Chef Irfan Pabaney’s love affair with Mumbai stems from the city’s blend of cosmopolitan energy and traditional charms.
I am Indian but I was born in Bogota, Colombia. After my parents got married in Mumbai in 1963, they moved to South America, where I spent the first four years of my life. I returned to India in 1980. Today, Mumbai has a total population of 20 million, making it the fourth most populous city in the world.
Globalisation is catching up with Mumbai and the city is fast becoming cosmopolitan, so there is a wide range of food available, from Chinese treats to Western fare and South Indian fare (like what you have in Singapore) to Indian street snacks. One of the many street snacks you can find is Malpua, which is similar to a pancake but deep-fried and flavoured with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, fennel and saffron. For the sweet-toothed, there is Phirni, a delicious sweet made of basmati rice and served in earthenware pots.
I also like heading to Marine Drive, which is known as Queen’s Necklace as its street lights form a curved line of ‘pearls’ when viewed from the elevated area of Walkeshwar. It is one of the most beautiful streets in Mumbai and my favourite part of the city come nightfall.
Excerpt from the October 2013 issue of epicure.