Chef Susan Feniger finds some of her best culinary inspiration at humble street food stands around the globe. Her Los Angeles restaurant, Street, showcases the most amazing foods she’s tasted over the years, and her new cookbook, Susan Feniger’s Street Food, shares the recipes and stories behind them. When pressed to name a street food capital, Feniger chooses Mumbai. “India is magical,” she says. “And Mumbai is mind-boggling.” Here, Feniger gives us a taste.
ELCO PANI PURI CENTER
“This is the best place for all kinds of Indian chaat (street snacks), such as delhi aloo tikki, potato patties in yogurt sauce. We sat on tiny stools to watch how the cooks make the food, and tried nearly the whole menu. Pani puri is sold all over India. Here, the small pocket of fried bread is filled with potato, tamarind, masala, sprouts, mint, and chili. At Street, we do a pani puri made with semolina wheat puffs that we stuff with spiced potato, sprouted mung beans, date tamarind chutney, and chili.” 2A Elco Market, 46 Hill Rd., Bandra, 91/(0) 22-2645-7677, elcocateringservices.com
BADSHAH COLD DRINK HOUSE
“There is nothing more refreshing than a falooda. The drink is an adaptation of a popular Persian dessert. It’s like a milk shake but with lots of textural components. Badshah offers more than 10 varieties, and all the ingredients are produced in-house. The most popular is the Royal Falooda, made with rose syrup, milk, vermicelli noodles, basil seeds, and vanilla ice cream.” 152/156 Lokmanya Tilak Rd., opposite Crawford Market, Kalbadevi, 91/(0) 22-2342-1943
BRITTANIA & CO. RESTAURANT
“You should order one of everything on the menu, and three of the caramel custard. This tiny, family-owned café is open for lunch only and specializes in Parsi dishes such as dhansak [a stew of mutton, lentils, and vegetables]. The restaurant is most famous for its berry pulav [a Persian dish made with Iranian berries, cashews, and a choice of meat or a vegetable]. A sign with the words ‘There is no love greater than the love of eating’ hangs outside, and the interior is decorated with pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Gandhi.” Wakefield House 11, 16 Sprott Rd., Ballard Estate, Fort, 91/(0) 22-2261-5264
“Ask any local where to go for seafood, and chances are they’ll recommend Trishna. Don’t bother with the overwhelming menu. Just order the garlic butter crab. If you ask, your waiter will bring the live king crab to your table dangling from a line. It returns cooked, smothered in butter and garlic. You’ll want to add lots of lime juice to bring the flavors to life. If you don’t like crab, order the tandoori butterfish.” Birla Mansion, Sai Baba Rd., Kala Ghoda, 91/(0) 22-2270-3213
Illustration by Michael Hoeweler. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.