As we delve into the amazing range of chaat (Indian snacks), vada pav is another white bread-based favourite – popular in Mumbai, across India and where Indian populations have settled, like Auckland’s Sandringham.
The invention of the double-carb hit of yeasty bread (the ‘pav’ and a spicy potato patty dipped in gram flour for crispiness) is attributed to Ashok Vaisya in the 1970s. This vendor would sit outside the Dadar railway station and sell batata vada (the fried patties). One day he put them in a pav and served them with chutney. An on-the-go hit was born. (Thank you, Wikipedia). Just like pav bhaji, they are from the populous Maharashtra province. The two starches here – the bread and potatoes – were Portuguese introductions to India in the 1600s. But the masala mix, gram flour coating, chutneys, and street food style are all very Indian.
(You can also order batata vada, which is the spiced potato patty, on its own).
I think along with the aloo tikki, the vada pav’s popularity helped inspire the famous McDonald’s McAloo Tikki burger, a spiced vege and potato patty in a white bun that McDonald’s sells a lot of in India.
Where to buy in Auckland
Mumbai Chaat, 1 Kitchener St, Sandringham
Just off Sandringham Road roughly opposite the new Lord Kitchener pub, this offers a full range of Mumbai street food cooked by a family hailing from Mumbai.
And recommended by a reader – this vada pav looks amazing…
Jango Mumbai Streetfood, 5 Elliott Street, CBD, Auckland