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25 July 2015

On the Piscean Trail! (Seafood in Goa)

Last weekend with all tripping plans washed out by the heavy downpour, I found myself going through the photographs from previous trips, and the thing that struck me the most was that there were more pictures of food than anything else from all albums from Goa. That's when this post took shape.


Goa. The name evokes different thoughts for different people. The glossy travel magazines and websites advertise the place as being just about booze and beaches. Well, to some extent it is so, but then that's not the only thing there is. 

Now, this won't be yet another ranting post on what all there is to do in Goa that 'tourists' commonly miss out on, rather it will be yet another post dedicated to just one thing - Food, one of the things many people I know are very passionate about.
This post attempts to be a small guide to eating out in North Goa. 

Warning: Vegetarians, stay away!


The place is a haven for fish-eaters. My all time favorite is the Goan prawn curry and rice. This is an elemental and earthy dish, with just the basic ingredients going into the curry, sometimes with bits of vegetables such as okra added as well. Also, the Kokum that goes into most dishes here, lends the extra tangy flavor.
Prawn curry & Rice
Most places offer complementary Kismur, a dry chutney made of salted and dried prawn, and sometimes a piece of fried fish as well. The best way to sample basic Goan food is to have a simple, humble thali, complete with a little bit of everything, plus total value-for-money. My favorite thali is from Ritz Classic in Panjim.

Thali at Ritz Classic, Panjim (Prawn curry, fried Anjal, clam sukka, kismur, vegetable, rice)
A mess/canteen in Ponda called Tilve's
Talking of Ritz Classic, if ever on a visit to Goa you're left with enough time to go to just one place for a meal, this is THE place to go to. Located in the heart of the city on 18th June Road, off D.B Bandodkar Marg, finding it is not very difficult. The place is known for fresh fish preparations. These are few recommended ones, with Mussels fry (neeli in Konkani) being a personal favorite. This place is almost always heavily crowded, however the impeccable service ensures that you don't have to wait too long for a seat.

Thali on another day at Ritz, complete with crab curry and pomfret fry
Bombay duck fry
Fried oysters (Kalva)
The all-time favorite, King fish (Ison/Vison/Anjal) rawa fry
Pomfret curry with Pau and dry prawn kismur
Butter garlic squid
Masala fried chicken
Another place worth mentioning is Martin's Corner, in Betalbatim. Now finding this place on your own if you're going for the first time is fun. More often than not we have found ourselves in opposite directions after we religiously followed G-Maps. The easiest way is to follow the directions to Majorda, and when in doubt just ask someone.




Martin's is a place frequented by tourists. Yet it retains it's charm. A glass case at the entrance has a display of different varieties of fish, prawn, crab etc. available. You can choose whatever you like based on the weight. The fish curry here stands out from that served elsewhere. I like the Shark Ambotik too ( Ambat = sour, tik = spicy in konkani). Chonak is a good fish to try, for those who don't like their fish to be too fishy. Live music is usually played and you can request for the song of your choice.

Paintings by Mario Miranda add to the ambience

BEFORE...
...AFTER :) Lobster in piri piri sauce
Mori (shark) Ambotik with rice
Chonak fish fry
King fish, masala fried
Prawn masala roast
Tisryo (clams/khubbe) sukke
Tender coconut souffle


Mum's Kitchen in Panaji, is a well-loved place. The interiors are done very beautifully and plush; it's a nice blend of rusticity coupled with modernity. There are vessels hard to find in most modern homes on display. The service is impeccable. And the most important bit, the food is very very good. A bit heavy on the pocket, but then the whole dining experience leaves you content. Be sure to book your table before you visit.


Various certificates and awards are displayed on the walls

Pedavan, bharni etc.
A li'l bit of happiness!
Fried bhounshe
Fried squid/calamari
Prawn hooman

Dessert, with a filling of coconut & jaggery


A new find for us this time was Terry's Restaurant and Pub, located right at the Betim Ferry Wharf. The last ferry to Panjim leaves at around 10 PM, so you can comfortably come by ferry from Panjim, saving you the trouble of crossing the Mandovi bridge. Apart from the food, the best thing about this place is the location, right by the Mandovi, and also the live music that's played. The service can be a little disappointing at times, but the food and ambience more than make up for this. I liked the Crisp Fried Prawn with Mango Salsa the most among the things we tried.


  
Crisp Fried Prawn with Mango Salsa
  
Prawn stuffed papad
Chicken Satay
Chicken Chilly
Crisp fried King fish
We've never been fans of beach shacks. This time we visited one though, called Calamari Binge & Bathe, at Candolim. We liked the refreshing drinks more than the food. And compared to Britto's, this was much less crowded and quiet.

Butter steamed fish

A few other local dishes to try would be those with a Portuguese touch. Chicken Cafrael is our favorite of all, and we like it the best at O'Coqueiro restaurant, at Porvorim. O'Coqueiro means the Coconunt tree in Portuguese. This place is known for the infamous serial killer ("bikini killer") Charles Sobhraj, being caught here by Mumbai Police inspector Madhukar Zende in 1986, having their Cafrael, after he escaped from prison. Usually you'd find more local families out for a quiet Sunday lunch after Mass than stereotypical tourists with gaudy flowery shirts here.


The evergreen Cafrael chicken
A statue of Charles Sobhraj at O'Coqueiro
Another thing we don't miss is Chicken Xacuti, a curry with a thick coconut based gravy. Richly flavored with spices that aren't too overpowering, having it with rice or pau is just perfect Fish Rachaedo is a must-try too. 


Xacuti chicken
Goan Pau
Pomfret Rachaedo 
Butter garlic prawn
Bebinca, a traditional layered pudding
A yummy, creamy Portuguese dessert


Something for the veggies, Caldin- a coconut milk based mild curry
Well, I felt very very hungry writing this post. I hope you try a few of these on your next visit to Goa! Bon App├ętit!

2 comments:

  1. Going to Goa has always been on my mind.. now I know how to relish it best! Looking at Piyu's blog early in the day really whets the appetite!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Caron!
      A prawn a day keeps the blues away! ;)

      Delete

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