Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fah-loo-duh!

- By Deepa Krishnan

I don't get it. This whole craze for falooda, I mean. I walked past the Chowpatty food-stalls one evening, and was amazed at the number of people fighting to get to the falooda stall.

So what's a falooda? It's an icky-sweet, luridly coloured, gooey concoction that you half-drink, half-eat. It's got milk, white rice noodles, ice-cream and what looks like pistachios on top. Every time a spoonful goes down your throat, you feel like you just swallowed a sugar coated tapeworm. Yeewww.


But say what you will, the damn thing is hugely popular. There are falooda stalls all over Chowpatty, doing brisk business every evening. I managed to photograph this stall, before the crowds took over.

As you can see, apart from falooda, they also sell a wide range of equally colourful ice-creams and shakes. But it's the falooda that tops their menu. 'Our falooda is famous, madam', the owner said to me. Sure, yeah, but I'll pass.

The other best-seller at Chowpatty is kulfi, Indian ice-cream at its thickest and creamiest. Kulfi is served in little clay pots, or sometimes sliced, weighed, and served on plates.


Even on a weekday, Chowpatty takes on quite a carnival atmosphere. Families are out to enjoy the evening breeze, there are small ferris wheels, kids run around screaming and yelling, there are balloon sellers and other assorted vendors selling toys.

It's not a bad way to spend an evening. Besides, the sunset over the Arabian Sea is quite lovely.

7 comments:

venkat said...

that makes two of us...I don't get Falooda either, but since people insist that I eat it when I am there, I comply. Then again, I do not have a sweet tooth.

Mark Righter said...

That makes three of us.
In Shantaram, Gregory Roberts goes on so much about a falooda experience he had that i couldn't wait to try it, and I went straight off to the famous falooda place near Crawford Market.
It was only out of consideration for the cafe owners, and by slopping on lots of extra syrup that I could finish it.
But - like you say - I was the one in the minority. The cafe was packed with families, each member picking their own favourite flavour.

Kumudha said...

Wonderful pictures of mumbai, the most vibrant city of India.

I like so many pictures in this blog.

CanisLupus said...

Huh? I hope everyone here is complaining about BAD faloodas, and not falooda itself.

Its a culinary variation of the payasam (the vermicelli variety), and all the "thair saadams" of the world who would lick their arm from the wrist upto the elbow while "eating" payasam, should easily recognize it.

Flavored milk, noodles and toppings. Its actually a Persian "invention" with many countries in Asia (esp Thailand, Vietnam) having their own variations. The cold and flavored milk were attempts to keep the milk as fresh as possible and mask any odor, when refrigeration was unknown to mankind. Noodles for sustenance and takmaria and other condiments were added depending on the financial capability of the host serving falooda.

And to those of you who went to eat falooda at Chowpatty beach, You went looking for crap and it found you!! ;)

Ramamurthy said...

Some more on this very popular summer cooler...

Falooda is a South Asian refreshment drink made by mixing milk, vermicelli, basil seeds (sabja/takmaria), tutti frutti and sugar along with ice cream. The vermicelli used is often made from arrowroot rather than wheat. The most popular flavours of falooda include rose, kesar (saffron), mango, chocolate, and fig.

Falooda is very popular throughout North India, Pakistan and Myanmar (where it is known as pha-loo-da) and is easily available in hotels and on beach stalls. A variant is falooda kulfi, where falooda and kulfi are served together with a syrup. The most common flavour added to falooda is rose, which is taken from the syrup. Some people also use milk to enhance the drink.

The dessert is very similar to the Persian faloodeh and the Thai drink nam manglak, which is made from basil seeds mixed with sugar, water, and rose water. The Iraqi Kurds also have their own version; but made with thicker vermicelli.

Jai said...

you make me feel like booking a ticket over to mumbai right now. I want falooda.

Charumati said...

There are ones where the drink gets cloyingly sweet and there are ones that are pure bliss. The latter one is my favorite drink and there was never a trip to Juhu beach without a falooda at the stall owned by a Mallu(don't remember the name). My search for a decent falooda in US has been very disappointing as all the ones I had were like the one you mentioned in the article. Like Jai, I too want to fly down right now to Mumbai just for sipping on THE falooda