Goa Food Guide

You will definitely love Goa Food.

Food is a serious business in Goa. The rich fare available here shows a Portuguese influence and the marked impact of cuisines from various parts of India and abroad. It is this fusion of East and West in Goan cuisine that makes it irresistible to tourists who flock to the state throughout the year.

What makes Goan food unique is the liberal use of fish and coconut.

The staple dish of Goa is fish curry and rice. This is available almost everywhere in Goa, be it in cheap shacks lined up on beaches or in luxurious hotels. Seafood is another big draw and the typical Seafood Platter offered in Goa includes kingfish, pomfrets, sharks, tunas, mackerels, crabs, tiger prawns, lobsters, squids and mussels.

GOA CUISINE

Goan cooking includes authentic ingredients like kokum, dried red chillies, coconut milk, palm vinegar, Goan sausages and prawn balchao. Kokum is a local dried red fruit that gives red colour to most Goan curries. Dried red chilies or peppers are an integral part of fish and meat dishes. Coconut too is an indispensable part of most Goan dishes. Palm vinegar, used as a preservative for meats, is liberally used in Goa’s spicy dishes.

Seafood

Seafood is an important part of the Goan diet. Apart from being rich in proteins, it is also a hit with tourists.

Ambot tik: It is one of the most popular dishes and has a slightly sour curry. The dish is prepared with fish or meat, with fish being the preferred option.

Caldeirada: Mildly flavoured with wine, it is made with fish or prawns. It is cooked into a stew with vegetables.

Reicheado: The fish is slit in the centre and then stuffed with a spicy red sauce following which it is cooked. Usually, mackerel or pomfret is used.

Rissois: Generally, it is served as a snack or a starter. Prawns are fried in pastry shells and are scrumptious.

Meats: Interestingly, nothing is wasted while cooking, whether it is a pig or a coconut. The pig’s belly is used in vindaloos and pork assado, its organs in sorpotel and bones for aad maas. The rest (including fat) is rubbed with masala (spice) and stuffed and hung in the sun to make the famed Goan sausages.

Sorpotel: This is one of Goa’s most famous pork dishes with vinegar and spices. Pork meat is tossed and cooked into a thick and spicy sauce. To this concoction, feni is added to give it that extra zing.

Chouricos: Full of spices and flavours, the pork sausages is delicious. Cubes of pork are tossed in spices. Once cooked, they are hung in the sun and then gradually smoked over a fire. Chouricos is prepared usually in monsoons, when fish is scarce.

Balchao: It is a dish made of either prawns or fish. The dish is cooked after marinating prawns or fish in vinegar, sugar and spices for a day or two.

Cabidela: It is a rich and spicy pork dish.

Xhacuti: It is a delicious, traditional curry. The meat, usually chicken, is cooked in coconut milk. To this, grated coconut is added along with other spices.

Breads: Apart from meat and seafood, there are various traditional Goan breads that you can relish.

Uned: These are small crusty balls that taste best when served fresh from the bakery. They form an ideal alternative to rice while relishing dishes like sorpotel.

Sanna: These are small breads made from rice flour, ground coconut and coconut toddy.

Sweets

For those with a sweet tooth, there are delicious dishes like bebinca, dodol and doce.

Bebinca: It is a delicious coconut pancake, made in layers, by using almost a dozen eggs.

Dodol: Prepared mainly from jaggery, cashew nuts, coconut milk and rice flour, it is a Goan sweet that is traditionally eaten at Christmas.

Doce: Made with chickpeas and coconut, it is tasty.

Piangre: These are small, sweet balls made with Goan palm jaggery.

INDIAN CUISINES

North Indian: Popular North Indian dishes are available in plenty in Goa. The USP of this cuisine lies in the use of traditional spices and a unique system of cooking, perfected over the years.

A typical North Indian fare includes chapatti (flat bread) and dal. Dal is either used as an accompaniment to a curry or eaten with chapattis or rice. For the non-vegetarians, there are a variety of dishes: Chicken Tandoori, Saag Gosht (spinach and meat) and Navratan Korma. For the diehard vegetarians, there is Matar Paneer (peas and cheese in gravy), Aloo Dum (potato curry), Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese), Aloo Choley (diced potatoes with spicy, sour chickpeas), Malai Kofta (cream-based dish), Pulao (flavoured rice), cheese Pav Bhaji and Potato Puri Bhaji.

Punjabi: Among the many Punjabi dishes, Chole Bhature wins hands down among vegetarians, and Butter Chicken is a favourite among those who like meat dishes. Punjabi food, with its tempting aroma, is widely available in Dona Paula and Panaji.

South Indian: Rice-based South Indian cuisine that blends flavours, colours fragrance and taste has many takers here. Among the favourites are: Dosa (paper-thin pancakes made from lentil and rice flour), idli (kind of South Indian rice dumpling), rasam (a South Indian soup prepared with juice of tamarind and tomato, with pepper and other spices) and Pappadams (crispy, deep-fried lentil-flour wafers).

Malvani: Among the dishes worth trying are the scrumptious Malvani Fish Curry and Malvani Chicken.

Gujarati: With its distinctive dishes, pickles and sweets, Gujarati food is a delight. While in Panaji, you can taste the delectable Gujarati thali. Gujarati cuisine is invariably a vegetarian’s delight.

INTERNATIONAL CUISINES

Chinese: Chinese food is popular in Goa. You can find it in small shacks or in expensive hotels. Among the popular Chinese dishes are noodle preparations and non-vegetarian dishes either with garlic, sweet and sour or other Chinese sauces.

Burmese: Authentic Burmese food is available at only one popular celeb joint, Bomra’s.

Thai: Thai Green Curry is good for those who love spicy food. But if you like food to be mildly flavoured, you can sample the Red Curry. To reduce the hot, spicy flavour, Thai food is often served with steamed rice. You can get Thai food in Candolim, Vagator, Sinquerim and Calangute.

Japanese: You can get sushi and Teppanyakis in Pan Asian at Vainguinim Valley Resort. Fiesta in Baga has introduced sushi this year.

Russian: With the rise in the number of Russian tourists visiting Goa every year, a large number of Russian restaurants have opened up here. These are open mostly during the tourist season.

Israeli: The influx of Israeli tourists in Goa has increased appreciably. To cater to them, many Israeli-run restaurants have come up. One good place for Israeli food is Arambol. Shawarmas are available at Club Cubana and Ingo’s Saturday Night Market.

Turkish: Turkish grills, stews and meat dishes are available at Arpora.

Mediterranean: Mezze platters are available at several places. Baba ghanoush, hummus and falafels are available at Miguel Arcanjo at Taj Exotic.

French: The most popular place for French fine dining are Le Restaurant Francais, Le Poisson Range, Le Terrasse and Le Bluebird.

English: English breakfast can be found at many shacks in almost every beach. The quality varies from place to place. Among the fare on offer are: fish and chips, apple pies, steaks, Beef Stroganoff, Shepherd’s Pie, bacon and eggs and sausages. For vegetarians, one can get a breakfast of sandwiches and toasts, cereals and breads and grilled vegetables.

Italian: Pizzas, pastas, lasagnas and ravioli are readily available and popular with tourists.

Mexican: Nachos, tacos and fajitas are popular among tourists.

German: Those who like German food can opt for German bread, cakes and goulash. There are German bakeries in Anjuna.

Greek: Marikaty serves the best souvlaki in Chapora.

OTHER CUISINES

Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences through the centuries, and though the recipes and techniques have changes and evolved over the years, the basic ingredients remain the same. The staple components of typical Goan food are the local products rice, fish and coconut and almost every Goan meal will have a dish comprising them. The people of Goa are gourmet seafood eaters and use prawns, lobsters, crabs, and jumbo pomfrets to make a variety of delicious soups, salads, pickles, curries and fries.

Goa Cuisine - Seafood

A Goan Cuisine values food as much as he does his daily siesta (break). And in his daily meal, seafood always has a pride of place is some form or the other. From fried fish to exotic concoctions like ambot-tik, sea food is usually a must on the menu, except for the occasional break for some religious observance.

Few of the oldest Goan restaurants offer some of the finest cuisine in Goa. You could start off with a plateful of delicious stuffed crabs. Spicy crabmeat is stuffed into the shell of the crab, sealed with a layer of dough and then baked to perfection. Or you could try the prawns stuffed Papads, which are like rolled, fried tacos with a spicy prawn filling. Once youve whetted your appetite, dive into a feast of Portuguese dishes like Fish Caldine (mildly spiced coconut and turmeric fish curry). Seafood Caldeirada (seafood poached in a white wine sauce served with sautéed vegetables).

Apart from local spices, local brews like feni and toddy also form an integral part of the cooking process. So, once youre ready for another round, try the Balchao de Camaro or spicy prawns cooked in a tangy shrimp and feni sauce. Then theres the Peixe Reachado which is a seasonal fish stuffed with a spicy homemade Goan masala and fried. End your meal on a sweet note with Bolo Sans Rival (a sweet cashew nut based cake with a layer of biscuit), which is a unique blend of flavors and textures, thats sure to have you asking for more.

cocktails

Monks were responsible for brewing and distilling distinctive-tasting fenis from the cashew fruit and the coconut palm, which form the base of cocktails of many kinds. Apart from food, if you are looking at exotic Goan cocktails, then they are also available in almost all the restaurants in Goa. The Catamaran, for example is a smooth blend of Vodka, Bacardi, pineapple Juice and lemonade that will go well with an Oriental meal. You could begin your oriental odyssey with Stuffed Crabs, which unlike their Goan counterparts are stuffed with Thai herbs, button mushrooms and carrot. Goenchins Chicken Taipei (chicken sautéed in hot green sauce) and Prawns Taipei (prawns sautéed in Szechwan sauce) are perfect accompaniments to complement your cocktail.

Vegetarian food

The cuisine of Goa has special treats stored for the vegetarians too. You will come across many restaurants in Goa, which serves unusual range of Hindu-Goan specialties. Try the Cashew Green Peas Bhaji (a tangy mixture of cashews, green peas, spices and fresh coconut), Sprouted Moong Ussal (bean sprouts with mustard seeds, green chillies and fresh coconut) and the Alsandachem Tonakh (kidney beans with a spicy Xacuti gravy). You can also try out the range of desserts, but the Tender Coconut Soufflé and Bebinca (a traditional seven-layered coconut and jaggery dessert) will simply capture your taste buds.

Popular Dishes

Pastries: Pastries are almost a part of every common meals as well as occasion and feast in Goa. Christmas and the Ganesh Festival are occasions when they are prepared in all their varieties. Being the land where coconut is abundant it is not surprising that in quite a good number of these sweets coconut milk is used. However, the queen of the delicacies is the "Bebinca". It is made of eggs, pure ghee, flour, coconut milk and sugar. Other Goan pastries would include "Doce", "Cokad", "Dodol", "Bolinhas" and "Jia de Aronhas".

Rice Dishes

Cuisine of Goa, Rice is an important item of Goan diet. One will find it at every table and almost at every meal. Rice is eaten with delicious fish or meat curry, or in the form of "Pulao", and many other ways. A leavened and steamed bread called "Sana", another a round pastry called "Oddo", the steamed South Indian "Dossa" and "Iddli", a great number of sweet dishes made with rice and jaggery etc. are some of the regional preparations of Goa.

Beverages/ Drinks

Goan Food And Drink Goa has few of the dietary restrictions or taboos that apply in their regions of India, both Hindu and Muslim. Here the idea of vegetarianism is probably more equated with poverty than purity, and drinking alcohol is not the shameful activity as it is elsewhere. The Goan Palate relishes meat, especially pork, and all kinds of fresh seafood.

Feni - Goa's "National" Drink

Gently swaying coconut palms and bright red or yellow cashew apples can be found occupying Goa's half landmass under crops and their sap or juice is the source of Goa's popular "national" drink, Feni.

Making Of Feni

Palm Feni is pure but a strong drink ranking with the strongest spirits. It comes from Toddy, which is produced by tapping the sap from the base of the young palm shoots. Growers have to choose between producing Feni or coconuts because once tapped, the young shoots cannot go on to produce nuts, but the decision can be reversed with the next growth of shoots according to market demand.

Unfermented, the Toddy make a nourishing and refreshing drink and when strained and boiled down to crystallising point, it produces palm jaggery, the coarse brown slabs of sugar used in Goan sweet dishes.

Within hours of tapping, the Toddy ferments to about 4% of alcohol. Often, it is drunk soon afterwards, but when distilled, the first gives the more potent Urrack, a favourite drink sold in the local bars.

Types Of Feni

The famous palm Feni is the result of the second distillation. It's name in Goa's local language 'Konkani' means 'froth', a name attributed to its reaction during processing.

A second type of Feni that is even more popular is 'Caju' Feni derived from the cashew apple. The Cashew is the legacy from Portuguese who introduced it to Goa from Brazil. Cashew Feni is usually drunk after the first distillation, but one can also find it double-distilled, flavoured with Ginger, Cumin or Sasparilla to produce a smooth liqueur.

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