I am in love with Mumbai! Masood took me to Chowpatty yesterday, which is more commonly known as “Bombay Chowpatty”. I was surprised to discover that it’s actually a beach because back home in the UAE, Bombay Chowpatty is the name of a restaurant! And they serve yummy food.
Gorgeous, right? Such a clean and quiet place to spend some moments of solace and peace. Well, not really! I took that picture at two in the afternoon, when the sun was hot and bright. That’s one of the reasons why the beach appears deserted. I discovered the other reason just last night: the place comes to life at night!
This lively beach is definitely not meant for sunbathing or swimming, but for eating. It is a bazaar and mela (or festival) rolled into one. I noticed salesmen throng the beach last night, selling everything from glow-in-the-dark yo-yos and animal-shaped balloons to rat poison. Men stand by with bathroom scales, offering complacent strollers a chance to check their weight in return for a small price. Hand-operated Ferris wheels and carousels are packed with children. And then there was the main attraction: stalls nearby selling Mumbai’s famously satisfying fast food—crunchy bhel puris (puffed-rice snacks), ragda pattices (spicy potato cakes), and paav bhaji (fried vegetable mash eaten with bread). And my all-time favorite: falooda.
Did I mention that most of the people came dressed as if they were attending a wedding party? It was so lively. We strolled around a bit, just before heading towards the countless food stalls. Each stall has a “salesman”, whose job is to call in customers towards his stall.
We ordered paav bhaji and falooda with kulfi (I can’t put into words how yummy both of these were). One of the salesmen laid out a straw mat for us on the sand, where we sat and enjoyed the food. The entire experience was so memorable!
If you’re in Mumbai, do visit this place.