Flavours Of Ramzan: Exploring Mumbai's 'Food Paradise' During Holy Month

Flavours Of Ramzan: Exploring Mumbai's 'Food Paradise' During Holy Month

Colourful drinks with funky names are one of the highlights of the lit lanes of Mohammad Ali Road this holy month of Ramzan.

Yael AjgarniUpdated: Sunday, March 17, 2024, 10:52 AM IST
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You might’ve heard of 'mohabbat-e-sharbat', a famous milk-based drink made with rose syrup and watermelon. But, have you heard of ‘nafrat-e-sharbat’, made of shredded apples and milk? How about ‘marjawan mojito’? Or ‘diljale,’ or ‘dilwale’?

Colourful drinks with funky names are one of the highlights of the lit lanes of Mohammad Ali Road this holy month of Ramzan. Mohammad Irfan, who is selling these beverages near Mashallah Cuisine, is proud of the variety he is offering. "Mohabbat ke shehar mein mohabbat baant rahe hai (We are distributing love in the city of love)," he says.

Special food preparations during Ramzan

Every year during Ramzan, special food preparations come up in the lanes of Mohammad Ali Road. Rozedars and food lovers across faiths throng to the khau galli next to the Minara Masjid as stalls set up a variety of fruits, savouries, and desserts around the time of iftaar.

‘Sandal’ or ‘sandan’ is a sweet, airy preparation made of rice and mawa, topped with pista. Nizammudin of Kasam Bhai Sandalwala has been making this dish for 50 years. “We have customers who come from far away. Some even take it to their relatives in Dubai,” he reveals.

Mawa Jalebi might be seen throughout the year, but at Burhanpur Jalebi Centre, it gets sold alongside rabdi and phirni for the month. “During Ramzan, we have four outlets around Minara Masjid,” shares Nilesh Gawle, indicating the high demand the restaurant witnesses.

‘Phool khaja’ and ‘mawa khaja’

At Modern Sweets And Confectionary, ‘phool khaja’ and ‘mawa khaja’—which are delicate sweet parcels made with layered Filo pastry—offer a visual treat. Yet, malpua and phirni remain the most popular items, according to the staff. “We also have anarkali, chamcham, rasmalai, and much more, which is good for iftar as people want to have variety after ending their fast," says one of the employees.

For meat lovers, the options are endless. Fan favourites range from tandoor food like seekh kabab and tikka to rich dishes like haleem and kepsa.

Nalli nihari is another hit among non-vegetarians and Byculla resident Shamsher highly recommends the one prepared at Chinese N Grill restaurant. His family members, who joined him from Bandra, spent hours trying out various dishes and have packed up more food to take home. "We all came here because we are foodies,” he declares.

For many food enthusiasts, a visit to Mohammad Ali Road is a Ramzan tradition. 21-year-old Chembur resident Khurshid Hassan travels at least once during this time with his friends. “We enjoy that the people are very happy, and the food is great. This place has a different vibe,” he says.

20-year-old Ayushi, whose season-favourite is phirni, believes that street food helps in understanding different cultures. "People come together irrespective of their religion and caste and celebrate each other's festivals. It is nice to come here and explore other cultures," she remarks.

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