Mention Goa and the world takes a U-turn for everyone. That is the charm of this amazing holiday destination. Walking barefoot on the sand, experiencing the highs of the sea waves, grooving to the music and having the time of life at Goan parties, strolling around the old city and last but definitely not the least, savouring the local cuisine. Goa comes with a feeling, an inexplicable feeling that undoubtedly makes you feel good. The thing about Goan cuisine is that it does not stick to its staple items i.e. fish, coconut, cashew and rice even if it remains to be a significant part of every Goan meal.
With various flavours and spices associated with the dishes here, Goa is an ultimate gastronomic delight. It is influenced by the several empires that come and ruled it leaving behind their personal flavours into their dishes. Hence, if you sit down to eat a Goan curry, you’ll find a bit of Portuguese, Mughal and North Indian flavours. A lot of its taste is also governed by the two communities that mostly inhabit the land, Christians and Hindus. Hence, Goan cuisine is said to have a uniqueness that is unavailable in any other kind of food.
Seafood forms a major part of Goan food which is why vegetarians might often face a bit of a problem. The dishes mostly comprise beef, pork, crab, prawn, lobsters, fish, and oyster. Expect a lot of hot chilli and spices in your Goan meal clubbed with fenni and vinegar. Goans sometimes replace steamed rice with breads. Some dishes to try while in Goa include the authentic Goan Fish Curry, Prawn Curry, Fish Recheado, Pork Vindaloo, Rava Fried Fish, Chicken Cafreal, and Pork Sorpotel. And for the sweet tooth, we have Bebinca and Goan Nevri.
Goa has a number of restaurants that serve authentic meals representing the diversity in their flavours. Some recommended are:
Mum’s Kitchen: Some must tries at this place include the Xacuti, a curry comprising loads of coconut, spices and poppy seeds, balchao, a spicy tomato-chilli curry and chicken cafreal, fried chicken marinated with spices. It is located in Miramar near the TOI office.
Souza Lobo: This is a sea-facing restaurant wherein you must try Crab Xacuti, Prawn Curry Rice and Lobster Thermidor. It is located in Calangute.
Bhatti Village: This is one of a kind of eatery open only for dinner at the owner’s residence. For a fresh home-cooked meal, this is the place to be. It is situated in Nerul.
Palacio do Deao: For an Indo-Portuguese aristocratic experience, this is the place to be. It serves the best Bebinca (a layered sweet dish made out of eggs and coconut milk) in town.
Alternatively, you may also take a trip to the Spice Plantations at Goa where you get to know all about the organic cultivation of spices, betel-nut plucking and processing of cashew followed by fenni distillation. Do not return without trying a Goan thali available there.
If you’re a cooking enthusiast, you can take cooking classes conducted at Siolim House, a heritage house in Bardez.
Savoi Plantation, Ponda, Goa, 403401, Phone: 0832-2340272
Sahakari Spice Farm Post Box No. 31, Ponda Belgaum Highway, Curti, Ponda, Goa. Phone: 0832-2312394
Tropical Spice Plantation House No. A-14, Arla Bazaar Keri, Ponda, Goa, 403401. Phone: 0832-2340329
Siolim House Wadi, Siolim, Goa. Call: +91-9604887740, 0832-2272138, 0832-2272 941