As India’s largest city, bustling Mumbai covers the entire culinary spectrum, choked full of hawkers and some surprising culinary temples of fine dining.

Mumbai is a sticky city that seethes and heaves and smells of tamarind and exhaust fumes. You can try to understand it, but you never will. It’s just too damn dense and busy.

As the gateway to India, the city formerly known as Bombay consists of some 20 million people, yet it could just as easily be 200 million; perhaps it even is (in a nation of more than 1.1 billion). From the wide, traffic-choked roads to the narrow, bulging alleyways, the streets here burn like hot veins; with traces of grilled onions, charcoaled lamb and burning chutneys mingling in the stifling air.

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David J Constable