams. PicAnu Prabhakar
Name of shop: ABBA – A South Indian Super Bazar
Where: Sector 9, off vegetable market, Vashi
Specialities: The store stocks up on authentic Kerala pickles (made from fish, ginger and tender mango among others) and snacks like Jackfruit chips and Kuzhal appam.
Name of shop: Shri Valli Traders
Where: Sector 17, Vashi
Specialities: The shop is not strictly Malayali — Shri Valli sells popular snacks and delicacies from all over south India. You can buy your Unniyappams, Achappam and Kaliyadakka/Cheedas here.