Ek Kadak Masala Chai!

I think we hear these words almost everyday. Chai has become an inevitable part of every person’s life. It’s the first thing we need at the start of a hectic day and probably the last thing you need on nights when you need to stay up. Chai is the way of life in India. There’s nothing in our country that doesn’t get discussed over a cup of tea—from the latest Bollywood gupshup, to the Indian Cricket Team selection, the newest political agenda and moves, to the whereabouts of the American Prime Minister, from exchanging marriage proposals over ‘ek cup chai’ to cracking the biggest business deal—it can all happen over a cutting masala chai. There’s nothing a cup of hot tea can’t solve, or so it has been believed. We live in a country—’jahan chai pe baatein shuru bhi hoti hai or chai pe hi baatein aage badh ne lagti hai’. Chai is the river in which we drown our sorrows and also celebrate our smaller victories. Chai is an elixir for all emotional adversities that bog us down. To Indians, Tea just doesn’t do it, it’s Chai that hits the right spot.

Ultimately, it’s not a beverage, it’s an emotion—a feeling that we’ve grown to live with and that we’ve learnt to cherish. From the biggest conversation starter in the country to our best friend on rainy days, a cutting chai can do it all!

The History Of Cutting Chai

Tea Preparation (Source: Instagram |@chaloveganchai)
Tea Preparation 

Mumbai is known for it’s cutting chai and bun maska. But let’s see how this combination and the favorite cutting chai came into existence. Mumbai is the city of madness and is always on the go. Hustling, bustling and shining through is a daily routine for Mumbai and the one thing that comes to the rescue is a glass of the perfect cutting chai with a dash of adrak and masala.

Cutting Chai came into existence to meet the growing demands of an energizer to make it through the long days of work. No one had the time to sit and sip on a big cup of chai and make special tea drinking sounds, that’s mainly for the weekends. The urge to hurry up and meet the city’s love for a quick fix, cutting chai was founded to satisfy the craving of a nation of chai lovers and also moderate the intake of the drink by limiting it to half a glass, so you can down a few through the day. A cutting chai is more often than not enjoyed with a side of soft, silky and butter bun maska or the infamous greasy spicy, all time favorite snack of Mumbai—Vada Pav. This is a go-to snack for Mumbaikars and can literally uplift your spirits and prepare you for the long day ahead. We bring to you the ultimate guide to get the perfect cutting chai in the city.

1) Kyani & Co., Dhobi Talao

Kyani & Co. has been Mumbai’s favorite for decades serving tea with bun maska, the right away. Situated near the iconic Metro Cinema in the quaint lanes of Dhobi Talao amongst the many iconic buildings which define vintage Mumbai in the best way possible. Extremely famous for being the film shooting hot-spot and a favorite amongst Bollywood directors to get the real feel of the city. They serve piping hot cutting chai with bun maska that is to die for. Along with this, it is also very famous for its cream rolls, akhuri (anda bhurji) and the fresh watermelon juice,

2) Merwan’s, Grant Road

Situated bang opposite Grant Road station, this age-old cafe is always crowded and the aroma of the kadak, masala chai is so welcoming, you can’t leave without a cup. Popular for its maska pao and chai, this one is all things traditional, vintage with a true blue feel of Bambai Meri Jaan.

3) Jagatram Cycle Chaiwala, Matunga

If you’re in and around Matunga, this one should be your go-to. He sells tea mainly during midnight and is seen on his cycle, selling small cups of refreshing joy. When out for a late night and you’re looking for a quick energy booster to keep you up and alive for the night, you who you should run to save you!

4) Prithvi Cafe, Juhu

Prithvi Cafe is famous for the Kapoor’s and the legacy they hold but the cafe inside this glorious theatre is an absolute winner. They serve all types of food that can cater to the craving of your old school soul or your hyped up millennial heart. But the tea is what makes us want to come again and again. They have a wide range of teas to pick from but we like to stick to classic and call for our kadak masala chai with their signature greasy parathas with dollops of butter. Just don’t think twice about this and get as indulgent as you can.

5) Ashok Patil Chaiwala, Crawford Market

This young boy has been running a chai business in Crawford Market to make ends meet, support his family and pay for his education. He lost his father in the 1992-93 Mumbai blasts and has been serving the best cutting chai in this busy Bombay market. He also runs for the Mumbai Marathon every year and doesn’t miss a single one.

6) Yazdani, Fort

Yazdani is a popular Persian bakery located in one of the many lanes of Fort. Fort holds the vintage Bombay close with the small buildings, The Bombay High Court and the classic aesthetic that makes you want to get lost. Coming back to cutting chai, Yazdani bakery offers the cutting chai with their famous butter cookies and authentic bun maska which will make you float in a sea of creamy butter as you can’t get over the pillowy soft bun. Another special treat that is a must try is their freshly baked, decadent apple pie.

7) Koolar & Co., Matunga

The Koolar and Co. is situated in Matunga and is also a famous spot for several Bollywood movie shoots. This Irani cafe serves the best Irani Chai along with the city’s favourite masala cutting chai along with spicy kheema pao and signature bun maska. This cafe is also a favorite amongst many for Sunday breakfasts, they have so much to offer and amongst the many things, Personally, I am a big fan of the Parsi Ice Cream Soda which is the perfect sweet and fizzy drink to beat the Mumbai heat.

8) Chai Pe Charcha (Multiple Outlets)

Chai pe Charcha is one of the newly opened cafes near Prabhadevi which serves the popular drink with a variety of snacks. They serve hot hot tea in a funky ambience which is quite an attention seeker and will make you want to visit the place again and again.

9) Raju ki Chai (Multiple Outlets)

Raju ki Chai has many outlets across the city. They offer piping hot teas in typical kullhads. They also serve a range of snacks that are absolute favourites. Their Baahubali sandwiches, masala kicchiyas, different types of Maggi and open toasts are lip smackingly delicious and it’s already getting us super duper hungry! Catch y’all on the other side!

To sum it up:

Dear Chai, Kabhie Kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai, ke tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye; ke tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye!
PS: To most of us that get a death stare when we say- ‘we don’t like coffee’. We can’t let that affect us, after all, it’s coming from people who haven’t experienced the warmth that fills your heart when you take your subah ki pehli chai ki chuski!

Follow @missmalinilifestyle on Instagram for more content like this and download the Girl Tribe by MissMalini App to join our Food community.‌‌