Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se, which literally means “from the streets of Mumbai,” is the only restaurant in Los Angeles specializing in Mumbai-style street food. Here in this nondescript dining room in a nondescript strip mall in Little India, former software engineer Sailesh Shah and his wife, Shruti, prepare sweet and savory snacks from their hometown, and the results are fantastic.
The completely vegetarian menu lists close to one hundred Maharashtrian delicacies. Taking a cue from Miles Clements’ article in the L.A. Times, The Astronomer and I stuck to the quintessential street food offerings on our visit. Or at least we tried to…
To drink, a tall cup of sweet yet tangy piyush, a cooling beverage made from yogurt, saffron, cardamom, pistachios, and almonds that takes three days to prepare. Every sip was delightful to the nth degree.
Nearly everyone who walks through the door orders the dabeli, a slider of sorts stuffed with potato patties laced with masala (a blend of chilies, cumin, and cinnamon), onions, green grapes, peanuts, and pomegranate seeds in between buttered and toasted buns.
These four-bite wonders were a touch sweet, a lot spicy, surprisingly hearty, and best of all, quite juicy.
For our second dish, we selected the equally popular pav bhaji, a tomato-based vegetable stew redolent of spices and served with toasty “garlic bread.” Mr. Shah, who is an awesomely helpful and hilarious character, prepares the pav bhaji himself each day. This is his baby.
Sopping up an Indian stew with a spongy vehicle was a first for both The Astronomer and me, and we liked it very much.
Even though our game plan was to stick strictly to street food, Mr. Shah insisted that we sample one of the daily specials, an Indo Chinese concoction called Cauli 65. The dish was comprised of deep-fried cauliflower florets slathered in a wickedly spicy chili sauce resembling sambal oelek. Atop it all was shredded cabbage, carrot matchsticks, and a smattering of scallions. Other fusion dishes on the menu include “Mixed Veg Manchurian,” “Eggplant Tofu,” “Fried Rice,” “Chow Mein,” and even “Chopsuey.”
From the classic Mumbai street food offerings to the off-beat Indo Chinese fare, there’s a lot of fun and deliciousness to be had at Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se. Whichever direction you choose to venture in, make sure to wash it all down with a piyush or two.
Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se
17705 Pioneer Boulevard
Artesia, CA 90701
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Three years ago: Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham – Pasadena
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Five years ago: Salcedo Community Market
Six years ago: Bánh Bột Lọc – Clear Shrimp and Pork Dumplings