Warm Beaches, Hot Food: Eating in Goa


Kendra P. continues our eating around the world series with news of food from the Goan Peninsula.

Situated on the west coast of India and lapped by the waters of the Indian Ocean, Goa is perhaps best known for its inviting palm-fringed beaches and many luxury resorts. However, it’s also a paradise for food lovers, offering an astonishing variety of delectable, fiery local dishes that titillate the palate and make you regret when it’s time to leave.

The history of Goa has left its indelible mark on the local cuisine. Goa is an ancient place, with the earliest traces of human habitation dating back nearly 30,000 years. The Sumerians came to Goa in 2200 BC, followed by Dravidians from the Deccan Plateau. Many other peoples came to Goa over the following centuries, and by the 14th century, it had come under the control of the sultans of Delhi. By 1510, Goa was under Portuguese rule—and continued to be so until 1961.

The Portuguese presence gave rise to one of the best-known dishes from the region: vindaloo. The name is actually derived from that of a Portuguese dish, carne de vinha d’alhos, which is pork prepared with wine and garlic. In Goa, the recipe was modified by replacing red wine with palm vinegar, and adding Kashmiri chilies and other spices. Interestingly enough, the fiery dish also became a staple of Anglo-Indian cuisine, although the variety you can find in UK curry houses today is substantially different from the original. One thing you will often find in a Western vindaloo is potato, which you would never find in Goa. This is due to a misinterpretation of the name—aloo means potato in Hindi.

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From Sardines to Sausages: Exploring Portuguese Cuisine

ES guest writer Faith brings us the food travel lowdown on the savory land that is Portugal.

From freshly caught grilled sardines and salted dried cod dishes to hearty smoked sausage stews and the famous piri-piri chicken, Portugal has some seriously flavorful food. Paprika, garlic, bay leaves, chili and olive oil are popular additions to many Portuguese dishes, and the resulting flavors will leave you coming back for more. These popular dishes make this a culinary destination that deserves to be better known.

1. Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts

Pasteis de nata

The Pasteis de Nata is a creamy, flaky, egg custard tart, topped with sugar and cinnamon. The tart originated in Lisbon in the 18th century at a bakery in the Santa Maria de Belem parish, and the bakery itself has now become a popular tourist attraction, serving over 10,000 tarts a day. Lines are inevitable, but it’s well worth the wait to try this distinctive treat from its original source.

2. Pão – Bread

Traditionally, Portuguese meals were served on a slab of crusty bread to soak up all the juices and to provide a filling meal. Today, plates have replaced this method of serving food, but bread is still an integral part of most meals. Bread also varies widely from region to region, with each having its own speciality. Pão de Centeio is predominantly found in the North—this is a rye bread, which is dark and dense. The sweet Bolo de Ferradura loaf can be found in the Ribatejo region, combining unusual flavors such as star anise and lemon. It is often horseshoe-shaped and served at weddings to bring good luck. Pão com Chouriço is the Portuguese substitute for the American hotdog, but more delicious as it is made with Portuguese smoked sausage and fresh dough.

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The Endless Road Trip: Barcelona

ES guest Tom Bolton joins us today to share his top 10 fave bites in one of the world’s best food towns…

As a port city on the Mediterranean coast, just a stone’s throw from France, Barcelona is amongst the most important culinary centres in Europe. The Catalan cuisine here is a unique fusion of flavors, combining not only the region’s rich mar i muntanya (sea and mountain) resources, but also tastes from nearby Italy, Africa, Portugal, and Greece. So no matter the time of day or part of the city you happen to find yourself in, there is always a wealth of edible delight around the corner.

Food market, Barcelona

(Food market, Las Ramblas – Credit)

So…what to eat? Check out my top 10 favorite Barcelona bites.

1. Esqueixada

A delicious salad that makes for a perfect lunch on a hot day. The dish consists of raw shredded cod with tomato, onion, and bell pepper, and is often garnished with pieces of hard boiled egg. The texture of the shredded fish is particularly distinctive – as one cafe owner kindly explained, the name of the dish is derived from the Catalan word esqueixar, which means “to shred.”


(Esqueixada de Bacalla – Credit)

2. Escalivada

This dish is often served as a side to accompany grilled meats, but don’t be afraid to try it as a main course! A surprisingly filling meal, escalivada is prepared by grilling and smoking a variety of vegetables on the glowing coals of a wood fire. A hearty and filling dish, it commonly includes aubergine, sweet red peppers, onion, tomatoes, and garlic.


Escalivada with garlic and parsley – Credit

3. Cargols

Don’t be squeamish, this is the Catalan take on escargot! As with escalivada, this dish is widely available as both a main course and a side dish. The snails are cooked in garlic and vinegar on a coal fire, and are often served with a very spicy sauce. A true Catalan delicacy, this is a specialty that you definitely don’t want to miss.


Cargols a la llauna – Credit

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My Big Fat Skinny Fish Sandwich

Baked Fish Sandwich

So, at the last minute I invited my mom for dinner yesterday.  She wanted to know what we were having.


After a little thought, I realized my mom’s favorite savory indulgence is a fish sandwich.  Basically if there’s a fish sandwich on the menu anywhere, that is what she will order.

The trouble with that is fish sandwiches are usually fried (eek!) and covered in a mayonnaise-based tartar sauce.  Can you even imagine the calories and fat grams?

Meh, I know you guys don’t care that much about healthy food in theory.  But in practice, it makes you feel better about yourself and ultimately can taste even better than the fried stuff.  It’s true.
Baked Fish Sandwiches

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Non-Crappy Museum Food: It Exists!


This pretty much sums up the way I feel about Ceviche:

Knock Knock

– “Who’s there?”

– “Ceviche

– “WHY are you still wearing pants?!”

I did a lot of ES reading before I gathered up the courage to confess my love to it, and my mild obsession lead me to learn that a couple of ES peeps reside in DC and I’m guessing a good amount of readers too. It just so happens that in an attempt to find employment as a recent graduate, I went to DC a few weeks back in a quest for a job. However, what I found was even better; one hell of a ceviche.

A friend encouraged me to go to the National Museum of the American Indian, both for the rad exhibits and the food and OH LORD am I glad I went! The collections were impressive but I’m not going to lie—I spent the majority of the time drooling over the food at the cafeteria (does that make me a terrible person?)

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New Year’s Resolution: Eat More Healthy Poboys

Healthy Poboy

You know what time it is.  Time to lighten things up.  Time to acknowledge our jeans are a little tighter after all the holiday treats.

Time for food makeovers.

I just got back from a New Years’ trip to New Orleans and had my first “authentic” shrimp poboy.  After 2 hours of waiting (1 hour in line to order and 1 hour waiting on the food–seriously), I was ready to dig in. Honestly?  I was kind of disappointed.  I’m not going to name the famous establishment in which I ate, but it definitely made me go “hmmm..”

original poboy

Ahhh, the picture is beautiful, no? Unfortunately, the shrimp was bland and overly coated in dry cornmeal batter, there was waaay too much bread, and there was no remolaude sauce.  What?  Isn’t the sauce the whole point??


Well, I’m not eating that sort of thing anymore.  I’m cleaning things up.

The irony is, that this one was so much better.  Trust me guys.  I’m incapable of telling lies.

Healthier Shrimp Poboy

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