I can proudly call myself a Bambaiwali given that 1) I studied Marathi till class 4 and even passed 8 painful written exams and 2) I was born there and have lived in that very Andheri house for 20 years now. And hence, I believe that I am well-versed in the creature called 'Bombay Food Slang' that is the tourist's key to culinary happiness.

Owing to the fact that Bombay speaks a weirdly wonderful tongue that is not uncommon and strange, we bring to you a definitive list of words so all you folks can fake it till you make it!

1. Bombay Duck

A seafood favourite that is part of every Bombay cook's repertoire, an item that dominates every Sunday barbeque is, in fact, a gross misnomer.

Bombay "Duck" contains no duck at all, it is in all rights an eelfish that when marinated in turmeric, lemon juice and garlic transforms into a fish fry that even the Bengalis envy. When transported by the Bombay mail, this dried fish was infamous for its odour and 'dak' being the Hindi word for mail, soon translated into duck. This name caught on because its native name Bombil or Bamaloh was too hard for the British to pronounce. 

Whatever the name, the secret to its crispy goodness is in the rice flour coating. Cook this recipe (and learn more about its legacy) and impress your local colleagues with this authentic favourite.

2. Baida-Pav

Kartik Sharma

For all those who think I've misspelt maida, the word above happens to mean anda or egg in my local language. Found basically on every street, baida-pav/anda-pav/bhurji-pav is Bombay's answer to ultimate comfort food. The perfect hangover cure that incidentally makes a great midnight snack, it is just as popular as its better-known cousins vada-pav and pav-bhaji.

Take my advice and head over to Khurshid Pav Bhaaji for some spectacular egg-fare the next time you visit Mithibhai.

3. Pavva & Khamba

Sarthak Kathuria

What people in Delhi call a "Quarter of Vodka" is essentially called pavva in Marathi. Probably derived from 'pav' meaning 250 measure, the word paava is generally used for a 250 ml bottle of country liquor.

Khamba, on the other hand, means a full bottle of liquor. As opposed to “Pavva”, “Khamba” is not necessarily country alcohol. Yup, Bombay names its liquor appropriations weirdly too. 

4. Kothmeel

Arushi Yadav

Probably my favourite of the lot, this zingy (often soap-like) household herb goes by the name Dhaniya or Coriander in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the Delhi subziwallas do not appreciate this version, however, score extra masala (which is essentially free dhaniya and hari mirch) with your Bombay bhaajiwala the next time you go vegetable shopping. You can thank me later!

5. Kaanda-Batata

Anahita Sahu

And with kothmeel, commences my bhaaji lesson. First popularised by Nana Patekar in Welcome, most people now know that kaanda=onion and batata=aloo. So, the next time you visit an Irani restaurant and you see Mutton-Batata stew on the menu, don't fret, those 'weird animal parts' are in reality golden chunks of potato that I guarantee will melt in your mouth. Also, bhaaji=vegetables.

6. Kakdi

Arushi Yadav

Simply put: Kheera = Cucumber for you, Kakdi = Cucumber for me. 

7. Doodhi

The last on the bhaaji list is doodhi, better known as lauki or bottle gourd in the north. A Gujarati word, this healthy vegetable has a seriously weird name. Period.

8. Singdaana/Shengdaana

Karan Kapoor

This nut is the soul of Lohri and makes the meanest chutney you've ever tasted - the humble peanut a.k.a moongphali. Honestly, I have no idea why we call it singdaana, but I promise you that this recipe for Shengdaana Garlic Chutney is what you have been waiting your entire life for!

9. Farsan

If you look closely, most bakeries in Bombay are followed by the words, "Sweets and Farsan". Now, what is Farsan you ask - while it closely resembles the khitaab of Namkeen, Farsan is an umbrella term for all things salty and snacky. So, whether it is the famous Sev Misal, Jali Wafers, Patra, Dhokla, Bhakarwadi, Chakli, Bombay Mix or even Khakra, these farsan are the prized possessions of Bombay bakers. In fact, farsan is an important part of Gujarati, Sindhi and Rajasthani cuisines, often made on special occasions or evening tea delights. 

My go-to place for Masala Jali wafers is Camy Wafers, a stellar bakery with multiple joints all over the city. 

10. Bombay Sandwich

Deconstructed, this popular street food grab is a Wibs all-white bread toastie, slathered with generous amounts of green chutney and Amul butter and layered with vegetables of your choice. The typical ones include capsicum, kanda, tomato and batata- all thinly sliced and piled high. Grab the best of its kind at Anand Stall, with a mug full of fresh mausambi juice, of course.

11. Misal

You've all heard of the breakfast Misal-Pav, however, few know that this dish is Bombay's own unique twist on sprouts or sprouted dal - a healthy pulse often shoved down on the throats of little children by their nurturing mothers all across India.

The icing on the cake is definitely the thick besan sev and kothmeel+kaanda theeka tadka that hits the misal before it reaches your table. With pillows of hot, soft, utterly-buttery pav surrounding the vati - I assure you that you will be left wanting more.

12. Tapris & Cutting Chai

Anirudh Krishnan

Bombay has given her own meaning to the word Tapri - a shanty tea stall strategically places at the corner of a street, (EVERY STREET) outside college campuses, near offices and outside railway stations. There are several ways of describing a tapri but what is it that makes a tapri, well a tapri, is the cutting chai that the chaiwallah doles out from insanely large kettles, day in and day out.

Cutting chai found on the streets of Bombay is a far cry from its kind found in the cafes of Delhi. As opposed to being kadak adrak chai, it is a strong and paradoxically sweet cup of creamy, boiling tea served in tiny glass tumblers. The name owes to the fact that it is a half a serving of tea, reaching only the halfway mark on the iconic Irani glass.

Mostly, the tapri is equipped with a jar of khari biscuits, the perfect accompaniment. If you get lucky, some tapris even have cream rolls that melt the instant they touch your tongue. Yes, Bombay is the chai lovers' paradise.

What's best about this city is that the local language and endless glasses of cutting chai tie the people together- cutting across class, creed and gender. Afterall, it is the city where dreams come true!

Fun Fact: If someone screams Khajur in Bombay, please assume the worst, for, in this strange city, khajur does not equal to the category of dry fruits.

An accurate picture of everytime a local hears somebody say Mumbai.