In Search of the Perfect Pav Bhaji

On her first trip to Mumbai, we take author and food historian Colleen Taylor Sen on a pav bhaji jaunt to some of the city’s most iconic eateries 

Colleen Taylor Sen’s tryst with Indian food goes back nearly four decades, when she met her husband Ashish Sen at university in Toronto. Like most Bengalis, he was passionate about food, and her mother-in-law, the late Arati Sen, also wrote frequently on the subject for the Bengali magazine Desh. Trips to India in the early ’70s introduced her to its diversity, and she began writing about lesser known regional Indian cuisines for several American and Canadian publications.

“It amazes me how much has changed in India since then. Twenty years ago, you couldn’t find restaurants serving Bengali food and now, there are places serving Bihari, Mizo and Assamese food, which is revolutionary because people are beginning to discover other cuisines,” she says, on the sidelines of Tata Lit Live in Mumbai. Colleen’s first book on the country, Food Culture in India, was published in 2004, and she has since written five more, including the recent Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India, which Brunch columnist Vir Sanghvi also wrote about earlier this year. [READ MORE AT THE HINDUSTAN TIMES…]