Crawford Market was built in 1869 by Cowasji Jehangir and donated to the city of Bombay. It was designed by the British architect William Emerson and named after the first Municipal Commissioner of Bombay, Arthur Crawford. It was renamed in a patriotic fervour and is now officially Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai.
The friezes at the entrance and the fountain inside were designed by Lockwood Kipling, who was the principal of Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Bombay, curator of the Lahore Museum and of course the father of Rudyard Kipling. Everything in the market is a mess and in complete disrepair. The fountain looks like someone’s home with areas used as a bed, kitchen and place to hang laundry.
Crawford Market sells most goods at wholesale prices; mainly fruit and vegetables, but you also get everything from poultry to toilet paper, imported cheeses, household cleaners and perfumes. There’s a pet section where they sell dogs, cats and birds and they also illegally sell endangered animals. This part of the market is really depressing. I was there to buy fresh yeast from one of the shops that sell baking equipment. I’ve just started a baking class at Sophia College off Warden Road and I’m looking forward to trying the bread recipes at home.
I walked around the market, took lots of bad pictures on my cell phone, soaked in the atmosphere and tried to ignore the dirt and disintegration. I found something I’d never seen before. Little packets of colourful powder mixed with dry vermicelli, tiny black seeds, sultanas (kishmish) and cashew nuts. Falooda. I had been told by a friend to try Falooda at a famous, old restaurant called Badshah. This restaurant is opposite Crawford Market and I was getting late so that will have to be another trip.
Falooda is an adaptation of a Persian dessert Faloodeh that was brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal period. In Delhi we get Kulfi (Indian ice cream) topped with vermicelli noodles, which we call falooda and a little flavoured syrup on it.
Delhi Kulfi and Faooda
I had never had it as a milkshake, which is how it is drunk here in Bombay. It was traditionally a drink made by mixing rose syrup with milk, vermicelli and basil seeds (takmaria/sabza seeds). But, as you can see from the picture, it now comes in lots of flavours.
I bought the strawberry flavour. Should probably have tried the traditional rose flavour but I find rose flavoured drinks and desserts mind numbingly sweet. Maybe I’ll try it at Badshahs when I go back. It’s a very simple recipe – boil it up with a litre of milk and a glass of water for 15 minutes, let it cool and then pop it into the fridge. It was actually really nice. I’m not crazy about milkshake but this wasn’t too sweet and was very refreshing. Loved the colour.
For a great link to getting around Crawford Market –