Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.
Today’s guest post comes from Rachel, a masseuse and travel blogger who blogs at Hippie in Heels. Rachel is a fellow Midwesterner as well as one of my favorite new bloggers so give her site a look! Today she tells us about what to eat in Goa, India, her home away from home.
I’m an American living in Goa, India, for the past year. There are so many Indian foods that you MUST try when you visit India; from veg curries with rice and fried veg pakora, to chai tea and dosas. The Indian food you’ll have here won’t be anything like the restaurants in the U.K. or U.S. so be warned if you come here already “loving” Indian food, you actually might not know what it really is! Everything is cooked with ghee, a form of lard, so be prepared to gain more weight here than anywhere else you may travel.
For lunch and dinner a nice thali or curry might be on the menu, but I want to introduce the street food you get in the villages along the Arabian Sea. Street food is not the same all over India; Goa is tropical and so is the food! In my new home, I am always shocked by the yummy snacks I never saw on my previous journeys through India.
1. Corn on the cob with lime and salt. It tastes a little like Mexico! These mouthwatering treats (my favorite) are at all the markets on Wednesday and Saturday, but you can also get it in small towns on a daily basis or at any festival. It costs about 40 rupees and is more than worth every cent. Served in the husk to prevent dripping, it makes me wonder why we didn’t think of that in the U.S.!
2. Shawarma- some consider this Israeli food, but actually many countries have their own take on this sandwich and consider it their local food. You can get a foreigner’s version for 300 rupees, but it won’t be near as good as a local’s 50 rupee one in Siolim or Mapusa. Usually Chicken or lamb (but actually goat…) is used from a kebab. It’s sliced off as you order and put in a poi (a local bread) with mayo, tomato, and onion. You might need to ask for less mayo, as they love to pile it on! Of course, the Indian touch makes this shawarma unlike any other: spicy as can be! The same goes for samosas; they can be found all over India and the world, but Goa has a special spicy take on them.
3. Sugar Cane Juice or Sweet Lime Soda. These are at all the street stalls and are “cures” for any form of stomach-ache or Delhi belly. The sugar cane is VERY sweet, so maybe you should try a small one first. It’ll cost you about 10 rupees. Sweet lime soda is great for a hangover and will cost about 30 rupees. Normally made with soda water, lime, and sugar, they can also make it “salty lime soda” with salt, lime, and soda water instead if you like.
4. Fresh fruit juice. Obviously, a staple in more diets than that of India, but because of the social culture of fruit juice here, it must be mentioned! Unlike in America, where groups get together to drink booze at night, Indians also socialize during the day, early in the morning. They aren’t the type to sleep in. Don’t be surprised if your Indian friends call you up and ask the typical “Wanna get juice?” There are “cool” places like Ganesh Fruit Stand in Chapora, where the hippies hang. It’s a very trendy thing to do and can take hours! I usually get some fruit salad with ice cream by the end of it.
5. Fresh bread from the local bike-riding bread man. Why buy bread at the market when an adorable dude on a bike is going to come by on a bicycle honking his horn to sell hot fresh bread at a better price? Better yet he may make the yodel-like bread call that’s he’s rolling by. We get our weekly poi,bagels, and roti from him. You’ll know it’s the bread man because he’ll have a big circled bucket on the back of his bike covered with a blue tarp.
6. Cashew Feni- this one isn’t necessarily street food, but it is LOCAL. This is only available in Goa; nowhere else in the world makes homemade cashew feni. Like a moonshine, this comes from a cashew tree and bars make it in bulk. They have HUGE containers in the back and you can have a shot for about 50 cents. It’ll knock your socks off, so beware! It’s the number one thing Indian tourists stock up on to take home. Some call it “wine” but trust me, it’s more like rubbing alcohol… even the Indians use this as an antiseptic when they get a cut. To cure anything my driver says, “Pour feni on the bad place, then pour feni in your mouth… then pour feni on it again. Now rest.”