Mumbai Koli Seafood Festivals

It was Rahul and Swati who took me to my first Koli Festival...The VERSOVA KOLI SEAFOOD FESTIVAL.Kolis are the congenial,peaceloving fisherfolk of our city.Every year they hold festivals to display their best fish dishes to Mumbaikars.They dress up in their finest clothes and don their wedding jewelry.They dance on stage to music that they play and leave the thousands that come there enthralled!

I just could not believe my eyes when I saw so many delicacies! Lobster Curry...

Crab Curry

Egg Rolls stuffed with Shrimps/Prawns

They wore jewellery that was traditional and weighed nearly 30 to 40 tolas!

The food was cooked then and there...

Served with a big smile!

V ersova Seafood festival had the biggest lobsters.

Rahul who introduced me to the fest attends it every year with his wife Swati.

There were fish nets above which formed tents underneath which we ate on tables laid out in front of the stalls.

The Kolis are the original inhabitants of the city of Mumbai.They are simple and hardworking.They had done a special course on hygiene and had certificates displayed.

They put up amazing dances on stage.

Swati grabbed Candy Floss after some fish treats.

There were numerous stalls including one with Tandoori pomfret and lobster!

Fresh,delicious and reasonably priced!

One stall even had dried fish.

Left all drooling! Overheard a wife yelling at her hubbie "Tumhi kitti khata"...meaning "how much you eat"!!

So the Versova Koli festival had me hooked!
The Kolins broke into a jig on seeing their regular customers and ofcourse they too joined them! So cute!!

Then I went to the second fish festival in the following month at the instance of Vinit and Rina.This was at Mahul,Chembur.


Vinit,Sanjay and Rohan received Koli costumes and how they danced!

Their lungis had crabs and fishes on them.

The clams were hot and tasty thanks to Koli masala and coconut.

The Koli roe

There were Tandalache Bhakri or Rice rotis to go with it all.

Stuffed Squids were a special feature.

Yes,had everyone in splits.....I danced!

Mahul is a place where you see migratory flamingoes all along the coast.

The final festival I attended was the SHIVAJI PARK KOLI SEAFOOD FESTIVAL organised by the M.N.S in May.There were huge crowds to see fisherfolk who had come from different parts of Mumbai.

The Kolins are so pretty.The younger generation is well educated,speak impeccable English and are in various professions such as fashion designing,hospitality industry,etc.On such days they all come together to celebrate their glorious culture.

Dabelis or Koli burgers were made with Koli masala.The spice mix was available on sale.

Saw a modern day Indian Chinese dish...Chilli Squid....

Fish is good for health when it is steamed,grilled,baked,broiled or made into a gravy.

Spotted a garland made of dried cool is that!!

Need I say more? See you at the next Koli Festival!!


Just feasted on this mouth-watering post of yours, my friend! Kept salivating profusely all the time... Splendidly appetizing pictures... Wish I could participate... Thanks! :-)
Sassy Fork said…
Glad you enjoyed! This festival is on in January,February and then May.
The knife said…
I have always rued the lack of profiling of cultures in india. I think that we have squandered a huge tourist opportunity. This is great. Thanks for telling me about it. We have a date for the next one. I promise that I won't dance
LaTorte said…
Versova's Koli seafood festival is this weekend: Jan 22-24, 2011

A must experience if you love seafood: I went last year and it was fantastic. …. crabs, promfrets, prawns, squid..... ambotic … yumbotic… fishtastic !! I saw aunties from Bandra come with huge tiffins to pack loads of Koli delights for more weekend feasting. ...this year, I am going to be one of those smart ones and take some dhabbas with me.....

You will get a quintessential experience of Mumbai's Koli community: It’s very well organized (resembles a Goa beach experience) with ample seating on long tables to enjoy the food, and ample car parking close by.
Anonymous said…
Hi can u let me know when is the next Koli Food festival. Your pictures are u tempting that I can hardly wait to visit the festival. My id is
Sassy Fork said…
sure....they are usually in Dec/Jan/Feb
Hey, i loved this post and am feeling a little sheepish that i have not managed to go for a single Koli fish fest despite having grown up in Versova and Madh :). Next time I'm in India, this is a must-do.
Sassy Fork said…
am sure you will go wild when you see it,Food Soldier!
Dilshad said…
I don't believe that I stayed in four bungalows area, and never knew about these festivals! Next India visit shall be fish-y for sure!
Sassy Fork said…
be there at the next one Dilshad! :)
Sassy Fork said…
Koli Fest on at Versova 20,21st and 22nd Jan 2011

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