Goa is famous for three things – beaches, wild parties and food. So if you have tried the sea, sun and sand, or the wild psychedelic parties at night, then indulge yourself to the third pleasure to complete your Goan vacation.
Goan cuisine is an interesting mix of its Hindu origin and Portuguese domination. Pork, prawns and seafood are considered to be the specialty of the state. Goan food is marked by a distinct use of spices and coconut. It is simple but spicy, hot and pungent. Rice, fish, and coconut form the basic component their everyday platter. Coconut milk is mixed in almost all the dishes. It is made by grating the white of a coconut and soaking in water. Kokum is another necessary ingredient. It is a sour, deep red coloured fruit with a sharp and sour flavour. Tamarind and the red Goan chillies are also a must. The Portuguese handed down the tradition of using chillies and cashew nuts to the Goans in their cuisine.
Kingfish is a huge delicacy among the Goans including pomfret, shark, tuna and mackerel. Crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobster, squid and mussels are also equally popular.
The Hindu and Christian community practise different styles of cooking. The cuisine of Goan Hindus is less spicy and less oily. They use onion and garlic in minimum but more vegetables, lentils, pumpkins, gourds, bamboo shoots, roots etc. Most of the Goan Hindus are non-vegetarian except for the Brahmins who are strictly vegetarian. Fish curry, fried fish, Fish Suke or Dhabdhabit are a favourite including sweets like Aatwal, Kangel and Tizaan.
The Catholic Goans are fond of pork and beef. Pork Vindaloo is their favourite as well as Ambot tik (sour curry dish prepared with either fish or meat) and Bebik (pudding) is a traditional must at Christmas. Sorpotel is inarguably the essence of Goan Christian cuisine. It is a local adaptation of the Portuguese dish Sarabulho. It is served on Christmas and on most feast days. It is prepared from pork, liver, heart and kidney. The meat is diced and cooked in thick spicy sauce with spices like cinnamon and cloves and vinegar. Traditional cooking is done in earthen ware on wood fire.
Vegetarian meals are not particularly famous. Most of the vegetables are steamed so very little spices are used unlike the North Indian food items. Pastries are savoured by all the people and it always accompanies any occasion or festival.
Goans are fond of their locally brewed feni made from the fruit of cashew or from the sap drawn from the shoots of a coconut tree. Feni has an alcoholic content of about 30 to 50%. Goans say with pride 'you don't realise how strong it is until you get up'.