Bade miya, here I go again, my my, how can I resist you? The song hummed in my head as I rushed from work to home to catch my Meru. 5:15, my Nokia phone informed me, as we crossed the Sea Link on my way to South Mumbai. I was on my way to the Regal theater for the Mumbai by Night Tour. But that was still at seven. Maybe, just maybe I could catch a bite at the iconic Bade Miya, a street side stall in Colaba, known for its kebabs. A South Mumbai institution.

“Do you know where Bade Miya is?” I asked the cabbie.

“Behind the Taj,” he replied as he pressed on the accelerator and the robotic woman voice in his cab chanted, “You are going over the speed limit. Slow down.”

Please please please, I hope we make it. We were now stuck in front of the Haji Ali Shrine, inching our way to the beautiful Breach Candy, with its neoclassic architecture. 5:45, my phone clock tells me. Yes, we’ll make it! We’ll scrape through this Mumbai traffic!

I squealed as the cabbie dropped me off and sucked in the charcoal-smoke air. Bade Miya, here I go again, my my, how can I resist you?

An English-speaking vendor tapped me on the shoulder. “What would you like to eat?”

My eyes ogled the full chicken breasts with bones on the skewers. “What’s that one? Which is your bestseller?” I asked in the same breath.

“Chicken tangdi kebab. One hundred thirty rupees.”

“I’m in!” Oh the charcoal smell, the smog, Mumbai I love you! And yes, of course I was starving. I usually eat at five pm.

Chicken seekh kebab

“Take out?”

“No, I’ll eat here.”

He led me to a corner where there were two British tourists, who looked Indian, but it was there first time in India. And sitting in front of me were a young UK couple who were also tourists. We ended up chatting about the local train and places to visit in Mumbai, when my order arrived.

“Waiter, do you have a fork?” He ignored my high maintenance request and handed me a spoon. I took the chicken breasts in my hands. Bite. Chew. Juice. Bade Miya. My my, how can I resist you? I don’t like spice, but all of sudden I fell in love with spice, as I chewed and my nose dripped. Spicy, tangy, juicy, charcoaly. Bade Miya’s tangdi is one of the best kebabs I’ve tasted!

The waiter also slapped this concoction on my table–

I don’t like eating raw onions because it gives me bad breath but I couldn’t resist trying this mix of onions, lemon, chutney and something else. And again, I think I fell in love with spice. This salad of sorts complimented the saltiness of the chicken, and it was spicy, tangy, oniony, savory. It was absolutely delish and worth the bad breath!

The only hitch to my meal was the chicken had blood on its bones so to avoid bacteria, I stayed away from the meat near those bones.

I looked at my phone watch. 6:30 Perhaps I still have time to find a clean bathroom and take photos in Colaba.

Bade Miya just how much I’ve missed you. Yes, I’ve been broken-hearted, blued since the day we parted, why why did I ever let you go? Bade Miya, now I really know, I could never let you go.

Matheran, first stop on my bucket list, hill station of horses and rust dust.

It was my birthday last Saturday. To celebrate the day, as well as my last five months in Mumbai, K, N, C and I drove up to Matheran. On our way, C our navigator and guide (and what a knowledgeable guide he was!), recommended that our fist pit stop be at Lucky’s Korner, an outdoor restaurant near Karjat.

The food and service were heavenly! Here are some of our mouthwatering orders–

Reshmi kebab. Soft, juicy, tangy. It was a perfect kebab!

The garlic naan went very well with the kebabs. They reminded me of yummy thin crust garlic pizzas!

My two signature drinks--lemon juice and chai with cardamom, ginger and milk. I'll definitely miss the Indian lemons and chai, which I somehow can't replicate, when I leave India.

The food was very reasonably priced, around 150 to 250 rupees per main course, and the restaurant was clean, a must for me.

The service unexpectedly rivaled fine dine restaurants! The waiters were very attentive. They changed our plates as needed, and they were enthusiastic. They genuinely seemed to enjoy serving their customers. Our head waiter, gave us excellent recommendations for dishes and was excited to show off Lucky’s renowned tandoor oven.

This is a tandoor oven. It's a hole dug into a counter and it's where many breads and chicken are baked. It's what gives chicken tandoori, kebabs and rotis a distinct smokey taste that is difficult to replicate in other ovens.

All in all, it was a very memorable meal. Not just because of the food and service, but also because of good company! Nothing beats traveling with easy going people who know their way around and are excited to share and explore!

C, our navigator and K, our first time long distance driver! Good job, K!

I’ll share more about the hikes in Matheran in future posts.

Do you have any travel stories that you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, if you would like to visit Lucky’s Korner, you can call them at–

Last Sunday was a perfect Sunday again. I had a chance encounter in the Goregaon East train station, and I was very blessed to hear God’s message shared through Pastor Conrad. To cap it off, I met two Pinays in church–Arlene and Annabelle.

It was nice to have a little piece of home in a strange land, see warm smiles that reach twinkly eyes, and listen to our sing song accents with Tagalog words interspersed with English, a singsong accent that soothes the heart and warms the soul, and gently pulls me back to my archipelago, with its salt breeze air and the rumbling murmurs of jeepneys.

Outside the St. Andrew's Church where we have service. From left to right: me, Lynette, Pastor Kevin, Annabelle and Arlene.

I was eager to share a little piece of Mumbai with Arlene and Annabelle. Whenever I have Pinoys visit me, I take them on my personal Mumbai darshan, i.e. a Mumbai tour. But perhaps I’ll save those travel stories for another time. One of my Mumbai darshan stops is Delhi Darbar, which is a five minute walk from St. Andrew’s in Colaba.

Dehli Darbar serves authentic Mughlai cuisine. Unfortunately, I am not an Indian food expert. I was just telling my friend, K, yesterday that whatever Indian food I liked before coming to live in India, is still the same food that I like. So much for food exploration!

Arlene, Annabelle and I started off our meal with masala papad. The roasted papad is made from ground lentils. It is salty and a healthy alternative to chips and salsa.

On this Sunday, their chicken tandoori was a bit dry but it is usually very good. It’s chicken that’s marinated in spices and baked in a tandoor oven. This chicken tandoori comes with tomatoes, coriander and spices on the side, much like the masala on top of our papad.

We ate our chicken with vegetable biryani. The top of the pot is full of rice but at the bottom they put something moist and slightly spicy. It is very delicious.

We ended our meal with my favorite Indian dessert–kulfi! It is ice cream made from condensed milk and cardamom. It tastes exactly like a Filipino sweet called pastillas de leche in ice cream form. It was a literal melt in your mouth dessert!

I was about to pay for the meal when Annabelle grabbed my wallet and wouldn’t return it to me. Arlene and her insisted on paying for it. Again, another Pinoy trait 🙂

I dropped them off at the corner of Colaba, where they would continue their city trek and shop for trinkets to give away to relatives and friends back home. We hugged and said our goodbyes outside the junk jewelry shop and I faded into the sea of tourists.

Thank you Arlene and Annabelle, for a wonderful Sunday! Hope you are enjoying the rest of your stay in India! Post photos!

It’s been quite some time since I featured a healthy eat.

This is grilled garlic chicken in balsamic with Alfez Tahini dressing on top of lettuce. I sprinkled some green olives after taking the photo. Oooohlala! It was delicious!

In Manila, I had neighbors who spat on the floor. I had neighbors who littered the garage with fish bones. And I had a neighbors who punctured my car tires with nails propped up on rubber slippers.

So imagine my delight when I met Kiiran! 🙂

I'm so blessed to have a neighbor like her!

Kiiran is God-sent! When I first arrived in Mumbai, she cooked some ultra-healthy Rajasthani meals for me (she’s a nutritionist by profession) and took it upon herself to introduce me to a house-cleaner who would almost daily wipe away the thick film of Goregaon East dust on my floors. Kiiran also drove me to the Gokuldham market to help me buy cooking utensils and rags.

Imagine yourself in a strange country where you can’t speak the language. Kiiran was one of the people who showed me the ins and outs of my neighborhood.

Today we carved time to spend a much awaited lunch together. We headed to the Copper Chimney at the Oberoi Mall to have a melt-in-your-mouth meal!

The Copper Chimney is a Punjabi restaurant with waiters who are friendly and knowledgeable about the restaurant’s menu. Their menu has a selection of meats, kebabs and vegetables. The interior is elegant, modern with distinct Indian touches, and comfortable. The average prices of the food range from 200 to 500 rupees. My only complaint is that they didn’t have chai, something I always crave for when I’m in an Indian restaurant.

This is what we had for lunch–

Murgh Afghani, naan, paneer and mushroom

Melt in your mouth paneer. I'll definitely go back to Copper Chimney just for this!

It was a melt-in-your-mouth lunch! The murgh afghani chicken was juicy and the paneer was soft, cheesy. Perfect.

Thank you, Kiiran, for a wonderful lunch! But more than that, thank you for being a wonderful neighbor! 🙂

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