Versova Koli Festival 2013:Spirit Of Mumbai
Versova Koli Seafood Festival is held once a year in January.It is the mother of all seafood festivals...huge variety of jumbo sized seafood cooked in different styles.I first visited the Vesava/Versova Seafood Festival in 2010 and was blown out of my mind.This year,it was bigger and better.
Mahul(Chembur) and Mahim have their own annual Koli festivals.Just a few days ago,I attended the BMW Guggenheim fish event at Mahim and got to hear Kolis speak about their lifestyle and a marine biologist give his opinion on fishing
As always there were fishnets hanging overhead.There were a larger number of stalls (more than 50) with enough seating area.I saw that this time around, more people were eating there rather than ordering a takeaway.Each stall served food and beverages
We tried all kinds of Koli dishes and had the most succulent Tandoori Rawas.Yeah,I know that's not typical Koli style but that's what Mumbai is about...an amalgamation of cultures! That's why you will see Prawn Biryani and Prawn Frankie at the festival along with Koli fish curries
Went with my cousin Archana and withstood an hour and half in traffic but it was worth it.We took a wrong turn and drove through the tiny lanes of the fishing village.and got to see how the fisherfolk live.There was a huge parking lot by the sea next to the fest and that was a relief.
The place was teeming with people but there was no pushing and jostling.We reached at half past eight. Some of my friends had come all the way from Colaba.I bumped into the lovely Maria Gorreti,who was a VJ and now runs a food show,is a great chef,writes a food blog and has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro!
While we ate,we watched dance performances on stage.I was thrilled to see "Mee Hai Koli"dance ,having danced to it,some time ago at Mahul.Watch the song "Oh Nakhwa Botin Phirwal Ka" by clicking here
Koli food is sweeter than Malvani food and has less coconut except in their clam dishes.There were crabs,lobsters,prawns,king fish,pomfret,squid and rawas here
Rice Bhakri is their staple and available at every stall
The biggest and freshest fish were on display!
Stalls are run by families at the festival.When I see restaurants advertise about their seafood festivals,I know they can be no match to this!
For dessert,there were Stuffed Bananas,as you see above!
Everyone was dressed in their finery
What caught my eye was the takeaway style Sol Kadi,a delectable concotion of Kokam and coconut milk.....the influence of current day coffee chains? Cute!!
What an event! The traditional Koli people,first inhabitants from Mumbai, sharing their culture... with people from different communities from all over India (and abroad) and of all ages and socio economic strata enthralling in it....now that's what I call the spirit of Mumbai! You'll see the same spirit at the Mumbai Marathon that's on today...