Fine Dine Love

India, Mumbai, World

Hungry For More: Unique Cuisines in Mumbai

23 Apr , 2016  

There’s never been a more exciting time for food enthusiasts in Mumbai. After lapping up popular cuisines like Italian, Cantonese, Thai and Japanese – it seems the city is still hungry for more – literally! With a growing mix of restaurants and home chefs you can sample cuisines as diverse as Tibetan, Peruvian, Assamese and even Ethiopian!

Take Bunny Chow and Caribbean Roti for example, South African and Caribbean specialities, respectively, available at MeSoHappi, and as the team points out, they “have their roots connected to the Indian Community.” So while Indian roots might have led to Bunny Chow, which is basically curry served in a hollowed-out bread bowl, becoming popular in the city. This apparent Indian connection is perhaps the reason why Ananya Banerjee’s Ethiopian food pop-ups are tremendously popular. “I lived in an area of Washington that had the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia… and I just fell in love with their food! There are some similarities too between Ethiopians and Indian food, like the use of lentils and spices” says Banerjee who is also a cookbook author and hosts pop-ups at home for German and even Italian food. “But it’s never the stuff you will find in restaurants,” she tells us.

Fine Dine Love

Legend has it that migrant Indian workers on South African sugar cane plantations hollowed out loaves of bread as a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries.

 

But working with new flavours has its own challenges. Banerjee had to create her own flour mix for Injera, a fluffy pancake that is integral to Ethiopian food. “There’s no teff in India, so I developed my own recipe using cornmeal.” It’s a sentiment that Sylvester Wongchuk of Sernya Tibetan Kitchen echoes too. “We bring a lot of our sauces and dallay chilli from Kolkata and Sikkim. We don’t add any MSG or chemicals to our food. To date, Momos and Thukpa are the first things people think of when you talk of Tibetan food, but once they see our menu, they are open to trying new dishes like Yumsho Jasha (smoked chicken pancakes) and Yam Mein (Soft steamed noodles with steamed fishballs),” he says.

Authentic Ethiopian cuisine makes Ananya Banerjee's food pop-ups extremely popular

Authentic Ethiopian cuisine makes Ananya Banerjee’s food pop-ups extremely popular

 

Gitika Saikia, who hails from Assam, has been running her pop-ups at home and in cooking studios in the city, started out when she heard people say pretty much the same things about food from the North East. “‘Oh, Assamese food, that’s similar to Bengali food!’ ‘You guys eat everything that crawls!’ and ‘Momos’, this is all I would hear people talk about food from the North East, so that’s what made me want to start pop-ups,” she tells us. Perhaps the most well known face of the home chef circuit, she’s now even collaborated with APB Cook Studio to host an all-vegetarian pop-up at Soam. “There will be fiddlehead ferns, tiny baby potatoes and colocasia leaves – all of which I source from Assam,” she smiles.

The spread at Sernya Tibetan Kitchen goes beyond the usual Tibetan fare

The spread at Sernya Tibetan Kitchen goes beyond the usual Tibetan fare, giving patrons a taste of lesser-known gems

 

Another new entrant on the ‘exotic’ food scene in the city is Michelin-starred Chef Atul Kochhar’s ‘Lima’ that serves Peruvian food — the first of its kind in Mumbai. If you’re still hung up on pastas and good ol’ Chinese food, we’re pretty sure we’ve done good job of convincing you to try something unique, the next time you have to dine out!


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Tarika

Tarika Singh is a Mumbai-based food blogger, YouTuber and recipe developer. Every week, she comes up with recipes that are lapped up by an audience not just from India, but around the world. Her growing popularity and following has led to successful collaborations with brands such as Dove and KitchenAid India amongst others, and Tarika also features on the cover of Femina magazine dated July 14th 2015.

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