The annual Bandra Fair is currently underway in full swing till September 18. If you have been meaning to go after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, then here is a food guide to get you started
The halwa (left) and kadio bodio (right) is commonly sold at Bandra Fair every year. Photo Courtesy: Manjeet Thakur/Mid-day pic
Tall stacks of food will greet you near Mount Mary’s Basilica if you visit Bandra Fair this week. They are a familiar occurrence along with shops that sell chains, pendants, rings and other fashionable items. Thousands of devotees will throng the fair this week to pray and celebrate the birth of Mother Mary, which was observed on September 8 last week.
While the masses will be on, the fair takes place annually for one week from the first Sunday after the feast day till the next around the church. This year, the Bandra Fair, which started on September 11 will be on till September 18. The eight days of the fair not only see a lot of devotees but also food vendors in the city and other areas, who visit the suburb to sell unique food items known to be enjoyed by people during this time.
Those who visit the fair every year feast on some of the specialities that are quite popular. They have become a part of their yearly ritual to not only eat there but bring some home for their family and friends, and their personal share that lasts for at least a month.
If you are visiting Bandra fair this year, getting a bag full of roasted black gram is definitely a must. The snack, which is locally called roasted kala chana, is stacked high and sold at every other stall, both big and small, at the fair. It definitely helps when you spend long hours at the fair and still don’t know what to eat. The best part about them is that they are cheap and thus don’t burn a whole in your pocket.
Price: Rs 50 onwards for 250 gms
A favourite of many, the halwa sold at the Bandra Fair is found at many stalls and comes in black, yellow, green and red colours. These are among the most popular varieties of the sweet meats that sell like hot cakes on all 10 days of the fair. With the first day out of the way, it is advisable to go on weekdays to avoid dealing with the crowd to get a chance to pick the best pieces, instead of buying what is left of the day. The ideal time to visit and buy this is in the first half of the day and preferably before 12 pm to avoid the heat. If you still can’t decide, then you can take an assortment of the speciality.
Price: Rs 100 onwards per packet for 250 gms
If you are from the Catholic community in the city, you know that Bandra Fair is that time of the year when you get your annual stock of kadio bodios. Popularly known as khaje among other communities, the finger-sized sticks are made with chickpea flour (besan) that is mixed with jaggery and ginger to give a sweet yet earthy flavour that lingers on the palate long after you come back home from the fair. It is available in light yellow, sugar coated and orange colours, but don’t get confused because they all taste equally good and are a must if you are visiting the fair for the first time.
Price: Rs 100 onwards for 250 gms
For non-vegetarian food lovers who are visiting the fair, don’t forget to stop at any stall you find selling Goan specialities like Choris Pao or Sorpotel. While it is known to be found at several places in the city, you will find several home chefs who sell it at their stalls along with other specialities. The choris is a spicy preparation made from Goan sausages, stuffed in pav and served hot. This year, we found only one stall called Ally’s stall that has been put up by Teresa Vessaoker and her husband, residents of Chapel Road. If you are looking to spot it, then head to stall number 11 on top at the end of the steps on the right, next to the stall selling mouth fresheners. The stall also sells sorpotel and different kinds of rolls and pattice.
Price: Rs 50 for the Choris Pao, Rs 300 for 300 ml of Sorpotel
Last but not the least, the famous Agra speciality is a common feature at the Bandra fair every year and loved by one and all who have tasted it. Made from ash gourd and sugar, the North Indian translucent sweet is sugary, sweet and chewy, and will give you sticky fingers but is surely worth the taste. While it is available at many stalls in the city, it is a signature sweet found at the fair every year.
Price: Rs 400 onwards per kilo, Rs 100 for 250 gms
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