Origins of the Vada Pav
Vada Pav the lifeline of a city, residing at the heart of millions of people, food that is loved by the rich as well as the poor. Vada Pav is, in reality, the Soul of Mumbai.
In many ways, Vada Pav proves, that it’s a food that portrays Mumbai. The hot and steaming potato designates the weather of the city, the gram flour crust of the Vada showcases the life of the people living on the edge (crunchy), and the spicy chutney the nature of Mumbaikars filled with life and flavors, and the cold Pav shows the western influence that is diluted in the city that nobody seems to notice just like the oil of the vada is soaked in the Pav.
A simple food crafted by a genius around the late 1960’s (somewhere around 1966-1971) by a person named Ashok Vaidya. It was created at the Dadar station (Mumbai). The was a perfect solution food in the city, it was cheap, hot, fast, healthy, low risk, nutritious starch energy-rich not too greasy fast food. Mumbaikars are always on the move, it seems the city needs at least 30Hrs a day to finish off the work (that too might not be enough). Vada Pav was the perfect solution food, it was the answer to, so many hungry mouths.
The legend drew me to Dadar, Mumbai in search of Narendra Vaidya and Abhijeet Samel who are at positioned still at Dadar. As per the legends, a man in white clothes with the white cap, long mustaches, and short stature crafted a food that runs in the veins and the bellies of the people, the “Vada Pav”. Narendra Vaidya gave a good glimpse down the road around 1966 his father opened a street food stall, soon after he crafted Vada Pav, he completed his BCom. Around 1998 when his father passed away and sine then he took the reigns of his father, first he thought it was temporarily later he was completely immersed in this business, as a ShivSainik by the political belief he is a full-time Vada Pav supplier at the Sena.
The story of the discovery/invention of this combination food has died as a mystery with the passing away of Ashok Vaidya. He brought the three key components Pav (from Portugal), Batata Vada (from Karnataka/Maharashtra), the fiery red Chutney (from North Karnataka/Maharashtra), to one Vada Pav which was more Mumbaikar than any other food around. Bhaji Pav went global, Misal Pav went to be Maharashtra’s heartthrob, but Vada Pav is what Mumbai is.
Thanks to +Akash More who as a translator helped me complete this blog and accompanied me to Dadar with a very short notice.