What is the special connection that Panaji has with Antartica? How did xacuti get its name? What is the link between Abe Faria and bebinca? These were just a few of the many interesting tidbits that participants were enlightened about on the first ever Secret Food Trail of Panaji organised by Soul Travelling together Goan Foodomania.
Indeed, the rains proved to be no deterrent on June 15 evening as a motley group of history buffs and food enthusiasts gathered for a three-hour walk around Panaji in search of some of the best culinary delights that the capital city has to offer. Alongside, they were also enlightened about the history of this heritage-rich city.
Beginning at a tiny over 40-year-old and often overlooked location situated near the old Patto bridge, with some refreshing ginger lime soda and kokum, the group then proceeded to a café serving some delicious snacks like rissoles, croquettes, and samosas. Alongside, the organisers served up interesting stories behind the food that is synonymous with Goa including xacuti, cafreal, and Goa’s famed local brew feni. The participants themselves joined in offering their own knowledge about Goan food, making for a very interactive and informative session. An over 100-year-old bakery provided a sweet treat as participants sampled their guava cheese also popularly known by the Portuguese name as ‘perada’.
At this point the organisers proceeded to have a little game. Participants were divided into three groups and each of them provided with a little riddle to help them get to their next destination by themselves. The Goan speciality restaurant that they ended up at offered up traditional delicacies – ‘dangar’ (prawn and vegetarian) and ‘tondak’.
A charming little bakery down in Fontainhas served up coconut macaroons, more popularly known as ‘bolinhas’. The walk winded up with a visit to a little nook which is known to serve the best xacuti (chicken and mutton) in town, and the group which started off as strangers to each other parted as friends.