Wheeling Enable: The Fasting & The Foodius!

Come Ramadan and the streets of Mumbai transform into a culinary fair for food lovers. Mohammed Ali Road is one such haunt that every foodie swears by, including our wheelchair-bound expert, Rustom Irani! Read on to know what he has to say about the food and accessibility here

Food and accessibility? 100%

Food and accessibility? 100%

For foodies, Mumbai can surprise and throw opportunities at you that are insatiable and ever-evolving. Any popular food item is bound to find a Chinese offshoot here; deconstructed, cheesy-fied, pizzafied, battered, sauced, chutneyed, grilled, chilled, sweetened, liquified…but never raw coz’ we haven’t figured out shushi hacks, yet!

At no time does a true foodie delight in the Mumbai food scene more than the myriad annual festivities that occur from season to season. Holi, Diwali, Ramadan, Christmas, Baisakhi, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri…all tantalise the fashion and taste-buds of the Mumbaikar.

However, the most variety on offer and the most delectable food options spring up in the nooks and by lanes, the busiest of streets and most colorful of night-spots during these festivities. While a few able-bodied too sometimes feel overwhelmed to set forth and get absorbed in this revelry of foodie delights, I find these to be quite friendly for the wheelchair tribe and other people with disabilities provided we do a little bit of homework before-hand.

Let’s Kick-Off With Ramadan!

While Mahim, Bandra, Colaba, Kurla and other suburbs offer food choices galore, the mecca of purists seeking the best Ramadan food in Mumbai is inarguably Mohammed Ali Road.

Within a five block-radius you will find almost everything that Mughlai cuisine has to offer if not more and at a budget that ensure your wallet and your belly are BFFs!

While parking is extremely challenging, the locals are extremely warm and will help you to disembark from your vehicle to begin your food trek through the streets. Be prepared to roll-with-it, so to speak, as the entire quest takes place in these aromatic and brightly colorful by lanes. Manual wheelchair folk, if you tire easily have someone strong push you. Power-chair folks, charge those batteries before venturing on.

The streets are quite wheelchair-friendly and you don’t require ramps anywhere since most of the vendors and restaurants have outdoor stalls set-up. While it does get very crowded post 8:00 pm, there’s no hostility or laboured maneuvering as vendors and the general public are gracious and on their best behaviour.

Well, you’d be so nice too if you could partake in the food offered. Kebabs of all forms, colors and shapes sizzle over charcoal grills. Huge flat tawa platters serve as playgrounds for rich meaty gravies being mashed with veggies and spices. Fried breads, stuffed fried breads, rolls, cutlets, sandwiches, abound aplenty and those who abstain from meat for reasons that to me are unfathomable, can make a beeline for the stalls that sell assorted dried fruits, nuts, warm desserts like jalebis and malpuas, cool ones like thick saffron phirnis and the ubiquitous faloodas and ice-creams piled with vermicelli sweetness and chia-seed textures.

Not smiling for the camera, smiling because kebabs!

Not smiling for the camera, smiling because kebabs!

During Ramadan even the brick and mortar joints which are usually inaccessible off season, have stalls extending out to the streets and this is what must be taken advantage of to the fullest.

My walk this year began, as it always does with a quick scan of the area to see if any food joints or delicacies are making a debut, which means quick nibbles and samples as I made my way to the tried and trusted favorites.

For quick munching or extended appetiser feasting Jilani Fast Food Corner is my first halt, for the yummiest of meat-egg rolls, stuffed rotis, gravy sandwiches and  various organ meat delicacies. It does get crowded, but the wait is worth it.

The next pit-stop is for my barbeque fix and no one does it quite like Haji Tikka Corner just a few stalls down from Jilani. Skip the tawa food, since Jilani’s taken care of that and order the seekh kebabs, mutton botis, chicken tikkas in assorted colours (all safe and extremely delicious), grab a few warm breads and onions, dunk the combos in fresh chutney and achieve food nirvana of the smoky kind!

Hello there kebabs!

Hello there yummy-looking-amazing-tasting kebabs!

Some much needed break is the next order of business, which implies walking a slightly longer route to MS Ali Road and drooling over more goodies and taking mental notes of foods to pack and take home to cherish the memories of course! There are extremely good deals to be found in dry-fruits, nuts and packaged sweets, so go crazy.

What to buy and what not to buy, that's the question

What to buy and what not to buy, that’s the question

Having burnt off some fuel and just in time for the major event I wheel myself back to the main dinner venue, Surti 12 Handi. No quickly prepped meals on offer here, but painstakingly laboured, spiced, cut, diced, simmered, ladled and served red-meats cooked for hours at end in various pots and then put together on plates and served steaming hot garnished with just the perfect amount of cilantro and crisp golden-fried onion. Trotters, tail, rump meat…cuts that usually end up as food-stock is given the royal treatment, wedded with assorted lentils. To taste them with fresh loaves of bread or naan is pure ecstasy!

Surti 12 Handi aka a party for my taste buds

Surti 12 Handi aka a party for my taste buds

Finally, yes, yes, I said finally, one can’t help but indulge in the desserts on offer from the dessert duo across from each other Taj Ice-cream and Tawakkal Sweets. While the former boasts hand-made ice-creams in all the flavors imaginable (kulfis being my favorite), Tawakkal is the place for your halwa, malai and phirni fix. Do as I do, chase down the cold desserts with a hot one, you know, to protect your throat.

No one ever refuses a firni

No one ever refuses a firni

While there’s no real excuse for any disabled person to miss out on this food adventure, the only possible excuse could probably result from you ignoring my advice and having already eaten well earlier in the day. That or the tricky monsoon playing a bit of a dampener. So, fast before enjoying that Ramadan food walk and wear a raincoat. Till our next food walk, food thoughts, food words and food dreams.

Rustom’s Food Trail

#1 Jilani Fast Food Corner

96, Shop no 6,Sana Manzil,Pakmodia Street, Khera Tank, Ajmer, Kumbharwada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400009

#2 Haji Tikka Corner

78, Khara Tank Rd, Ajmer, Kumbharwada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400003

#3 Surti 12 Handi

Saifee Jubilee St, Kumbharwada, 400003, 60, 2nd Ln, Ajmer, Kumbharwada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400003

#4 Taj Icecream

Shop No. 7, 36 Khara Tank Road, Kumbharwada, Ajmer, Kumbharwada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400003

#5 Tawakkal Sweets

26/28, Khara Tank Road, Bhori moholla, Bhendi bazaar, Ajmer, Kumbharwada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400003

If just like Rustom, good food makes you happy then Mumbai is where you should be during Ramadan! Enable Travel aims at making travelling accessible for all! Visit  visit enabletravel.com or call 1800 266 8002

Book A Package Now
Rustom Irani

Founder and Creative Head of MoniePlant Productions, Rustom Irani was confined to a wheelchair after a motorbike accident at age nine. Despite this disadvantage, he has travelled across four continents and believes that a vacation is something to look forward to rather than something that you need to avoid. In keeping with this spirit, Rustom is dedicated to offering solutions and making travel more accessible for disabled travellers.

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