Mumbai is a melting pot of cuisines, both regional and international, and the city is simply bursting with wonderful restaurants. With so many migrants in Mumbai, the city caters to everyone, and travellers can enjoy anything from a modest street-side café meal to fine-dining and trendy eateries where patrons rub shoulders with Mumbai's silverscreen stars.
From traditional Tandoori food, kebabs and the delicious and inventive Gujarati cuisine to Mughlai and the highly popular Punjabi cuisine, Mumbai represents every single kind of Indian fare. Dishes such as butter chicken and chicken tikka masala have been exported to the rest of the world, but are still staples on most Indian menus. Indians make wonderful use of vegetables and vegetarians will have no problem finding something to suit them. Seafood from the Konkan coast is also quite famous, and considered to be a local specialty in Mumbai. Visitors should try the local street-snack pani puri, also known as gup chup: a round, hollow bowl made from crisp-fried unleavened bread and filled with a mixture of tamarind, chilli, chaat masala, onion and potatoes. Authentic masala chai is a must while visiting Mumbai; this sweet tea, boiled in a mixture of water, milk and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, might well be one of the abiding memories of India.
The cosmopolitan city of Mumbai is a shopper's paradise. With everything from haute couture to local markets and dinky shops tucked away in side streets, Mumbai is a fabulous place to spend some time and money.
Mahatma Gandhi Road is a great place for fashionistas to go searching for designer brands. Known as 'Fashion Street', travellers can buy brand-label clothing and other wares for a fraction of the price that they would in countries such as the United States. Department stores such as Shopper's Stop and Globus are also common, while Frazer and Haws in Bandra is worth a visit.
Those with a knack for haggling are in luck. All the markets in Mumbai follow this practice, and markets such as Chor Bazaar, Crawford Market, the Silversmith's Bazaar and Dharavi are all great places to hone bargaining skills. The rule of thumb is to start haggling from half the price quoted, and go up from there. Brass, copper and silver items are great to buy in Mumbai, and other popular souvenirs include carved sandalwood boxes, and wooden Buddha or Hindu deity statuettes.
Shops are generally open Monday to Saturday from 10am till 8pm, but markets and street vendors often open earlier. Taxes can be added on to the cost of goods, depending on the item. Tax-free shopping is usually confined to special stores, often located in ports and airports. There is no tax refund system in place in Mumbai.
Many might not anticipate that Mumbai boasts a fabulous nightlife, but this city will not disappoint with its dazzling array of clubs, discos, bars and restaurants all bustling into the early hours. With so many Bollywood stars, millionaires, and high-profile social butterflies around, Mumbai boasts the cream of India's nightlife, with plenty of chic and trendy spots for travellers to enjoy.
Visitors can sip on their favourite drinks in one of Mumbai's rooftop bars overlooking the Arabian Sea, before heading out to a bouncing nightclub to dance the night away. The lively Colaba Causeway is a great place to start, as it has plenty of down-to-earth pubs with zero pretence.
Those looking for somewhere to shake a tail feather can head to Churchgate or Juhu; while Bandra is a very chic area, where style is the order of the day and everyone seems to work really hard at looking good. Visitors can join locals on the dance floor and jam to some bhangra and RnB, or for something completely unique, go wild to some Hindi house hits.
Being the home of Bollywood, visitors to Mumbai should definitely head to a local cinema to take in a movie. Fort and Churchgate areas are the best places to do this. Visitors who make a night out of this will not be disappointed.