Goan Eatings

Goan (Goa, and it’s vicinities, India) cuisine is a melange of Konkan, Portuguese and Arabic influences. While Goa’s two major communities—Hindus and Catholics—both make liberal use of spices and seafood, Catholics use coconut vinegar, beef and pork—ingredients introduced by the Portuguese. The colonisers also introduced bread-making techniques and foodstuffs brought from other international colonies such as chilli, cashew nut, guava, pineapple, tomato and potato. Their dishes were given local twists: the spicy vinegar-infused vindaloo is a Goan version of a Portuguese meat stew cooked with garlic and wine (vinho e alhos). Here are five ways to discover how locals use spices and fresh produce to create mouth-watering dishes.

Take a spice plantation tour
Several spice plantations clustered around Ponda in south Goa offer an introductory tour, followed by a traditional lunch. This is an interesting way to learn about the organic cultivation of spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg; trees such as cashew and areca nut; and fruits such as jackfruit, custard apple, mango and pineapple.

Goa has several excellent restaurants which represent the culinary diversity of the state. Among the best is Panaji’s Mum’s Kitchen, which offers a mix of familiar dishes like xacuti (a curry with coconut, spices and poppy seeds), balchao (a fiery tomato-chilli curry) and cafreal (fried chicken marinated with spices).

Cook like a Goan
If your passion for food goes beyond eating, enrol yourself at the Siolim Cooking School to discover local culinary secrets. The classes are conducted at Siolim House, a heritage hotel in Bardez. Participants are taken to a market, introduced to local spices and ingredients, and given insights into the cultural and religious importance of food. They are also taught well-known Goan dishes such as chicken cafreal, pork sorpotel (a spicy curry of vinegar and chillies), xacuti and fish curry. Siolim House also runs cooking holidays for hotel guests.

Happy eating and traveling
Source of this article is Happy Trips here.

Ethnic Food in Los Angeles – Travel Eating

Los Angles is the microcosm of the world in terms of food from far-flung and exotic places. This may catch some people by surprise, but it is true.

I love to eat exotic foods. Andrew Zimmern’s show is one of my favorite food shows.

Food is a fellowship food across the cultures. People gather together over different religious celebrations to break bread. Hence we can know the culture partly by what foods they eat, how they eat, and what rituals they employ.

Now LA has food water holes by small sets of people from around the world. they are small enough to escape (out of fear or mistrust) the regular run-of-the-mill tourist. Uzbek, Islamic Chinese, Issan thai to name a few.

For example – Pico Boulevard, close to downtown – has food from Oaxaca area of Mexico (most southern part of mexico). Mind you it is not the mexican restaurant that one can find anywhere – it has the unique flavors of the Oaxaca region – with its own style of food preparation. Or what about jalisco cuisine from Mexico, its right there, or Birria (a goat stew) from Distrito Federal of Mexico, right there. Mama’s Hot tamales at Mac Arthur park, and one of the best pastrami can be had at Langer’s deli.

Rowland Heights driving east on 605 has had a long history of fantastic Chinese foods – the number 1 noodle house (you have to know Chinese to find it in the first place) has Saliva chicken noodle soup (it tastes really good when tears are dropping into your soup because of the heat, and you need a bib for panting like a dog). What about szechuan food – spicy and mouth watering? Its right there.

Now the Chinese restaurants are San-Gabriel Valley are unlike the Chinese restaurants of other cities. Other cities reflects a collective notion of a generalized term ‘Chinese food’, but here we have pockets of places to eat reflecting pockets of places from other countries. Insular and tight – good when it comes to authentic food.

Muslim style Korean restaurant anyone? – one can find it in downtown LA serving among other things – Bull testicles barbeque!!, Korean beef liver shashimi right there in Korea town. Sea squirts with pickled mackerel egg. Yummy!

In Hollywood one can get menus with hard-to-find Southern Thai specialties – sour oxtail soup, dried mudfish curry, fish and kidney curry pickled crab salad at Jitlada restaurant.

Happy Journey eating!

PS: The material for this post is taken from Nov 9th 2009 edition of the New Yorker online archives (paid subscription, unfortunately). Its on Jonathan Gold who won the first Pulitzer prize for a food critique ever. The title of the article is – The Scavenger —-Pig’s ear, octopus, and fish-kidney curry with L.A.’s most adventurous eater, by Dana Goodyear