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Chai and Bun Maska

Irani café s and restaurants are places frozen in time. The late 1800s and early 1900s was when these cafés mushroomed across Mumbai, making them a hub of the city’s social evolution. It was a time when the dreams of a million people was at stake — migrant laborers, struggling actors, aspiring professionals, nascent politicians and dreamy students; all regular fixtures at the Irani café s making a meal out of bun maska dipped in Irani chai.

In an Irani cafe, the consumption of milk tea served with small slices of brioche and butter is promoted, popularly known as “Bun Maska”. This combination of Chai & Bun Maska became popular and became the trademark of Iranian cafes along with other bakery items like “khari”biscuits, “mawa” cakes and shrewesberry cookies. Places where all are welcome in an age where castes, genres, religions and nationalities divide. Little by little the Irani Cafes expanded their repertoire: Fish & Chips, Noodles, custard, jelly…

Some establishments lose their souls and today the survivors are no more than the shadow of their descendants. Places for tourists, basically. Luckily for us in Mumbai, some places still remain. If you are passing by Mumbai, we would highly recommend Kyani Bakery or Yazdani bakery for an experience of an era gone by.

 

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