My short trip to Goa last month saw me not bothering much for the beach shacks’ food and the restaurants’s food (although we did have). Instead, I tried to focus on what was available on the streets. And, those basic places served some authentic stuff with amazing flavours which amused me a lot. I bring to you some of my flavourful encounters on the streets of Goa.
A local cabbie, when asked, told me that a local would have Roti or Pav with Bhaji for breakfast. Or a quick Bonda Pav or Mirchi Vada Pav for breakfast. Luckily, at a short walking distance from my hotel in Candolim, I spotted few hole-in-the-wall types joints which were serving local breakfast. I hopped into an unassuming place which had a small counter which displayed Pav, Samosas and Bondas or Vada in its shelf facing the road. Behind the counter were two tables with about six chairs and a hidden kitchen. I asked this young man for a plate of Vada Pav. In a plastic plate, I was quickly handed over a fresh Vada Pav with coconut chutney. Yes, Coconut Chutney. Vada came fresh out of the kitchen and was instantly served with a very soft fresh Pav. Both the things we’re very basic, mild flavours and pipping hot. The softness of Pav with a crunch of the flavourful Aloo Bonda provided a great texture to the bite and flavours to the palate. This was followed by a glass of Cutting Chai poured from the aluminium kettle. Wow!! A satisfying local breakfast for a cost of just INR 25 !!
On a sunny afternoon, on our way back to the hotel, again saw this small joint in Calangute. Got packed Goan Sausages Fry and Goan Fish Curry Rice for our lunch. Would have preferred to sit there and eat but the post rain sultry heat discouraged me. So, back in the air conditioned comfort of our room, I had my local Goan lunch.
Goan Sausages Fry was a delight for the eyes. Chunks of pork meat done in fiery red masala interspersed with onions and green chillies sat in a takeaway dish. The aroma out of the dish was predominantly high on Smokiness, Chillies ( both dried red and bird eye green), Oil (perhaps of the pork itself) and lots of crumbled meat. The smoky-oily aroma will engulf you instantly which will urge you to take a quick spoonful. A spoonful on the palate and everything hit me instantly- smokiness, super hot chillies and the tasty meat. The onions and capsicum complimented the heat and tried to balance it out but still the heat will instantly bring sweat under your eyes. I kept on sweating out of heat but the flavours didn’t allow me to put it down. The plate of Goan Sausages Fry comes with Goan Bun. A perfect combo to polish off the spicy hot curry with a fluffy bun. A plateful was polished off soon and yet the flavours and the heat lingered on for quite a while.
After this heat, the Goan Fish Curry Rice came in as a handy respite. Steamed rice with super silky fish with a creamy-nutty gravy was a soothing delight to the palate. The gravy was mildly spiced and the soft fish meat blended very well with the steamed rice. Was a great way to wrap up the meal. This small joint had done this well. Both the dishes put together, the total cost was INR 650.
Evening Tea & Snacks
While strolling on a busy street in Panjim, this Aram Cafe caught my attention. At around 730 in the evening, this non-air conditioned place was doing brisk business even when it was quite humid post the rains. I had to step in. A very basic furniture and run of the mill restaurant where you share table with strangers. The young server with a straight face told me that only Mirchi Pav was available out of the whole menu on display. Perhaps, they had run out of everything by that time. The service was super quick. A Mirchi Bhajji with a Pav landed quickly with a super chilled bottle Maaza. The Bhajji was crisp outside with minimal oil. A bite of it realizes the flavour that big Green Chilly which had a filling of mashed potatoes inside. Very flavourful and refreshing. Intermittent sips of chilled Maaza went very well with the punches of mirchi. Even using half a mirchi inside Pav also was a great idea. No chutney or accompaniment. The basic stuff will tickle your taste buds leaving you asking for more.
Then this rustic Cup & Saucer caught my attention. For old times sake, I had to order a ‘Special Tea’. That Cutting Chai was a welcome change after having avoided the dip-dip tea in the hotel for the last three days. Then why not pour it in the saucer and have it in local style. Had to soothe my palate which was burning with the Mirchi. The total cost for all this was just INR 95.
Then, moving further and walking past a joint named Gujarat Lodge, the Dabeli kept on the counter case attracted me. Why not ? The guy at the counter picked up this Pav sort of bread which had a layer of mashed potatoes and peanuts. Applied a layer of butter on the upper inner side of the Pav and grilled it for few seconds. Sprinkled some Bhujia and handed over to me. Aaaaaah !! The super soft Pav, flavourful patty of mashed potatoes interspersed with peanuts and seasoned with butter had a variety of texture and blend of many flavours. Very simple yet very flavourful. Total cost was just INR 30.
Next was a plate of Sev Puri. Six Golgappas were filled with chopped onions, tomato chutney, green chutney, red chutney, seasoned with two types of masalas and then a sprinkling of generous amount of Bhujia before handing over. The series of flavours which are released on the palate are unexplainable. Very basic yet very flavourful. A combo of crisp and soft textures is a refreshing experience. Total cost was just INR 30.
Despite my resolve to not to talk about Shack or Restaurant food in Goa during this trip, I have to share these three which make pretty pictures and a decent eats. Had this Butter Garlic Prawns and Chilli Chicken Dry at Brittos, Baga Beach and then once, on children’s demand had this Veg Noodles at the Fisherman’s Cove in Condolim. Won’t talk about the flavours and the price as they were no where near the street foods I had enjoyed. They are here only for the picture value.
My this visit allowed me to try the basic street food only. Much though I wished to lay my hands on Pork Chilly Fry, Vindaloo, Bafad, Sorpotel and the famous Ross Omelette besides other. Never mind, there is always a next time. What has been your street food experience in Goa, do let me know.