A tryst with Goa – Looking beyond the Bebinca and Port Wine


 There is probably nothing better than the sights and smells of the local markets to experience the character of a place! When you’re done with the sun, sand and surf on your Goan holiday, try exploring the busy MMC market in South Goa. It’s a must visit if you are interested in sampling local produce. And who knows what a jaunt down the narrow, buzzing alleys of the market is likely to fill up your shopping basket with!

MMC stands for the Madgaon Municipal Council. Locate MMC market on a map here – http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa/margao-madgaon/shopping/markets-streets-arcades/mmc-new-market

 Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The distinct aroma of dried red chillies follows you around persistently through the market – there can never be a dull moment! Did you know that it was the Portugese explorers who first introduced Goa (and India) to chilli peppers? Since then, the spice has become an integral part of cuisine all over the country. And at the MMC market, you must pick up your packet of the wonderful Goan vindaloo paste, an almost radioactively hot blend of red chillies and other spices. 1-Image-1-31

Moves like Jagger(y)

Have a sweet tooth? Then you must sample Coconut Palm Jaggery! Made from coconut palm juice, it is dark brown in color. Although sweet, it is high on natural salts and minerals – thereby scoring brownie points among the health conscious. It is just a sweet, sweet fantasy baby!1-Image-1-44

Magic Masala

Even if you’ve spent only a day in Goa, chances are that you’ve sampled a Xacuti dish. Pronounced ‘shakuti’, the masala (fine ground powder) is a heady concoction of  poppy seeds, grated coconut and chillies. Pick up a packet of homemade Xacuti masala and take a slice of Goan heaven back with you, to prep your own chicken, mutton, pork or fish Xacuti when the mind drifts back to the sunshine state.

Pick(le) me up

The local prawn and mackerel pickles are absolutely slurrp-y! If you have a taste for sea food, choose between the mackerel para (made from dried fish) or the prawn molho (made from white prawns). Then again, why choose? Go for them both!1-Image-1-43

Is it a bird? Is it a fish? No, it is Bombay Duck!

Sukha Bombil (dried Bombay Duck) is yet another delicacy, if you do not mind the strong smell. And yes, it is a fish, not a duck! There is an interesting story around about how the fish got its peculiar name. During the British Raj, the fish was transported on a train called the Bombay Daak. Daak is the Hindi word for ‘mail’. The rather catchy name stuck on and eventually the fish came to be ubiquitously known as Bombay Duck. That does not take away anything from its taste though! Sukha Bombil with rice and curry is soul food indeed!1-Image-1-46