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Of Goan Food, Drinks, ‘Feels’ and Stay

I went to Goa with my parents. And trust me, it was fun. For one, you really don’t have to worry about money when you’re out travelling, shopping, eating or drinking. Secondly, you have a 90% success rate of going to all the places YOU want to go to, instead of compromising for the sake of your friends.

 Baga Balcony Glass Windows

Now I stayed in Goa for 4 nights, two of which were in Baga and the other two in Candolim. Both places were booked via Airbnb. One advice: Avoid booking a hotel room, even if it’s near a beach (I don’t understand people’s obsession with beaches; they’re quite dirty and crowded). Instead,....... an apartment with a fully functional kitchen or a room which is attached to a bungalow where the owner stays so you get a feel of the place. Remember the first contact with a new place is the people. So when you’re in Goa make it a point to hear atleast 5 people speak in Konkani during your first 12 hours in the state.

Baga Room walkway

The first place in Baga where we stayed was on the first floor of a bungalow (called Anna Mews) which had a separate entrance for us. It was a quiet lane, just a 2 minute walk away from the main road and 5 minute walk from the beach. The second place in Candolim was an apartment in a building called Acron Homes Elite. This place was away from the noise with a view of the green fields and a pool. A fully furnished 1 BHK flat with two ACs, TVs, washing machine, fridge, microwave (basically a modular kitchen) and a balcony on the 2nd floor.

Candolim Apartment View

 The first evening was spent in unwinding and taking a stroll down the streets (which was a very good idea because it added to getting a ‘feel’ of the place and at the same time helped us check out the restaurants). Baga and Calangute are tourist hubs so there is no shortage of eating places. Vegetarians need not worry as there are quite a lot of pure veg joints (Annapurna and Sagar) also. Now not all restaurants do well, so there’s no actual way of knowing whether the food served is of good quality or no (even the prices don’t help. All restaurants charge roughly the same). Best is to find out beforehand what places to eat at (you don’t want to end up at a place famous for fish thali for dinner).

One thing you should make sure of before stepping out for a meal is to check whether or not the place is popular (and if the food is good as well). PS – Popular and not expensive. There is a difference. A restaurant or shack may be expensive but the food may not be great. No point in spending your money if you’re anyways going to be hungry after paying up a bill of Rs.2000 (seafood isn’t really filling). When in Goa, don’t forget to eat Fish Thaali, king sized prawns and whatever kind of fish you can get your hands on. Also, even though everyone says “Goa jaake nhi peeya toh kya kiya?” don’t get so drunk that you can’t remember what you did the previous day (or night, for that matter).

Thalassa Riverfront

Some good places to check out for food are:
  •  Infantaria, Baga for breakfast – A little bit expensive but there is always crowd there from 9:30am onwards so don’t be late.
  • Copper Leaf, Baga (I didn't eat here on this trip) and Ritz Classic, Panjim for lunch (particularly fish thali) – A lot of people had recommended these two places.
  • Grills and Curries in Candolim for lunch – We ate here and my mom wouldn’t stop raving about how good their fish curry and rice was.
  • Thalassa, Siolim for dinner – a waterfront restaurant with a view of the sunset.
  • Fisherman’s Cove, Candolim for dinner– Little more than your average pricing, but worth it. Live English country music, good crowd (waiting upto 20mins after 9:30pm) and dancing in between tables.
Note: Fish thaali is served only for lunch and not during dinner time.

As for grocery shopping if you want to cook at home, there are small shops (not your regular sabzi mandi which sells vegetables). Also, for other stuff like utility, packaged food, electronic appliances, wine, cold drinks, bakery products, alcohol etc there is Newton’s in Candolim which is a supermarket (more expensive than Dmart, along the lines of 7Eleven in Thailand) which is open till 1am.

This was the food and drinks (surprisingly my father decided to put a stop to his alcohol consumption for good after our first night in Goa. Wonders of goan soil and air I guess) part of the trip.

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Part 1 - Around Goa in 72 hours

Others would ask, “Goa jaake peeya nhi toh kya kiya?”. I, on the other hand would ask, “Goa jaake ghuma nhi toh kya kiya?” Now one would tell you that churches, beaches, drinking and clubbing are the only things to go for in Goa. But that isn’t the case at all. There sure is a lot more to do than just sit in your room or laze around the beach. Especially when you’ve driven 14 hours to reach your destination. Phew.

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The journey is more important than the destination. I learnt driving 2 years ago (enrolled for a driving class 3 days after my 18th birthday) and since then I’ve driven on every possible type of road. But I wanted more. Flying by air didn’t excite me. I wanted to look out of the window to trees and open roads; not clouds. 2 weeks ago after lots of pleading or logical reasoning (as I like to put it), I finally convinced my parents to accompany me on a road trip to Goa. At first, they were a bit apprehensive of the length of the journey (owing to previous bad experiences with bus travelling), but then again, you gotta do what you want to do.

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