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Five Famous Goa Foods You Should Have a Try

Goan cuisine is a smorgasbord of flavors and textures to tickle your taste buds, including spices, seafood, rice, and other locally available dishes.  The colonial influences have also made a huge impact on the eating styles of Goa Foods. You will find a beautiful mixture of local ingredients with European cooking styles – creating something unique and tasty.  Here are some of the popular Goa foods that are must-try on your trip to the magical state.

1. Goan Fish Curry (Xitti Kodi)

As a staple food for most of the Goan population, the Xitti Kodi or the fish curry is always present in the dinner table. Loaded with aromatic spices, coconut and raw mango slices for an extra zing, the dish brings out the flavor of the fresh fishes caught from the sea. Usually, Pomfret is used for creating this Goan staple, but alternatives like albacore, kingfish, or salmon can also be used.

What is it? A fish-based Indian curry ideal for lunch or dinner

Served with plain or flavored rice

2. Goan Pork Vindaloo

The Pork Vindaloo – one of the most identified Goa foods – is a great tasting curried dish inspired by the Portuguese colonizers. Even the name ‘vindaloo’ is believed to be derived from the two Portuguese words: ‘Vin’ meaning vinegar and ‘alho’ meaning garlic. But with the introduction of potatoes in the dish, this ‘alho’ began representing potatoes (known as alu in most Indian languages) – giving the name ‘Vindaloo’ another twist. Due to Portuguese influences, vinegar is used in the cuisine along with the Indian ingredients like chilies, onions, garlic, and assorted spices.

The pork is marinated for a day in the special spice mix, giving the meat tenderness and intense flavors.    

What is it? Curried meat dish ideal for lunch or dinner

Served with plain rice or Goan Pav (bread)

3. Chicken Xacuti

Chicken Xacuti is a beautiful combination of bright Kashmiri red chilies and poppy seed paste. As another of the Portuguese influenced Goa foods, the dish consists of potatoes, chicken, coconuts, onions, chilies, and other Indian spices. The Kashmiri chilies are the star of the Xacuti as it gives an intense color as well as flavor to the entire dish.  You must try this popular Goan specialty on your trip to Goa.

What is it? Spicy chicken curry served during lunch or dinner

Served with plain rice or Goan Pav (bread)

4. Bebinca

Bebinca, also spelled bebinka or bibik, is a popular dessert of Goa and usually made on special occasions like Christmas. It’s a multi-layered cake made with coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and flour, to be a guilty pleasure for most Goans. Also, referred as the ‘Queen of Goan Desserts’, it often requires a huge amount of patience during the baking process as the layer after layer of batter is poured into the pan and cooked one by one to create its layers.

What is it? Unique layered dessert of Goa

Served with ice-cream to enhance the flavors

5. Solachi kadi

It’s an easy to make spicy kokum and coconut milk curry, as well as one of the popular Hindu Goa foods. Each family has their style of making this quintessential Goan curry, which is usually served with rice. This curry is rich in antioxidants and anti-aging agents as an excellent detox drink.

What is it? An herb-infused curry known for its refreshing qualities   

Served with Rice or can be drunk as it is

Some honorable mentions

Apart from these Goa foods, here are some of the honorable mentions:

• Perad (Guava Cheese or Jam)

A fruity dessert served post-meal (suitable for vegans/vegetarians). It’s also a Christmas delicacy served with ice cream or as it is. Perad is made from the pulp of guava cooked with clarified butter (ghee) and sugar. The mixture is cooked till it gives out a subtle glossy texture. At the end of the cooking process, the guava spread is left to cool and then cut to smaller pieces. Also, referred to as Goiabada or Guava Cheese, few chefs add a hint of cinnamon for flavoring. 

• Arroz doce Patoleo or Patoli

• Fish Dhabdhabit

• Bhaaji

• Shak

To make things simpler, Goan cuisine is broadly classified into two sections - Hindu cuisine and Catholic cuisines. The Hindu dishes are mostly pescetarian but exclude meats and eggs from the main diet. Mild Hindu cuisines use jaggery as sweetener and kokum or tamarind as the souring agent, with curry leaves and Indian spices like fenugreek, asafoetida, mustard and urad dal (Split Black Gram). On the contrary, the Catholic cuisines of Goa are a fusion of Portuguese and Indian cooking techniques, and coconut toddy vinegar is used to add a slight texture to the entire dish.  

Goan cooking is all thanks to a beautiful combination of Indian and Portuguese influences. Do taste this wholesome goodness, and experience the melt in the mouth of these interesting recipes. 

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