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goa, january 2020


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my goa restaurant reports won't go up on the blog for a few weeks but for starters here's a look at the thursday market in the village of assolna in south goa. most prominently featured is the fish market. and no, i don't know the names of most of the fish. if you do or if you know the names of likely relatives from elsewhere in the world, please write in.

 

assolna-market-squid2.jpg

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everything but the display stuff was in chilled water/ice, i think. the crabs and the smaller shrimp were alive. at any rate, it wouldn't have been possible for any of what i bought over the two visits---kingfish, white pomfret, mackerel, crab, two kinds of prawns, squid---to be any fresher. 

 

edit to add: you can see the ice in picture 14, for example.

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  • 3 weeks later...

on to the goa restaurant reports.

 

we arrived on the evening on a tuesday and left in the afternoon the next tuesday. had dinner out the first night--all dinners and breakfasts after that were prepared at home by the cook we engaged in the village. the first dinner out was fine but nothing great, and a bit expensive for what it was. worth pointing out here that we were in south goa. on the one hand, this means far fewer tourists and pristine beaches; on the other hand, it also means far fewer options for eating out. our dinner the first night was on a restaurant by the water, aimed at more upscale travelers. things were good but unremarkable. our first lunch the next day was marginal at best. we made the mistake of eating at a beach shack.

 

this is how the shacks work: they set up comfortable sun beds with umbrellas right by the water which you get to use for free on the unspoken agreement that you will purchase food and drink from them over the course of the day (only very few foreign tourists actually seemed to be keeping up their end of the bargain). some of the food can be brought to you but the shack proper is a restaurant. their menus are aimed very obviously at european and north indian tourists. i had been warned not to expect anything but the tandoori items to be acceptable but we ordered from the small goan menu anyway. not good. (i'll have details on shack eating and our first dinner in a separate report soon.) the first cook-made dinner was also not good, due to crossed communication wires. and so we needed lunch next day to be good to salvage my dream of excellent goan food for a week.

 

to make this happen we booked a table at martin's corner---about 30 minutes drive from where we were but still south goa. it's a restaurant that started out small in 1989 but has since expanded/grown into a major place. it was recommended to us from all directions. their menu too features north indian, indian chinese and "continental dishes" but the goan stuff is very much not an afterthought. we couldn't eat very much of it as we were just the four of us but everything we ate was very good. (steve, you'll be pleased to see that the boys got butter naans.) herewith some details.

 

martins-corner-bebinca.jpg

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in goa again but this time for whisky, not food. the paul john distillery turned out to be very close to where we were staying and i thought it would be rude not to visit them. in case you don't know paul john, they make malt whisky in the scottish style and are the second indian producer to come to prominence after amrut. i've really liked some of their whiskies and so was intrigued to visit. here is an account of the tour i did.

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here is an account of a somewhat unusual experience. a visit to a restored 18th century home (of a portuguese church official) that ends with a meal prepared by the owners of the home. i feared it would be kitschy but it came recommended from three directions, by three sets of friends who are temperamentally very different from each other and so it seemed like a good bet. and so it proved to be. the house is worth a stop on its own (though you can't visit just the house) and the goan-portuguese meal that follows the short tour is excellent. if you ever go to goa, go.

 

palácio do deão

 

palacio-do-deao-stuffed-crabs.jpg

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one of our very best meals on this trip was at fernando's nostalgia in the village of raia, in south goa. they are proudly flying the flag of old-school goan catholic food made in the traditional ways. there is nothing on the menu but goan catholic food, including things like bacalhao not seen in most other places. highly recommended. my report.

 

fernandos-nostalgia-pasteis-de-bacalhau.

 

steve: vindaloo alert!

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a very good lunch at hog worth in panjim. like most places they have a "multi-cuisine" menu but the goan stuff is what you should be eating. it's what we ate--bar a lachha paratha for the boys (steve: they have north indian stuff but no naans). the goan food is contemporary-traditional, by which i mean not that it's passed through some modern/ist filter but that the cooking has a lighter touch. everything was very good, the desserts were particularly good.

 

hog worth.

 

hog-worth-bolo-sans-rival-1.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

i see i haven't kept you all updated on these reports. you must be desolate. i've finished up our goa meals with three more reports.

1. lunch at star light, an unassuming eatery in cavelossim, right on the sal river. goa is full of restaurants like this, catering to locals and tourists alike. nothing amazing but a nice meal. some very nice fresh lady fish.
 

152379674_StarLightLadyfish.jpg.2ccef9fde70574398a98245afd9ac605.jpg

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Great reading. My takeaway is that the best bet when dining here and elsewhere in India is orange colored chicken, so I'm happy that I cannot go right now. 

More seriously, the divergent evolutionary paths of beach shacks are interesting to me - how does one locale end up with shacks serving a menu that tries to please everyone but nobody, while another actually serves solid, if simple, local food and fish. 

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