India: A Taste of Mumbai
A Taste of Mumbai
As the economic capital of India, Mumbai has a huge immigrant population from across the country and around the globe. This, combined with its past as a key global trade hub, has greatly influenced its culinary culture. Mumbai wouldn’t be quite the same without its food vendor scene, and I’m in search of the best this bustling and chaotic city has to offer.
Mumbai’s street food scene is not for the faint of heart. Locals flock to food stalls, finding everything from bite-sized morsels to plates of fragrant stew. Aromatic spices fill the air, and I am eager to fill my rumbling belly with some of these delectable goodies.
Travelling through the city, I notice quite a few bicycle riders with tall stacks of metal tins strapped to their bikes. I learn that these riders are among the 5,000 “dabbawala,” or tiffin-wala, workers, who deliver homemade, lunch-time meals to approximately 200,000 people! The word “tiffin” is actually a remnant from 300 years of British rule, and refers to a light meal, and also the metal tin in which it is served.
The dabbawala not only deliver these meals to distances of up to 30 miles (48 kilometers), but they also ensure that each tiffin box is returned to its appropriate home after the meal is consumed. Despite what you might think, this system is astoundingly accurate. Even in the midst of India’s monsoon season the dabbawala service continues uninterrupted. Now that’s what I call a great meals-on-wheels system!