Community eating

Sep 07, 2013, 06:57 IST | Ruchika Kher and Dhara Vora

Mumbai is a melting pot of people from diverse states, so it's only natural that the city is home to many stores that stock and retail food items to cater to its countless communities. Ruchika Kher and Dhara Vora went with their shopping bags in search of such crowd favourites that continue to do brisk business as they add a spicy whiff to Mumbai's diverse culinary palate

H Dayalal Masalawala
Two steps inside the busy Panchayat Wadi lane in the Gujarati heartland of Bhuleshwar is H Dayalal Masalawala store. Started in 1970, it stocks freshly grounded spices, and is now run by father-son duo, Tansukhlal and Rushabh Gala.

(Left standing) Rushabh and Tansukh Gala at their store. Pic/Bipin Kokate

They take pride in the freshness of their spices, which are grounded every morning in their factory; it’s what attracts customers from across Mumbai and beyond. “We have around 30 to 40 kinds of masalas. Our Rajwadi masala is a favourite with Gujratis along with the Sandwich masala, which is a mix of Kalamari powder, Sanchar powder, Amchur powder and salt,” says 24-year-old Rushabh. The store provides free home delivery all over the city with a minimum order of Rs 500.

(From top) Rajwadi masala, Pav Bhaji masala and Sambar masala. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Rushabh also informs that their Pav Bhaji masala is unlike what’s stocked elsewere, “One simply needs to add this masala to the vegetables, and it is done. You don’t need to add even chilli powder,” he claims.

At: 2, Panchayat Wadi, Bhuleshwar.
Call: 9821465251/ 9321465251

Mahima Mangalore Stores
The store that opened shop in Bandra in 1983, was “the only other shop in Mumbai, after a shop in Bycull, that offered Mangalorean food items and spices,” says Narsima Murthy, who has been with Mahima Mangalore stores, since it started.

Narsiman Murthy attending to customers. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The loyal worker remembers that popularity or getting in footfalls has never been a problem with the shop, as since its beginning, it was the only shop in the area selling Mangalorean stuff and since then it has gained quite a reputation. “We not just get people from the south, but even Maharashtrians and people from other states buying our proucts,” informs Murthy, while he attends to his customers.

Bafat Masala, which is a kind of garam masala, is very famous with the Mangalorean community. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The shop is famous for banana and jackfruit chips, tamarind and Bafat, Stew and Vegetable masalas that were their most demanded products. Also popular is the Chawal Roti, which is had with Mangalorean Chicken Curry.

At 45, Hill Road, Bandra (W).
Call 26400661 / 9969542127

Hindustan Masala Mills
There is a long history that lies behind the buzzing counter of Hindustan Masala Mills in Nagpada. “My grandfather, Shaikh Farid Shaikh Ali came to Mumbai from Hyderabad and used to work as a machine winding mechanic since 1939.

Grinders at the retail store

Due to his dealings in machinery he thought of getting in the business of grinding spices,” says 31-year-old Imtiyaz Shaikh, who with his younger brother, Muzaffar, is the third generation running the company. Till today, they operate grinding mills in Vashi that offer masala grinding services to several big spice companies. They offer spices such as chillies, turmeric and dhaniya (coriander powder), but their speciality lies in ready mixes for making non-vegetarian dishes. “Our Special Mix can be added to any vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish for a great flavour.

(Left) Imtiyaz and Muzaffar Shaikh. Pics/Dhara Vora

Our speciality is the Butter Chicken Mix as well as Chicken Tandoori mix used to make a starter,” says Shaikh. These recipes were developed by their father Abdul Rashid Shaikh. A special made-to order masala is the Achari Ghosht Masala and a Bihari Kebab Masala. “The packaging was initially done in paper and then shifted to plastic packs. And Inshallah, within 15 days we plan to get into branded packaging and take our business forward,” says Imtiyaz.

At 235-237, Duncan Road, near Two Tank, Nagpada.
Call 23071113

Madras Stores
At Madras Stores on Mulund’s buzzing MG Road; Subramanian PT PM, a double doctorate, humbly deals with the store’s customers who have been visiting the place for ages. “I am a singleton, and have devoted my life to spiritualism. This shop is mainly service-oriented and is a way for me to give back what I have learned,” says the 55-year-old who has studied law, astrology, numerology and is also a holistic consultant, who offers his services at no cost.

The store currently has eco-friendly Ganesh idols on sale

Madras Stores is a 78-year-old establishment started by Subramanian’s father, PS Parmeshwaran Iyer. Earlier located in Khar, the shop has been at its current location for 62 years. On offer are seasonal South Indian condiments, pickles, specially-sourced and freshly-ground Madras filter coffee, snacks, Sambar and Rasam masalas. The store also stocks handloom cloth and other paraphernalia for worship rituals. One will also find sandwood talcs and other endearing knick-knacks associated with old-school stores.

Madras Stores. Pics/Dhara Vora

The shop underwent renovation in 2008, and ready-to-cook packs have also been added to the stocks for a while. Like seasonal condiments, the store also readies itself for different festivals; currently eco-friendly Ganesh idols dominate the interiors of the store and will be replaced by devi idols during Navratri. “We have a close relationship with the people who visit the store and people in Mulund have always been a satisfied, middle-income group. Even today, by looking at the forehead of any of my customer I can sense if they are under tension,” he says.

At Shop no 1, MG Road, opposite Shiv Sena office, Jalaram Estate (closed on Sundays, except this week due to Ganesh Chaturthi).
Call 9821064212 

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