Its been 3 decades since I am having the sandwich made by this sandwich vendor.
I still remember the first time I had eaten it. I was 12 years old. Now 30 years later as I stand near his stall at the corner of the street I wonder how the sandwich still tastes the same…
I called him kaka as he was older. He had a small box like stand that he stationed on the corner of a street ( Muljee nagar/ Saibaba nagar), in Borivili (W), Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The speed and efficiency with which he would chop the fresh vegetables and arrange them on slices of bread was always a treat to watch. And now though he has aged, and the speed is slightly less, it is still much better than any of us can manage!
Wherever I travelled and resided whether it was Dubai, Bengaluru or Kerala I would never miss visiting his stall when I stopped over at Mumbai. He would give me the extra slice ( bread slice with soft boiled potato slices with a special masala powder) or a big slice of cucumber with the masala sprinkled on it while I waited for him to make the sandwich for me.
This May when I visited him I knew I had to write about the amazing sandwich and the amazing sandwich vendor.
As I stood waiting for him to make the sandwiches for me ( I was getting a few sandwiches packed ) I saw him deftly handling the slices of bread, the vegetable slices…He has two boys who do the work now, yet when I go, he makes a sandwich for me.
He keeps talking to all his customers ( there are too many- some old ones like me- some new) and keeps asking them about home and if all was well. His interaction was constant even while his hand worked deftly on arranging the sandwiches neatly.
The amazing story of the sandwich vendor is that the sandwich tastes the same…3 decades…yet the same taste…
He told me that he and his wife make that special masala at home by roasting and grinding a set of spices in a particular proportion.
The sandwich is very simple to make. I make it quite often. But it never tastes the same!
He uses White bread (Wibs), slices off the edges with a sharp knife and applies butter generously on it. Next he applies the special green coriander chutney. He slices cucumber, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, onions, boiled beetroot. He arranges all these vegetables neatly and keeps another slice of bread on it and cuts it into 6 pieces.
He swipes it on to a small square newspaper cutting topped with a square piece of the bread wrapper which is made of butter paper. He keeps this on a plate and adds a dollop of tomato ketchup and 1 spoonful of that mouth watering coriander chutney and serves it.
He has over the years added a lot of variety of sandwiches. He also makes a toast sandwich using a hand toaster on a stove. For this he makes a tasty potato masala that he applies on the bread. There is great demand for this one as it is served hot and is very spicy and tasty.
He has chilly cheese, paneer and some other varieties. But I love the plain simple vegetable sandwich that I have been eating over three decades now.
By writing this post, I am in a way thanking him for being there in the same place over 30 years, making the same wonderful sandwich at a very reasonable cost and never compromising on the products or the taste.
It takes a lot of conviction to be that stable! I salute him for his consistency…
My kids now aged 16 and 11 love the sandwiches and have made it a compulsory treat each time we go to Mumbai.
Also I would like to mention that every place I have been to, I have ordered sandwiches hoping that I will get to taste a sandwich like Kaka makes. Sadly, I have been badly disappointed.
Yet I am glad, that he is that special person who is a success mainly because of his persistence and perseverance…
Even as I am writing this post, in Bengaluru, I miss Mumbai – no actually- I miss the sandwich 😦
I apologise to the readers who have clicked on the food tags and arrived here. This is not a food blog.
My food express blog- where you can find quick easy recipes!