Ratan Tata Institute (RTI), Bandra West
Toss a stone in South Mumbai and in all likeliness, it’ll hit an RTI outlet. There are outlets on Turner Road, Colaba’s gracious Holland House, Flora Fountain, Dadar and Hughes Road. You’ll even find one tucked away amidst Parsi General Hospital’s vast, verdant compound: it doubles as a cafeteria for visiting relatives and friends. The shelves at RTI are lined with snacks loved by Parsis – crisp Macrooms (Rs 129 per 85gms), Badam Pak(Rs 225 per 250 gms), and coconut-soaked Chaapat or pancakes (Rs 23 per pancake).
Parsi Dairy Farm, Kalbadevi
On Princess Street reins dairy queen, Parsi Dairy Farm. The milkmen in their unmistakeable blue uniforms bustle around behind the counter, offering customers a taste of everything from Mawa Ni Boi(Rs 200 per boi) – delightful fish-shaped sweet made of mawa, to flavoured kulfis like pista, mango, chocolate (Rs 52 per kulfi). PDF is also the only place to stock white unsalted butter (Rs 110 for 150gms).
Paris Bakery, Marine Lines
The convivial staff at Paris Bakery presses Batasas (Rs 100 for 250gms) and Khari Biscuits (Rs 100 for 250gms) into your hands, coaxing you to try them. The batasas are buttery and speckled with jeera and the flaky khari collapses into your hands. As soon as you take a bite, you’ll know they’re worth the hype.
Paris Bakery 278, Dr. Cawasji Hormusji Street, Navajeevan Wadi, Marine Lines, 2208 6619
R N Kerawalla & Co., Marine Lines
The crowd at Kerawalla may be thin today but its old world charm still attracts many customers. Established in 1887, the store once sold a litany of everything from sapaat (slippers) to agarbattis and silverware. But the sands of time shifted and today, not only does it stack day to day items, but also all manner of food like Dar Ni Pori – fat flat-breads stuffed with sweet lentil mix, (Rs 75 per pori)andKhaman Na Ladoo – sweet, coconut laddoos available on order. (Rs 40).
R N Kerawalla & Co Dr. Cawasji Hormusji Street, Marine Lines: 22061343/ 65767601
Parsi Amelioration Committee (PAC), Tardeo
In bustling Nana Chowk lies tiny PAC (Parsi Amelioration Committee), facing the busy road with determination. All through the year, the counters are heaped with PAC’s unctuous Non-veg Samosas (Rs 15); Crust Chicken Pattice (Rs 30); dense, nutty, spice-laced Kumas Cake (Rs 25) and crumbly biscuity Bhakras (Rs 70/12).
PAC: Shastri Hall, Shop No.3, Ground Floor, opposite Adenwala Bungalow, across Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo : 2386 5868.
Belgaum Ghee Depot, Grant Road
Although everyone flocks to Belgaum Ghee Depot, the store owners clearly hold a soft spot for the Parsis. Come here for the cheap and delicious Kohra (pumpkin) Murabba(Rs 55 for 250gms) and Surti Sutarfeni – sweet, flaky, shredded dough (Rs 80 for 250gms). Sometimes, you may catch a stray piece of paper taped to the glass shelves, advertising the day’s special, Patrel – sautéed rolls made of colocasia leaves for instance, which is very similar to the Gujarati patra.
Belgaum Ghee Depot N Bharucha Marg, Nana Chowk, Grant Rd – 23887746 / 2382 0837
Motilal Masalawala, Grant Road
Motilal Masalawala has been currying favour with Parsis for more than a century. Crammed into the small shop is everything from Parsi Dhansak Masala (Rs 200 for 500gms), Parsi Sambhar Masala (Rs 40 for 100gms) and Parsi Dhana Jeera (Rs 400 for a kg), to Kolah’s Methya Nu Achar – piquant mango pickle (Rs 100), Surti Levro – clove-infused sugar, encrusted in til (Rs 200 for a kg) and Pune ni Biscuit (Rs 240 for a kg).
Dadar Parsee Youths’ Assembly Snacks Centre, Dadar West
Line up at Dadar Parsee Youths’ Assembly Snacks Centre for Malido (Rs 85 for 250gms) – a fudgy confection similar to Bohri malido,. It is a mixture of flour, semolina, milk, nuts and spices, eaten on auspicious occasions and Mawa Ni Ghari (Rs 85 for 250gms) – round, mawa sweetmeat.
Dadar Parsi Youth Assembly, Perviz Hall, 800 Jame Jamshed Road, Parsi Colony, Dadar (West): 2412 9437.
So the next time you have a hankering for Parsi bhonu, turn away from the regulars and try one of these dishes instead.