When we think of Mumbai and food, we’re bound to think of vada pav. For a majority of Mumbaikars, vada pav is not just a snack. It also serves as lunch and dinner. The snack’s popularity has now spread to other states as well. But any idea about its history? Who invented it?
The first man who made it was Ashok Vaidya but the story of vada pav is connected with the political party Shiv Sena. In 1966, Bal Thackeray asked his Shiv Sainiks to set-up small businesses. Among his Sainiks, there was one Ashok Vaidya who believed in Thackeray’s ideology. He started selling batata vada outside Western Railway’s Dadar Station. And one day, he just tried to put a batata vada between a pav, that he had borrowed from an omelette stall near-by and served it with a bit of green chilli and red chutney. That’s how the city got its first vada pav.
In 1970, with the help of Shiv Sena, Vaidya got an official vendor license. Gradually, Vaidya made vada pav the official snack for all Shiv Sena meetings and rallies.
If you happen to visit Mumbai’s Dadar station, you will still find Ashok Vada Pav. It is said that here you will still get the same old vada pav taste that Ashok used to make.
Ashok’s vada had the special filling of potato, ginger and garlic paste, chillies, turmeric and some other spices. The besan batter used to make vada needs to be thin in order to give it a slightly crisp texture. Also, the pav used here is ladi pav and not the regular one. They serve vada pav with coriander and mint chutney, tamarind sauce and special dry garlic chutney.