Most Popular Traditional Goan Foods

traditional food in goa
Trip101 Editorial
Trip101 Editorial 

Goa is an Indian state that is situated on the western coast of India. It is a lively tourist destination that is filled with people from all over the world. Known for its popular nightlife and beach parties, it is a must-visit for party-goers and nature lovers. However, a lot of people tend to forget that more than anything, the specialties of Goa are often found on a plate. The state is peppered with innumerable eateries that never cease to surprise you with their menu. In Goa, you will find the most amazing delicacies at the most unexpected places. It can be a shack by the sea that serves the most delightful drink, or a seemingly shabby joint at any local corner offering the freshest catch stirred up into a magical experience.

The cuisine here is majorly influenced by Portuguese traditions, but it retains the zesty flavors to preserve the Goanese character. If you travel to Goa, you should be aware of the most popular traditional Goan foods, from fish curry and prawn pickle to traditional sweets. it usually comprises rice, coconut, seafood, pork, meat, and local spices. The flavors and spices of tropical Goa are quite intense and alluring. They also use ‘kokum’ (Garcinia Indica), which adds to the singularity of any dish. From sweets to savories, Goa is filled with flavors waiting to be explored.

1. Chicken xacuti

This spicy Goan delicacy is made using poppy seeds, dried red chilies, and coconut. The ingredients are cooked with chicken until it absorbs the flavors of the curry. Chicken xacuti, full of its spicy goodness, goes best with bland and well-steamed rice. This is an easy recipe to try at home.

2. Fish curry

Goan Fish Curry
Source: Photo by user Ramakrishna Reddy y used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is the most common dish cooked almost at every Goanese home. Fish curry and rice is a favorite in every household. Marinated pomfret is added to a curry of local spices with ingredients such as garlic, ginger, coconut, Kashmiri chilies, raw mango, and fenugreek. The raw mango adds a tangy flavor that is truly insatiable. If you love fish you will love this recipe too.

3. Goan squid batter fry

Goan squid batter fry
Source: Pxhere

Among all of the famous Goan dishes, one of the most notable is the traditional Goan squid batter fry. It’s a great dish to go with a glass of beer or any other drink for that matter. Soft and spongy pieces of squid are fried to make it crispy with a golden brown crunch. This dish is a medley of veggies and spices. Share a plate with your friend over a relaxing stein.

4. Pork vindaloo (curry)

‘Vin’ means vinegar and 'ahlo’ means garlic. Vinegar is added to this dish to provide a tangy finish to the pork and the curry. Pork vindaloo can only be made with a variety of Indian spices. This dish is made with cumin, red chilies and coconut. It goes very well with rice or rotis (Indian bread).

5. Bebinca

365-77 Bebinca
Source: Photo by user Amanda Fernandes used under CC BY 2.0

Among traditional Goan food, is the sweet and satisfying Bebinca dessert. Prepared mainly from jaggery and coconut milk, this tantalizing dessert was first brought to Goa by the Portuguese. The Goans added their own flavors to enhance the dish. It consists of many layers made from varied ingredients and is, without doubt, one of the best edibles that you can find in Goa.

6. Prawn balchao

This is a pickle made of dried prawns. It is a spicy dish that usually goes on the side with most meals. Many traditional spices are added along with preservatives to ensure the pickle can be preserved for a long period of time. Prawn balchao is one of the most distinct tastes that you can take back from Goa. It can be eaten with roti (Indian bread) or with curry and rice.

7. Sanna

Sanna is the traditional Goan bread. When you order a curry dish and want to skip rotis, sanna would be the way to go in order to experience an authentic Goan meal. Sanna is made of coconut and rice that is fermented and steamed. This is definitely a healthy dish.

8. Fonna kadi

If you’ve ever tried ‘Kadi’ in Northern India and if you liked it, the Goan variant of this dish known as Fonna Kadi will not let you down. Fonna Kadi is made from coconut milk and kokum fruit is also added to give it the Goan character. The dish is garnished with coriander leaves and mustard seeds. This dish goes very well with steamed rice.

9. Rava fried fish

Lepo Rawa fry
Source: Photo by user goanfishcurryrice3 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is probably one of the easiest side snacks to cook. The Goans savor this dish with beer for starters. Fillets are coated in a spicy rava (semolina) mix. The paste is made using garlic, red chilies, salt, turmeric and of course, rava. The fish is covered in the paste to marinate and finally fried until crispy. This is the perfect Goan dish to choose for starters.

10. Goan nevri

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This is one of the popular dishes you will find during the festival of ‘Ganesh Chathurthi’ or other major state festivals. Nevri is made from coconut, cardamom, almonds, and sugar for the filling. The filling is placed in balls made of flour. This is then fried and served ready to eat. This is a must-have sweet for those who visit Goa and want to experience its true flavors.

Goan food: a balance of aroma and zesty spices

Goan cuisine represents the tropical, adventurous and mystical character of the state. It brims with excitement, nightlife, food, and shopping areas. There are numerous monuments, beaches, shopping complexes, pubs and food to explore. Traditional Goan platter would feel incomplete without seafood. The cuisine relies heavily on seafood to bring the punch. The staple here is rice and fish. Vison or kingfish are commonly eaten and the other types of traditional Goan seafood consists of dishes made of shark, tuna, mackerel, crabs, shellfish, prawns, squid, mussels, and lobster. Goa is a land filled with the goodness of aromatic meals, from seafood to curries and signature sweet dishes. With its pristine beaches, tropical climate and colonial architecture, Goa is certainly one of the must-see destinations in India.

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