Monday, February 26, 2018

Street Food tour of Panjim, Goa

The month of Feb had me thinking how I can add value to the life of my readers. And essentially got me thinking to who my readers are.
I am guessing, that since I am a food and travel blogger, many of you would be interested in scoping out the best food places while travelling . Food walks, I think, are the best way to do that, and after joining in the food walks in trastever region in Rome where we tried Roman cuisine like fried artichokes, as well as wine in a 2500 year old cellar, and then a food walk through wall street and china town in Manhattan , where we tried pork baos and enjoyed the cannolis in near by little Italy, I decided it was time to have a food walk in my own city of Panjim.
And while I tried to curate it along woith a number of travel agencies here, I realised that the logistics of that was a whole lot complicated for the time being.
And thus, here we are; me taking you through an online guided street food tour of Panjim.

Start with a scenic sunset at Miramar beach, but before you head to the beach, take a left at the Miramar circle and walk towards , Sharada Mandir school, you will find a small streetside shutter stall, with a board reading “D’Silvas “ here you get the traditional cutlet Pao of Goa. Goa is also bestowed the honour of bringing the art of baking bread to India, via the Portuguese, who inturn learnt it from the chinese while making Bao, these guys baked it and called it Pao. Goa gets freshly made daily bread from the local wood fired ovens and distributed by the bicycling Poder, bread seller, but that’s for another post.
Street food of Goa , cutlet Pao Miramar Beach

special thanks to hubby for this fantastic composition
 Buy yourself a chicken or beef cutlet Pao for the price of Rs 70. The cutlets are made of thinly sliced meat covered in rava and deep fried. Rava frying any and all veggies , meats and even sea food, is a typically Goan thing to do I realise. The rest of Malvan or Konkan cuisine is happy to just shallow fry their spice coated fish, but here in Goa, rava or broken wheat adds the textural quality to the dish.
If you are vegetarian head to the choupatti across the road, and have your fill of typical mumbaiya/north Indian chaat stalls, of pani puri, masala puri and pav bhaji.
But don’t fret my next stop is a pure veg joint.

stall number 19 is my go to chacha at Miramar stall.

For this you will unfortunately not be able to walk , but take your mode of transport to Panim church area.  Alternatively, if you do not want to do the cutlet pao tour, just head to the Panjim church area directly.

Start at Café Bhonsle, it is a short walk fromt eh Panjim church itself and is an iconic enough restaurant for anyone to guide you. Now you might be wondering why we are heading to a café for street food, but once you reach café bhonsle you will understand. The place is crowded with office goers, and families enjoying a tea snack, and if you go during lunch it is crowded then aswell. Basically it is a lifeline for the city office goer, which is essentially what a good street food is for any place.
the Goan bun, a cross between bread and puri. Goan street food

when in Goa, a mangalorean bun , mirchi bhajiya, and two types of bhaaji.

Started in 1920, it is now run by the fourth generation owner, and Mr Milind Bhonsle. The place opens at 6 in the morning and closes at 8 , and it is a pure veg joint ‘ the café below’ not the restaurant on the first floor which sells fish thalis for lunch. But for a non veg loving city, café bhonsle sure knows what sets the Goan heart a flutter.

The Mangalorean buns is what you should order. It is a cross between a bun and a deep fried puri, and the closest food item I can compare it too is a donut without the hole . and instead of ‘dunkin’ it in your coffee, a mangalorean bun is best had dunked in tea, or even the different curries or ‘bhajis’ that are served at café bhonsle.

Try the mushroom samosa, mushroom bhaji with mangalorean bun, and the mirchi bhaji for a typical Goan tea time snack, and for a great session of people watching here, because people from every walk of life come here.

These fiery green chilli slits covered in chickpea flour and deep fried , are a must try at cafe Bhonsle , street food in Goa. 

Goan bun/mangalorean bun dipped in tea, a favourite Gosn tea time snack

The owner , after asking me if I work for the income tax department, said that they sell upwards of over 500 mangalorean buns a day! you cannot miss out on this .

Next stop is head toward the Panjim church once more, and with the church infront of you look towards the left, you will find a few street stalls along the road. Go to the one furthest away from the church, and when you see stacks of eggs at a stall, that’s your man. Welcome to the Rass omelette , Goa’s answer to the Kolkata roll.

look for crates of  eggs as the sign that tyou are at the right Rass omelette stall

freshly made fluffy omelettes, and chopped onions, slices of lime, convert the homely chicken xacuti into a delectable street food.

A plate of a brown coloured coconut based spicy gravy with a chicken bone, and of you are lucky some chicken pieces as well, is served on a steel plate, along with a freshly made fluffy omelette, and a pair of Goan Pao buns. The coconut gravy is much like the Goan chicken xacuti gravy; roasted coriander seeds, and ground coconut making for the essential spice mix along with almost 16 other secret ingredients, and esch family has their own. The home made chicken xacuti ofcourse has a lot more chicken , but here the curry gets added flavour because of being cooked a day before, allowing for the chicken bones to really work their magic, also the combination of finely chopped onions, and a slice of lime, and an omelette , gives it the quintessential street food spin.

can you see the plates of ross omelette in the background, being covered with chicken curry ?

The final product, rass omelette, Goan street food

 While the Kolkata roll is all about the egg, porotha, and the chicken, here it is all about the egg, pao braed and the chicken curry.  When I asked the stall owner how many plates they sell in a day , he was even more tight lipped than the guys at Café bhonsle, he gave me a figure of somewhere between 4 to 6 Kilos of chicken xacuti.
But here is an interesting Goan Gossip, (what’s a street food walk without food folklore) , during the note ban or demonitisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, a rass omelette stall owner in Goa, had over 80 lakhs that’s 0.8 million rupees in cash ! yes, selling street food can make you a millionaire , well atleast it shows how popular this street food is in Goa. A plate of rass omelette cost Rs 45.
That’s all for now, in this edition of street food walk of Panjim.

You can have
1.       Chicken /beef cutlet pao : Rs 70
2.       Pani puri : Rs 30
3.       Ice gola: Rs 30
4.       Goan bun /mangalorean bun: Rs 38
5.       Mirchi  plate: Rs 38
6.       Rass omelette : Rs 45
mixed Goan Bhaji plate: Rs 38

I could call this article 5 Goan street foods you must try next time you are in Panjim , but I do like the sound of a street walk discovering local food. 

interested in More Goan food articles?

understand what goes into a goan fish Thali Read HERE
a quick lesson in Goan architecture so that you enjoy your food walk better Read HERE

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Top tips to attending the Carnival in Goa

While most Catholics in India and Abroad celebrate Lent, and even the culmination of Lent to The solemn Good Friday and then a happy Easter, but very few places in India celebrate Carnival like Goa does. And while I have written about Goa carnival HERE and HERE, I still got so many messages on my Instagram this year about Carnival, that I decided to answer all of them in a new blog post .

Carnival is traditionally celebrated the weekend prior to the start of Lent on , Ash Wednesday.

Why come to Goa for Carnival?
There are plenty of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it is always on a weekend and is one of the few times where the true 'Goan ' way of life is seen on an amplified scale. Think colourful flowery Tshirts, lots of drinking parties, live music on the streets, barbequing meats on the streets, and yes people wearing Masquerade masks.

colourful dancers ay the carnival

Shreyu at his first Carnival

The colourful float about dangers of plastic

Goa being devoured by the evil of plastic

Dont get High on Drugs, says a tableaux

underwater sea world float

a sea of people

When is it?
Google for Ash Wednesday for the calendar year you wish to come, this year Ash wednesday was on 14 Feb, and so Carnival celebrations were from 10 Feb to 13 Feb, that is from the saturday prior, to the tuesday prior to start of Lent.

Can anyone attend , or is it only for Christians?
while it is originally meant as a time of over consumption and enjoyment for the catholics prior to the almost month long period of fasting and restrictions of Lent, everyone can participate in the festivities. Infact a long time back the Church dissociated itself from Carnival celebrations, calling it not a Christian celebration, but later the state of Goa adopted the festivities and the parades , as they realised the draw of tourists. 

What is a carnival Parade?
The parades are floats depicting various social causes, and various bits of Goan life as a tableaux . The Parade begins with King Momo declaring the festivities open, and on the Saturday of the Carnival it is in Panjim, on Sunday it is in Margao, and then travels to other towns of Goa, like Mapusa, Vasco.. all the details on the route of the parade and so forth is published in the newspapers prior to the day of celebrations.
This year Carnival was before Valentines day and it and romance to the festivities

Bakeries with Poie , local bread made it to the flaot parade

Thought provoking floats about , what do you want to be when you grow up...

Men in Drag is very common sight at the Carnival Parade, some dressed as local fisher women, to even pregnant women, and sometimes even a mermaid.

did you notice my green head gear.

Garland pork sausages , indigenious to Goa made it to the float parade as well.

What apart from the parade can we see?
There are many carnival themed parties in Restaurants and Hotels, but the Parade is free of cost, also the Samba Square a live music and food street festival is sponsored by the city corporation of Panjim, and is at The Garcia De Orta garden close to the Panjim church. Also the Goa State Tourism department hosts the food and cultural festival during the same time, allowing for more options during the Carnival. also there is a sand sculpture at the Miramar beach most years.

a table laden with Carnival food treats, chicken Cafreal, Pork spare ribs, and much more

strawberry Mojitos, what a splendid idea, @clucktales

Throwback to childhood memories with goli soda, but priced at Rs 40, almost quadruple our childhood price.

fish wrapped in Banana leaves.

Gobanos or Goan Poie bread sandwiches with caramelised onions, meat of your choice, gravy, a fried egg and aioli, a scrumptious discovery at Athenaz stall
 What should one wear at the carnival?
Colourful happy clothes are perfect, also eye masks and head gear, which are easily available on the streets during the parade. On the last evening of the Carnival that is tuesday evening, Samba Square has a black and red dance, and it is a tree=at to watch everyone dressed in the red and black colours, and do wear those colours if you want to enter the dance venue . Yes, on all days of the Carnival you can dance the night away at Samba square in Panjim, and I think at other venues in the state as well. so wear comfortable shoes. If you are just a gang of colours, do not dress to attract too much attention, because many of the revellers, both from the state and outside are drunk and looking to make trouble. stay safe, and move in mixed groups, and surround yourself with family revellers.
This is my most favourite picture of this Carnival, me with Bagpipers of Goa, men dressed in Kilts, keep your eyes peeled for fun and quirky images during your visit to Goa during Carnival and you will see plenty. 

I hope you enjoyed this roller coaster ride on the Carnival streets of Goa, and if you wish to read more Posts about Goa here are a few 

Demistifying the Goan Fish Thali HERE
understanding the legend of Narkasur and the Goan Diwali celebrations HERE
Serendipity Art Festival ,, Goa HERE
International film Festival , Goa  HERE

This article is written as a part of SuperBloggerChalenge2018 conducted by , , and should not be repurposed , republished, or used otherwise. the content is herein owned by the blogger.  Superbloggerchallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Family sunday brunches at Caravela , Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa , Goa

Once upon a time , the Portuguese came on their sailed ships called Caravelas , and discovered the land we now call Goa. Enter then the sea facing dining called " Caravela' at Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, situated in Sinquerim , and the first thing I see are the many speed boats and yachts on the sea, they even have parasiling boats with colourful parasails floating behind them . 

The Sunday brunch boasts of a menu which takes inspiration from a number of world cuisines , but what really blows ones mind is the world class view from the deck , as well as the silhouette of the Fort Aguada in the not so distant. The Taj Holiday Village,Goa property in itself is a very verdant and picturesque surrounding, and add to that the fact that it is situated so close to a fort as well as a beach , makes it the perfect one stop tourist destination for many. For us it was more of a Sunday morning spend, but that too, we had the option of walking to a fort, or frolicking on the beach, or enjoy a dip in the resort pool.

Here is a look at the brunch at Caravela Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa , in pictures , also some nifty tips on turning a buffet brunch into a coursed meal. all it takes is some ingenuity, tips at the end of the blog.

cheese platter by the sea? yes, please, Taj Holiday Village

make your own DIY cheese platter is one of the first things I do at a buffet brunch, with so many cheeses and cold cuts to choose from, it makes for a colourful and healthy platter of nibbles for the entire table. try it next time you go brunching. 

Another is creating a mezze platter and since the buffet had hummus and flat breads, its another platter of food you can easily recreate at almost any brunch. Brunches I believe should be for communal and family eating.

This is the platter I made for my mom who was visiting us, as the resident food blogger , I decided to curate a plate of Goan delicacies for her, and here we have the local Goan ried rice, pork Vindaloo with pickled onions and cherry tomatoes, few choice breads, a salad, and Bebinca for dessert.

The family that dines together, stays together.

The chefs special coriander prawns is a Goan inspired dish, bu with no use of coconut or the quintessential Goan masalas, this one had hung curd, besan, and coriander leaves as it's base, and as mom said, tasted like punjabi Kadhi, or a burmese khou suy , haha , goes to show that food is an extremely individual taste.

desserts done right, at Taj Holiday Village resort and spa

more desserts at Taj Holiday Village resort and Spa

single serving salads, they were so pretty I had three of each, dont mind me, but I love my salads.

Give us today our daily bread

The Italian spread had my favourite Zuchchini parmegianno, a dish which reminds me of great Italian home cooks and TV shows I love.

a nifty trick to brunching with toddlers, start them of with something crunchy like a papad, and some finger food, it gives you time to scope out what else they might be interested in, even t=if the temeptation is huge, dont start with sugars.

SHreyu with his favourite , watermelon juice.

tropical lunches with tender coconut water, 

Thats the weekend Brunch Menu

My favourite dessert from the dessert platter, the lemon cream tart. 
Thankyou to the entire child friendly staff, including executive chef for not minding the ever inquisitive toddler.

Thankyou for joining me on our brunch adventures 

colourful desserts , i love mine brown though , chocolate desserts are my weakness.

Hope you joined my valentines day giveaway on my Instagram and Facebook page, a dinner date at Taj Hokiday village . Interested ? head to my Facebook

so as promised here are a few ways of enhancing your buffet brunch experience at ANY brunch you go.

1. think of it as communal meal, try and bring platters which the entire family can tuck into, rather than single plates of food, pile one high with biryani, a few kebabs and lo presto you have a shareable meal at your table.

2. create your own cheese platter with the cheeses, cold cuts, salads , and fruits, and again make it a big platter, every one can nibble from at your table. 

3. pair different cuisines together, and make small plated meals fromeveryone at your table, borrow a jug and pour the juices on offer into it so that you are not going to the buffet counter again and again. 

4. dessert platters for sharing are a great way to try everything at the buffet offering as well as have everyone share from single servings, thus not wasting food. 

I hope you guys liked these tips. I have plenty more brunch tios 

here is one on Brunching with babies HERE

Here is one on why I love weekend staycations ( as much as I like brunches) HERE

and my Favourite , on how to eat like a pro at Buffet brunches HERE