Freddy Birdy Shares An Ode To Vada Pav
Image Credit: Freepik. Vada pav, the quintessential Mumbai street snack, served with green chilli.

Freddy Birdy is a social media influencer who is known for his witty Instagram posts. Originally from Mumbai, he is currently based in Delhi and works as a copywriter in Indian advertising. It is evident from Birdy’s Instagram account that he excels at typography and writing snippets. He is also quite the favourite with many Bollywood stars and can be seen interacting with them regularly.

Recently, Freddy posted an ode to vada pav on his Instagram account. The post reads: “If there is one single thing I miss most about Bombay, it is the vada pav. The perfect vada pav is almost impossible to describe. The vada has to be fresh off the fire, its filling of yellowy mashed potatoes coated with a mere hush of besan flour and deep fried a la minute. A fresh soft airy pav must then be torn of a ladi of pav, separated like triplets in a classic Manmohan Desai film, and the vada fitted perfectly into it, like a hand in an Hermes glove, if Hermes made gloves for the middle classes. 

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You bite into the cold, soft pav first, then the hot, crunchy, crispy coating of the vada, then the absolutely marvellous pillowy softness of the spiced, mashed turmeric potatoes, dusting the edges of every bite you take with a dry shengdana chutney and for those brave enough, tiny nibbles of a crisp green chilli. This carb-on-carb fantasy is what Anthony Bourdain called the best thing he ate in India, and who are we to disagree? The vada pav is best eaten in a hurry, to give you that wonderful Bombay buzz, it should be served on a day old newspaper and eaten standing-standing, drooling-drooling, amidst traffic fumes and the sound of railway tracks as a beautiful background score. The kinder, more large-hearted amongst us will pack a few to eat with a lover on the tetrapods at Marine Drive. But they also taste perfectly wonderful eaten just by oneself, all alone.” 

Freddy’s note is not just a love letter to vada pav, but also to the city of Mumbai. It’s also a social commentary, with an emphasis on how vada pav is middle class food. He describes Mumbai’s favourite street snack with flair and enthusiasm, making it clear that it’s synonymous with the city, and his passion for food is evident. The short writeup hints at being aware of how humans are predisposed to sharing their food when they are involved in romantic relationships, and also the practice of solo eating. 

It is believed that vada pav was first created by a Mumbaikar named Ashok Vaidya, who started the first vada pav stall opposite the Dadar train station, in 1966. Ever since its inception, the street snack has been loved by all sections of society. Restaurants across the country have gone on to add it to their menus, making it accessible to those who don’t live in Mumbai (albeit at a higher price). In a 2018 article, BBC called vada pav “The ‘Indian burger’ McDonald’s can’t master”. 

Given vada pav’s popularity, it comes as no surprise that influencers like Freddy Birdy have taken the time to pen their thoughts about it in a prolific manner. We look forward to more food-related posts by the influencer.