25 May 2016 – Eater
Mumbai is a daunting place. There are 22 million people here. Population density averages 21,000 people per square kilometer (in Tokyo it’s about 6,000). It’s crowded and noisy and the traffic — complete with fumes and an endless barrage of car horns — is torture. Inequality is profound and inescapable. But Bombay, as the city was known until 1995 (and still is known by many of its citizens), is also a place of immense hope, drawing people by the million from across the Subcontinent to make their fortunes. Some have succeeded. Many more have failed. But they’ve all brought their food.
Plagued with nagging fears of intestinal distress, many first time visitors approach the city (and particularly its food) with caution bordering on paranoia, a senseless way to experience a place defined by its mad affinity for foolhardy gambles. This list of 38 essential experiences is far from comprehensive — it focuses on the historic south and central suburbs where visitors are likely to spend their time at the expense of more distant, and increasingly populous, suburbs — but it nonetheless offers a cross-section of this city’s many tight-knit communities, its closely nested worlds. Because India’s greatest metropolis is at its chaotic, democratic best when it eats.
See the full map as part of Eater’s Global 38 series