When in Goa, dig into Goan Pav Bhaji!
When I am in Goa, there are some things I would not miss: a walk along the Panjim-Miramar riverfront, and on my way back digging into authentic Goan Pav Bhaji!
Early morning, I slip into my walking shoes and head from the Palace (Old Secretariat building) to Miramar beach, a four-km long stretch along the banks of the Mandavi river.
On one side, there are old one-storeyed buildings and bungalows (especially in Campala area) and on the other bank is the Mandavi river surging to merge into the Arabian Sea.
From Kala Academy complex, there is a long stretch of open land till Miramar beach which has been especially reserved for sports and cultural activities. Here we can spot sportspersons — footballers, cricketers, athletes — perfecting their skills on the ground. Not much has changed along this stretch since I was a student at Dhempe College of Arts and Science.
After spending sometime at the Miramar beach, I head back in the opposite direction. But this time in a local bus to a local joint to grab a bite of Goan Pav Bhaji. This is what I look forward to most when I’m holidaying in the beach state! I usually order a Patal Bhaji, my first preference. The Batata or Potato Bhaji is my second choice. In Goa, we can choose from a variety of breads to eat the Bhaji with. There is the common variety of soft Pav which is also available outside Goa, then there is Undo, a square-sized crisp variety of loaf, or the Poi, the flat and round variety.
Coming back to Patal Bhaji, it is not liquid as the name suggests. It is a thick gravy of well-cooked green or white peas. Potato Bhaji, as compared to Patal, is liquid with tomatoes added to it. The third variety, called Mixed Bhaji, combines the two variants.
One has to visit the restaurants or hotels run by the Goenkars if you want to savour the Goan varieties of Pav Bhaji. The best part is that the dish tastes the same at any joint in Panjim, Mapusa or anyother part of the state – provided it’s run by the local populace and not by the migrants settled in Goa. In the Udupi joints, the taste will be different and the ingredients too may differ. Therefore I prefer to walk a few extra meters to search for the authentic food joints to enjoy a good breakfast.
If you have a good appetite, along with Pav Bhaji, you may also order other local delicacies of Batata Wada, Green Chilli Bhajji (pakodas), which might sustain you till afternoon.
A good swim at a nearby beach may help you to lose the extra calories, if you are a diet conscious person. However, I would suggest that the issue of calories should be ignored if you are holidaying in Goa.