Vada pav

Vada pav, alternatively spelt wada pao, (listen) is a vegetarian fast food dish native to the Indian state of Maharashtra. The dish consists of a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun (pav) sliced almost in half through the middle. It is generally accompanied with one or more chutneys and a green chili pepper.[1] Although it originated as an affordable street food in Mumbai, it is now served in food stalls and restaurants across India. It is also called Bombay burger[2] in keeping with its origins and its resemblance in physical form to a burger.[3]

Vada pav
A plate of vada pav with seasoning of red chilli powder and a green chilli.
Alternative namesvada pao, wada pav, wada pao, pao vada, pav vada, pao wada, pav wada, batata wada pav
Place of originIndia
Region or stateMumbai, Maharashtra
Associated cuisineIndian
Created byAshok Vaidya and Sudhakar Mhatre
Main ingredientsDeep-fried fritter made of mashed potato and spices, bread bun

The most famous snack in Mumbai, vada pav is claimed to be a part of the culture of Mumbaikars.[4][5]


Batata vada in Marathi literally means "potato fritter". It is a combination of the word for "potato" (batata) and vada, a type of fried savoury snack. Pav is a derivative of the Portuguese word pão, which means bread.


The most common theory of the vada pav's origin is that it was invented in the erstwhile mill-heartland of Central Mumbai. Ashok Vaidya of Dadar is often credited with starting the first vada pav stall outside Dadar railway station in 1966.[6][7][8]:34 Some sources credit Sudhakar Mhatre who started his business around the same time.[9] One of the earliest kiosks selling vada pav is said to be Khidki Vada Pav, located in Kalyan. It was started in the late 1960s by the Vaze family, who used to hand out vada pavs from a window (Khidki) of their house facing the road.[9]

The carbohydrate-rich snack catered to the cotton mill workers of what was then known as Girangaon. This potato dumpling (batata vada) placed inside a pav was quick to make, cheap (~10-15 paisa in 1971[9][10]), and much convenient over the batata bhaji and chapati combination, which couldn't be eaten in overcrowded local trains.[7][9]

Cultural importance

The closing of textile mills in central Mumbai led to turmoil in the 1970s. Shiv Sena, the homegrown party formed during this transformative time, based itself as a party with Mill workers' interests.[11] The party chief, Balasaheb Thackeray encouraged Marathi people in the 1960s to become entrepreneurs, i.e. start food stalls in ways similar to the South Indians setting up Udupi restaurants.[6][7][12] Shiv Sena attempted to physically and ideologically claim the streets through agitations as well as neighborhood-level events such as Vada pav sammelan (Vada pav jamboree).[8]:28[11] This theme has continued even in the recent years, e.g. the 2009 introduction of Shiv vada pav.[13]

Variations and commercialization

There are over 20,000 stalls selling vada pav in Mumbai.[14] Mumbai alone has many variations of the food based on the locality.[10] Large fast food restaurant chains such as Kunjvihar Jumbo King in Mulund and Goli Vada Pav also primarily serve vada pav.[10][15] Outside of Mumbai, a variant of vada pav is pav vada which is famous in Nashik.

Annually, August 23 is celebrated as World Vada Paav Day.[16]


A boiled potato is mashed and mixed with chopped green chilli and garlic, mustard seeds, and spices (usually asafoetida and turmeric). The mass is then shaped into a ball, dipped into gram flour batter and deep fried. The resultant fritter is served by placing inside a bread bun, accompanied with one or more chutneys and fried green chilli.[5]

See also


  1. "Famous Vada Pav places in Mumbai". The Free Press Journal. 30 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 August 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  2. Bhattacharya, Suryatapa (12 January 2010). "The world's best fast food". The National. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  3. Sankari, Rathina (4 November 2016). "Meet Mumbai's Iconic Veggie Burger". NPR. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  4. Sarma, Ramya. "In Search of Mumbai Vada Pav". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  5. Graves, Helen. "Vada pav sandwich recipe". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  6. Mahadevan, Asha (30 October 2015). "Nearly 50 years since its invention, the story of the vada pav hits the big screen at Jio MAMI". Firstpost. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  7. Shankar, Kartikeya (15 July 2020). "Vada Pav: History of the Popular Mumbai Snack". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  8. Solomon, Harris Scott (May 2011). "Chapter 1. Fast Food Nationalism: Cleaning Mumbai's streets with the vada pav". Life-Sized: Food and the Pathologies of Plenty in Mumbai (PhD). Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University. doi:10.7301/Z0Q23XH9. OCLC 934517131. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  9. Ghangale, Swapnil (23 August 2020). "World Vadapav Day: जन्मापासून लंडनपर्यंत मजल मारण्यापर्यंतची वडापावची कहाणी". Loksatta (in Marathi). Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  10. Thirani, Neha (5 October 2011). "Searching For the World's Best Vada Pav". India Ink. The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  11. Solomon, Harris Scott (4 May 2015). ""THE TASTE NO CHEF CAN GIVE": Processing Street Food in Mumbai". Cultural Anthropology. 30 (1): 65–90. doi:10.14506/ca30.1.05. ISSN 1548-1360. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  12. Doctor, Vikram (17 May 2008). "An attitude to serve: Why Marathi food lost out". The Economic Times. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  13. Pawar, Yogesh (19 June 2009). "Shiv Sena's vada pav strategy". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  14. "वडापाव... बस्स..!". Lokmat (in Marathi). 6 February 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  15. Narasimhan, Anand; Dogra, Aparna Mohan (4 September 2012). "Goli Vada Pav story". The Financial Times. IMD business school. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  16. "World Vada Pav Day 2020: Mumbai's 'fastest fast food' is eaten by many, remembered by a few". Free Press Journal. 23 August 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.