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Goa Restaurants serving authentic Goan cuisine; 10 must try Goan dishes
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

By Sudha Mathew

Western India’s small wonder Goa is replete with surprises; the natural wonders of the state including the long stretches of pristine beaches, the glimmering waters and rolling greens fill up our senses thoroughly. To further amplify the effect of nature’s bounty, the state also offers a never ending array of epicurean delights.

It is a no brainer that Goa is a veritable heaven for the sea food lover. When you live so close to the sea and its treasury, you are blessed with the freshest crop of prawns and fishes every day. Obviously the seafood fare is the best thing on Goan menus. But with the Portuguese influence on Goan cuisine, meat dishes are not laggards in the fight for culinary stardom.

 

(1) Must try Goan dish: Ambot Tik

This humble fish curry of the land is known for its zingy tart flavours. A medley of spices, coconut milk, tamarind juice, fishes and the petals of kokum solam (garcinia indica), together brings about this spiced up local favourite.

Spice meter: Very hot.

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Ritz Classic, Panjim

 

(2) Must try Goan dish:Prawn Balchao

A contribution of the Portuguese inhabitants of the land, Prawn Balchao is a big hit with both the locals and the visitors. The thick, ruddy sauce is a tangy accompaniment to numerous meals and can be preserved over time to spice up boring meals. This curry is reminiscent of the best prawn pickle you have ever had and is a must have when in the region.

Spice meter: Very hot.

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Buy packaged Prawn Balchao in any of the supermarkets in Goa.

Prawn Caldine Curry

 

(3) Must try Goan dish: Prawn Caldine Curry

A break from the heavy spiced dishes of Goa, the caldine curry is a silky smooth concoction, made with fried prawns and coconut milk, served up with a bed of white fluffy rice. Vegetable caldine curry sometimes made with okra or mushrooms is also delicious. Vegetable caldine can also be a vegan option.

Spice meter: Low to medium hot, flavorful.

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Viva Panjim, Panjim

Fried Seafood Platter

 

(4) Must try Goan dish: Coastal Fried fishes

An absolute must have at any coastal area is a fresh fried native varity fish. Goa offers you a large spread, marinated in different spice pastes and fried to your personal specification. The spice coated, mildly fried coastal fishes served up with a side of fluffy rice are perfect for any day, rain or shine with a bottle of beer to wash it all down.

Spice meter: Mostly customizable. Rava fish fry and Tandoori fish are usually milder.

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Bhatti Village, Nerul or Anand Bar, Panjim

 

Goan Pork Vindaloo

Image Courtesy: Timescity, Fullcricle

(5) Must try Goan dish: Pork Vindaloo

Probably the most known of all Goan dishes, the pork vindaloo is a staple item on the tourist’s food guide. The succulent chunks of pork steamed in the spicy, garlic and jaggery based gravy served with plain old boiled rice, is a complete meal for lunch, dinner or any occasion.

Spice meter: Very hot. In fact any dish with ‘vindaloo’ is going to be hot and spicy. You may not know it in the first bite, but the heat will hit you from nowhere. If you are not very tolerant to Indian spices, go slow with this dish.

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Hotel Venite, Panjim

 

(6) Must try Goan dish: Sorpotel

Derived from Brazil’s sarapatel that itself was originally inspired by the Portuguese dish Sarrabulho, this dish is usually for special occasions, reserved for Christmas and feast days. Given its labour intensive nature, it is a stroke of luck if you can chance across this beauty, especially at a local home. Another special feature of the Sorpotel is that, like the Balchao, even this can be bottled up and preserved for long periods.

Spice meter: Medium to Hot

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Bhatti Village, Nerul

 

(7) Must try Goan dish: Chouricos

This is a personal favourite from the land. Initially developed and relied upon for those long monsoon months when fish supply shrinks up, Chouricos are spicy pork sausages which owe their origins to the Portuguese culture once thriving in the region. Essentially salted chunks of pork sun dried and slow roasted over the fire, these special sausages go well with anything, be it bread or rice. A special side dish made by shallow frying diced up chouricos with caramelized onions and garlic is the perfect comfort food on cold, rainy days.

Spice meter: Medium

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Mum’s Kitchen, Panjim

 

(8) Must try Goan dish: Mutton Xacuti

Goan dishes lack their heart without the play of spices in them so it is natural that most of their must haves are usually tangy, zingy, sour or all combined. The Mutton Xacuti is another such popular dish; a pungent meat curry tempered with a special spice blend and served up with pilaf or plain rice, and a meat lover’s delight. Mushroom Xacuti is the vegetarian alternative, also a vegan option.

Spice meter: Medium to Hot

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Bhatti Village, Nerul

(9) Must try Goan dish: Chicken Cafrael

Completing the trifecta of meat-must-haves, Chicken Cafrael is Goa’s own grilled chicken in a green coriander and whole spices based sauce. If you want a break from the heavy, coconut milk laden gravy dishes, then the Chicken Cafrael served with a side of fresh cut salad is the go-to dish for you. Pair it with a fresh baked poi to mop up the sauce.

Spice meter: Hot

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Florentine’s, CHOGM Road, Saligao

(10) Must try Goan dish: Bebinca

One of the best dessert dishes of all times, Bebinca can hold its own even against the best French pastry or English custard. This layered pudding is coconut milk based and is enjoyed by the rich and the humble. Not made very often because of its laborious process and the quantity of ingredients required, it is irresistible for the heavenly melt in your mouth taste and texture.

Spice meter: Not hot at all, dessert dish

Best restaurant in Goa for this authentic Goan cuisine: Taste it at Martins Corner, Betalbatim or Viva Panjim, Panjim. If you want to buy a whole one, then try Fabs Bebinca in Ribandar.

These 10 dishes are the best of the best that Goan cuisine offers to the world. If you are yet to sample them, make it a point to try them out on your next Goa holiday.

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Posted by Sudha at 10:20 am
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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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