Goan cuisine has been influenced by an exotic blend of sea, spices and foreign invaders – first the Portuguese, then the hippies and lately food-savvy travellers – which means delicious Indian snacks, fantastic fish and modern fusion are all on offer
Goan food falls into the rich tradition of the Konkan coast, happily complicated and enriched over the years by two very different invasions: first the colonial Portuguese and then the hippies. For all that, it’s not one blended cuisine: Konkan Hindu and Goan Catholic have their distinct dishes, the former typified by the heavy use of coconut and fish, the latter by vinegar, pork and beef. Then there’s the international cuisine, sometimes a fusion, and sometimes the legacy of foreign immigrants holding onto their old cuisine. Often, the big-name restaurants on the beach belt get all the attention, but smaller places also deserve praise and attention. As ever look for those with fast turnover and local customers. On the liquid side of things, try the caju feni, made from fermented cashew apples – it’s an acquired taste, sometimes compared to nail varnish, but the quality stuff (usually in the local bars, from jungle distilleries) can be complex and rewarding – and get you very drunk. Tourists drink it with Limca (a fizzy lemon and lime-flavoured drink), those in the know with water and lime.