Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going, Going, Goa!!

Going to Goa is like a pilgrimage for me. We look forward to a lazy week of doing nothing, eating plenty of superb food, reading and generally lazing around. K and I like to drive from Mumbai all the way to Goa. Well, he does all the driving, I just enjoy the ride! And there were, once again, on our way back to that wonderful place, Goa.

At Mangaon we stopped at a little shop on the main road itself for some fresh mango kulfi. K enjoyed it so much we stopped here again on the way back. This massive slab of kulfi cost all of Rs.25.

We usually stop overnight somewhere on the way. We have stayed at Ganpatipule on one trip and this time since we were going for a shorter period, decided to drive all the way to Sawantwadi before stopping for the night. If you are ever there and need to stay the night, The Mango is a great option. Exceptionally clean rooms, well furnished, prompt and friendly service and the best prawn curry I've ever eaten! Sawantwadi is also known for its papier mache and wooden handicrafts.

We stopped for lunch at a new highway restaurant on the ghat section before Chiplun. The food was fresh, flavourful and surprisingly not hot with chillies. We found this to be the trend at all the highway stops on the way to Goa and on our return trip too.

Refreshed after a good night's rest at The Mango in Sawantwadi we proceeded towards Goa. There's a major section of the highway being broadened and work was on in full force.

And then there we were! In Goa! We stayed at a resort in Benaulim, further south from Margao. We first stopped at our favourite shop in Margao and stocked up on some ready masala paste packets and choriz pau to munch on. The taste of Goa...fresh and spicy!

Once we'd checked in and dumped our bags we went in search of lunch. Now if you're familiar with Margao you know about Longuinho's. We found a restaurant bearing their name in Benaulim itself and we trooped in ready to pig out on some good Goan grub. Crisp batter fried prawns, Beef chilly fry, and king fish curry with rice. Bring it on!

In the next few days we ate at many places across Goa and made some amazing discoveries too. Whenever I remembered to whip out the camera I took pictures. At other times I was too busy enjoying the smells and flavours so I have no pictures.

If you're in Goa check out Branco Bar and Restaurant in St Inez. The Salted beef tongue was simply divine.

Rava fried Mussels

The Salted Beef Tongue

Pan fried squid with LOTS of garlic!

If you are in South Goa come to Pedro's on Benaulim beach. The best crisp fried squid on Earth is here, I promise. We ordered it twice and they were consistently good. This is one meal I regret not having pictures of.

The drive back was an adventure in itself. It took us roughly 48 hours to get back because we had car trouble. It also was a chance to really connect with locals at Kharepatan and then again in a little village before  Hathkhamba. The car finally said enough a couple of kilometers outside Sanghameshwar so we spent the night there. And discovered amazing food in a hole in the wall little eatery. There were modaks made with Kopra Paak (grated sweetened coconut) with fruit pulp added. It seems this is a local speciality. Sitafal, strawberry, chocolate (!), and mango were available. K proclaimed the mango ones to be the best.

No journey on the Indian highways is complete without stern and sometimes philosophical warnings to drive carefully. Here's my favourite one.

"You are a traveller, not a competitor"

And then there are kulfi and falooda vendors too

Learned people say that the journey is as important as the destination. Truer words were never spoken. What a wonderful country we live in.


Arundhuti said...

Lovely pictures! Hope u had a great time.

Devil's Angel said...

I wanna Go Goa !!!

Ansh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ansh said...

Lovely Pictures. Made me ache for Goa!

Kalyan Karmakar said...

That was quite a journey and the food looks so fresh

Brian Pereira Do Carmo said...

sigh.. I miss home.. :(

Jovi said...

wow... thats an awesome description.. will come back here before heading for GOA!!