Goa is on the top of everybody’s list of holiday destinations in India. It’s mine too but not for the usual alcohol soaked and sand-rashed reasons. I go there for the food. Goan food has a special place in my heart. The spicy curries, fresh seafood, sinful pork sausages and now, the only source for real juicy beef. There are so many great restaurants in Goa with brilliant creative chefs serving delicious food for all taste buds and a multitude of cuisines. Plus, really awesome small joints serving rustic home-made cuisine. I recently visited in the monsoons to experience the magic of Goa in the rains. And it did not disappoint. To read the full travelogue click here – A Monsoon Goan Sojourn. Read on for the foodie version!
Famished from the long 460 km drive, I needed some delectable food to soothe my soul. So I hit one of the most popular haunts in South Goa, Fisherman’s Wharf.
Fisherman’s Wharf – This is slightly high end, really quaint restaurant on the banks of the river Sal. You sit at the edge of the river looking out at the view of Cutbona Jetty, watching fishing boats dock and local fishermen doing some late night fishing. The food was fantastic by the way.
Pork Sorpotel – This is a very traditional Goan curry. Pork innards – liver, heart, lung, intestines and blood – in a spicy and tangy vindaloo curry with Goan pao (bread) to soak it up. This dish had been on the top of my list for quite sometime and I jumped at the chance. I was surprised as the curry did not taste funky at all, which i had expected due to the intestines. It was meaty and filling with the perfectly balanced rich vindaloo sauce.
If you like liver/heart in general (which I do tremendously), this is definitely something you should try. There are versions available without the intestines and blood too if you don’t want to go extreme. I am going back for more everytime I’m in Goa!
Grilled Pomfret – We ordered a whole boneless grilled pomfret in butter garlic sauce with a side of grilled vegetables and fries. The fish was extremely well cooked and with the lemony sauce, it tasted divine. The vegetables were tasty too as they were cooked just enough to retain their freshness and crunch. Unfortunately the size of the fish was a bit small and it really wasn’t enough. I attempted to eat the head flesh too and was mostly successful. The meat from the head – cheeks, eye muscles etc – do taste really nice.
Ratatouille Lasagne – Not exactly local, but sometimes you just crave for something cheesy and comforting, especially after the long tiring drive. This vegetarian dish was surprisingly brilliant even for a hard-core carnivore like me. It was flavourful and filling. Herby and cheesy crust with perfectly cooked vegetables and flat pasta in tomato sauce. If the sorpotel satisfied my meat craving, the lasagne made sure I slept like a baby.
Sweet Lime Soda – Perfect. Refreshing and strong. What can go wrong?
Fisherman’s Wharf is definitely a must try restaurant in Goa. The food is excellent and the ambiance, especially at night is extremely charming. The service is good too.
Next day it was time to taste a cracking local snack – pork sausage bread. The best way to experience it is to eat one made at somebody’s home and not a restaurant.
Goan Chauris Pao – At Valanka Fast Food near Colva
This is my new favourite place. The owner serves it right out of his home window in a small village (I think Betalbatim). There are just a couple of plastic tables and a dog for company. But beware, if you go there slightly later in the afternoon, as I did, you may feel a bit unwelcome as you may be disturbing their afternoon siesta. But the service is quick nevertheless.
The dish is basically hot Goan bread (pao), crispy on the outside and soft on the inside stuffed with the most succulent, spicy, tangy and fatty sausage. No cheese, no vegetables, no nonsense! Its perfect! Definitely a must-try for every foodie.
Goan Seafood Feast at Club Mahindra Varca –
As most beach shacks were closed till September and all good restaurants were really far, we had the Goan buffet at the resort and man, I’m happy we did! There was a live grill counter serving masterfully prepared fish (basa, pomfret, mackerel and another sweet river fish) in spicy peri peri sauce. Prawns and squid in racheado sauce and juicy chicken cafreal.
For mains I had amazing Crab Xec Xec, which is whole crab in mildly spicy green chilly and coconut curry. The crab was beautifully juicy and the curry complimented it perfectly. It was not easy getting all the meat from the shell and claws, but the flaky sweet crab meat was well worth the effort!
Pork Vindaloo – This was hands down the best Vindaloo I’ve had till date. It was perfectly spiced, tangy and meaty. The pork was soft and succulent and it melted in the mouth!
Goan Chicken Pulao – Really nice mild rice with lot’s of chicken. Great accompaniment to the amazing curries.
It’s surprising for me too, but I thoroughly enjoyed the buffet Club Mahindra had produced. I went and personally thanked the chef for the great meal we had there.Even if you’re not staying there it’s definitely worth going for the Goan Buffet they have on Tuesday and Saturday evenings. The quality and taste of food is far beyond typical resort buffets we are used to and it was truely authentic Goan food, not just a simplified version.
There were a lot of local Goan dishes I really wanted to try that I missed out on like Goan ras omlette, beef xacuti, beef croquettes and also clams. But that just gives me another reason to go to Goa yet again! A solo trip to this magical place is on the cards soon and I will explore great local cuisine which most travelers just completely miss out on.
Till then don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog and definitely write in the comments below your favourite Goan dishes and favourite restaurants to eat them at! And remember – keep Wandering, keep Driving and keep Eating!