Exploring Mumbai’s Bhel Puri: History, Types and Top 5 Spots
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Among the vast canvas of what can be defined as street food in Mumbai, various dishes from the humble vada pav, the Bombay sandwich and pav bhaji have established themselves as contenders to be the most popular. However, chaat has also entrenched a deep impression on the way street food is consumed in the city and has been lauded for being a convenient and mostly healthy snack. Comprising of uncooked ingredients (save the boiled potato or white peas), snacks like bhel puri have had their fair share of takers for being a light evening snack to those who want something less indulgent.

Believed to have originated in the streets of Mumbai in the late 19th century, bhel puri was created by street vendors who were looking for a quick and affordable snack option to cater to the growing urban migrant population. Initially, bhel puri was a simple snack made with puffed rice or murmura, mixed with chopped onions, tomatoes and a couple of types of chutneys – namely a spicy green one and a sweet one made with tamarind. Over time, it evolved to include a wide range of ingredients to include sev, boiled potatoes, green chilies, chopped raw mango and various spices to make it more complex and flavourful.

This street food offering quickly gained popularity among Mumbaikars and soon became a staple street food item in the city for not just being delicious but also affordable, making it accessible to people from various economic backgrounds. Bhel Puri's popularity also led to regional variations across India. Different regions started adding their own unique twists to the dish. For example, in Kolkata, you can find a similar snack called jhalmuri, which has its own distinct flavour of mustard oil and ingredients like peanuts, etc.

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Apart from being a snack that is touted to be a Mumbai street food classic, bhel puri also holds cultural significance of often being associated with leisurely walks along the beach, eating in large groups and being able to carry it around easily. Unlike the past, bhel puri has also made its way to restaurants around the country and abroad – where the Indian diaspora have created interesting variations of the dish with popcorn and sweet corn kernels. What really makes this cutting edge in every way is that it can be customized and prepared in various ways to suit different tastes and preferences.

As is the case with most other Mumbai street foods, the bhel puri has also been used as a foundation to create many innovative combinations that are enjoyed in the contemporary age. Here are some of the key types of bhel puri commonly found around the city. 

Traditional Bhel Puri

The classic and most common version of bhel puri consists of puffed rice mixed with onions, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, freshly chopped coriander and a medley of sweet and spicy chutneys. Often garnished with sev, spicy friend lentils and salted peanuts, this delicious classic is available in dry and wet variations.

Chana Chaat Bhel

This variation incorporates black gram or white chickpeas into the bhel puri mixture, along with the usual ingredients of puffed rice, onions, tomatoes and chutneys. Apart from providing a protein-rich element and a slightly different texture to the dish, this bhel puri is perfect for weight-watchers who want to enjoy the street food snack.

Pav Bhel

Pav bhel combines the flavors of bhel puri with the concept of a pav (locally baked bread). The murmura bhel mixture is placed inside a pav, creating a flavourful and portable snack that fuses two of Mumbai's iconic snacks – the vada pav and bhel puri.

Also Read:

Bhel Puri And The Many Binge-Worthy Variations Of It Across India

Chinese Bhel

Taking a leaf out of the Chindian cuisine that became popular over the course of the last three decades, the Chinese bhel is exactly what it promises to be – fried noodles tossed with shredded cabbage, a spicy red schezwan sauce and fried bits of Manchurian for some chew. Enjoyed by a younger generation of street food eaters, this bhel has a separate fan base of its own.

Kurkure Bhel

Made with a savoury pre-packaged snack, this crunchy variation of bhel puri was something that the snack brand came up with when it was first launched, as a way of promoting its versatility. Available as a drier version of the classic bhel puri, the kurkure bhel makes for the perfect sharing snack to nibble at while enjoying drinks at local watering holes.

Top 5 Places To Eat Bhel Puri In Mumbai

Elco Pani Puri Center

Elco is a legendary establishment located in the suburbs of Bandra in Mumbai. Known for its wide range of chaat items and Mumbai street food offerings, this celebrity hotspot is also known for its hygienic preparations. The bhel puri available here is said to be flavourful, served in a significant portion and always prepared with fresh ingredients.

Shree Dattaguru Tea & Snacks

The stretch of Girgaum Chowpatty is famous for its beachside street food stalls and Shree Dattaguru Tea & Snacks is one of the popular haunts among many. For the full Mumbai beach day experience, enjoy a bhel puri served in newspaper cones while you soak in the sea breeze and spend a relaxing evening with friends and family.


Badshah is a historic eatery located just off the heart of the bustling Crawford Market, and it's known for its delectable chaat, falooda and pav bhaji. The market area itself offers a unique atmosphere to enjoy your plate of bhel puri, which on request, can be tossed in a delicious chilli-garlic chutney for spice lovers, made in-house at the eatery.

Bholenath Bhel Wala & Chaat

Travel to this top-notch eatery in Vile Parle to get a taste of what it promises – bhel puri and chaat. Known for its impeccable plate of sev puri, the bhel puri available at this establishment uses fewer ingredients than most other places – making a serving of bhel puri with just murmura, onions, tomatoes, chutneys and a unique spice blend.

Gupta Bhelpuri House

This hole-in-the-wall eatery has hungry visitors thronging not just for their bhel puri but also for their fresh and tasty chaat offerings like ragda pattice, masala toast and pani puri, by the hundreds. If you’re a regular visitor of this Malad-based spot, you might even get an extra sukha puri to conclude your snack time!