We’ve all had the chance to eat different kinds of hot and cold sandwiches, tasty cheesy burgers, and healthy rolls or wraps. However, there’s something being cooked up throughout India that gives the average dinner roll meaning, besides just being there to sop up your sauce after a meal. A vada pav, also known as vada/wada pao, is a type of vegetarian fast food that is native to the Indian state of Maharashtra in Western India where it long been a street food favorite in Mumbai (previously Bombay).
This tasty fried snack may be incredibly simple to make, but it sure does pack a punch! The pav is a sweetened bread (though if you’re making these at home you can skip the sugar if you like) that we all love, and have long been familiar with as being a dinner roll. Vada is used to describe many different crunchy, fried fritter-type finger foods, and potatoes are mainly used to create the classic representation of the vada pav. Though what happens when you decide to think outside the box and start adding in different fun flavors to make your own creations? You get Goli Vada Pav, cooking up some of the tastiest, original, and satisfying vada pavs all across India.
Goli Vada Pav first opened in 2004 with the intention of having vada pavs ranked alongside other fast-food favorites, such as burgers, pizza, and rolls. Venkatesh Iyer and Shivadas Menon first location was on the suburban streets of Mumbai, and now, 12 years later, they now have 350 locations throughout 90 different cities spread over 21 states in India. When you first take a look at the outside of one of their shops, especially if you’re a tourist or first timer to India, you may just walk by without realizing you’re walking past a gold mine of flavorful fun. Many locations don’t have tables and chairs (but this is quickly changing), and you won’t be having your vada pav served up on fancy plates. It’s just good, old-fashioned, convenient, finger food that you can enjoy while on the go.
To be such a simple dish to create, Goli Vada Pav has certainly does its job of creating unique spice combinations that put a twist on the classic snack. As well as serving up the classic favorites, some of their savory creations include the Aloo Tikki Vada Pav made with the main ingredient potatoes, wheat flour, green peas, and spices; then you have the Makai Palak Vada Pav with corn and spinach, though it’s not that spicy so you may want to grab some hot sauce with it.
A must try is the Paneer Supreme, which is not made with the traditional potatoes but instead, it comes with a fried, soft paneer (cottage cheese) filling with creamy mayonnaise dressing, and it has a nice spicy kick to it. If you really enjoy spicier selections, you’ve got to also try the Schezwan Vada Pav that is smothered in a salty, garlicky, red chili Szchezwan sauce that just might have you ordering more for takeaway!
You can also order a variety of side items that include Alpa-Bites, which are cute letter shaped fried potatoes (like french fries), crispy Hariyali Pops that are like tater-tots filled with green chilies, and also Cheese Ungli, which is very similar to mozzarella sticks.
Vada pavs aren’t the only thing this unique outlet has to offer. You’ll also get some of the best kulfi that tastes just like the ones prepared in a matka ( a type of clay pot that acts as a water cooler). Kulfi is traditional Indian ice-cream that can usually be found in any Indian restaurant found in North America, Europe, Australia, and other parts of Asia. In comparison to ice-cream, kulfi has a distinct taste that comes from caramelizing lactose and sugar when preparing this sweet treat.
However, I must tell you I have had home-made Kulfi right out of the matka, and I put Goli Vada Pav’s kulfi right next to it in terms of taste. Not to mention the incredible varieties that are offered! You can choose from Pista Badam (pistachios and almonds), Kesar Badam (saffron and almonds), Chocolate Kulfi, Coconut Kulfi, Mango Malai Kulfi, Elaichi Special Kulfi (Cardamom), and even Matka Kulfi (that comes in cute little clay pots).
If you’re someone who likes sliders, you’ll develop a love for vada pavs in no time. The prices are extremely low for such a savory snack, costing only 25 INR (0.37 USD) to 50 INR (0.75 USD) per vada pav. If you’re a fan of cheese, you can ask the staff to add a slice to yours for just 15 INR (0.23 USD). Kulfi is also reasonably priced 10 INR (0.15 USD) and 40 INR (0.60 USD) per stick, or pot. Goli Vada Pav has something for everyone, and this is a great place to grab a snack, meet up with friends, or to grab a few vada pavs for takeaway so you can enjoy them in a picnic setting!