Wayanad is a beautiful hill station in the Western Ghats Mountains of Kerala. This area is known for its beautiful greenery and perfect climate. Many people come to see the dramatic waterfalls and caves. With many wildlife sanctuaries, visitors are drawn here to see many different species of animals. It is a very pleasant place to live or visit since it is so quiet and peaceful. 

 

With just one day planned for our visit to Wayanad we had to spend our time wisely. We hired a driver who knew this area very well. He found everything I had on my list to see. His knowledge of tea, coffee, spices, produce and everything Kerala was very impressive. We drove up into the mountains that were covered with a light mist that made the trip more amazing and mysterious.

 

A beautiful morning from the top of the Ghat Mountains in Wayanad, Kerala, India.

A beautiful morning from the top of the Ghat Mountains in Wayanad, Kerala, India.

 

Tea plantation

Our first stop was at the Ripon Tea Estate.  We arrived just as the crew of women harvesters was finishing their morning work. Apparently, tea can only be picked in the early morning and the late afternoon when the juices in the leaves are at their peak. The women pick only the top two bright green leaves and the tiny bud of new growth as they are the most tender. These leaves are collected in mesh bags that are carried back to the central loading dock on top of their heads. Each bag is weighed and then loaded on to a truck so the tealeaves taken to the factory to be processed and aged.

 

Freshly picked tea leaves in Wayanad, Kerala.

Freshly picked tea leaves in Wayanad, Kerala.

 

 

Professional tea pickers have just finished their morning work.

Professional tea pickers have just finished their morning work.

Tea bushes are about 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. They are planted close together with just enough room between them for the women who harvest this precious crop to pass between them. Fields of tea plants run up and down the hills of the Western Ghats for drainage. The green fields are absolutely gorgeous as the elevation changes. As a farm manager, I have to admit this is just as beautiful as an Iowa cornfield in July.

 

Tea bushes grow up the hills in Waynad.

Tea bushes grow up the hills in Waynad.

 

Coffee plantation

Our next stop was a coffee plantation. The Cottanad Plantation was situated on hillsides to allow the rain from the monsoons to run off and not swamp the trees. 

 

Entrance to the Cottanad Coffee Plantation

Entrance to the Cottanad Coffee Plantation

 

The plants grow to a height of about 10 feet. One thing I noticed right away is that several types of trees, including spices and palm trees, grew right along side the coffee trees. At first glance one would think that various seeds were mixed together when the trees were planted but that is not correct. It was intentional. The intermixing of trees of various heights and the shade they offer, do two things. First, the flavor of the coffee beans is enhanced when planted by spice trees. Second, planting under the canopy of taller trees creates shade that improves the yield of the coffee fruit. When the coffee plant fruit turns red (after 7 or 8 months) it is time for them to be picked by hand as they are gathered in buckets and then taken to the factory where they are dried in the sun before they are roasted.

 

Coffee tree with its fruit ready to be harvested.

Coffee tree with its fruit ready to be harvested.


So much of the land in Wayanad is under production with coffee, tea and spices that it is absolutely stunning.

 

The next stop: Meeting Roopa. 

 

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While still planning my trip last fall, my sister-in-law, Bindi, told me that she was going to be antique shopping when she went to Kerala. I thought that was a good idea that sounded like fun so, when my husband and I were in Calicut, we did the exact same thing.

 

Back again on S.M. Street we stopped in at Indian Metals (yes, that is the real name and, no, it is not very original but it is clear) that sold many different types of metal home products. From the brass lanterns, candlesticks and bowls to aluminum pots, this store was crowded from floor to ceiling with merchandise. 

 

The Indian Metals store sells new and antique brass items.

The Indian Metals store sells new and antique brass items.

 

After we entered the shop, we asked the salesman if he had any paras. A para is a fairly large container (looks like a bucket) that was used to measure rice over a hundred years ago when farmers took their crops to market. I am told that each one would hold about 15 pounds of paddy. They are no longer used for measuring rice since India adopted the metric system. Paras had additional uses as well. They would be filled with rice at the end of harvest and used as an offering to the gods. Also, they are filled with rice and topped with a few flowers to welcome important guests to one’s home. The original paras were made from a single hollowed out piece of wood and decorated with bands of brass around the top and bottom for support. Today they are made out of brass.

 

New brass parras.

New brass parras.

 

The salesman showed us several versions of the modern brass paras in various sizes but only had one antique. I deliberated for quite a while because the modern ones looked like really good quality brass that I would be proud to display in my house. Finally we decided to buy the antique one because it was so lovely and unique.

 

New brass parras.

New brass parras.

 

Now we head to Wayanad for coffee, tea and an elephant…

 

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In the old part of town, S.M. Street (short for Sweet Meat Street) is the center of the shopping district. Here one can buy clothes, household goods, antiques, spices and, best of all, snacks and sweets. Since the street is narrow, it is best to park the car and walk around to get the full effect of the atmosphere.

 

SM Street in Calicut, Kerala, India is a shopping adventure not to be missed.

SM Street in Calicut, Kerala, India is a shopping adventure not to be missed.

 

Sankaran Bakery in SM Street in Calicut has the best banana chips in the world.

Sankaran Bakery in SM Street in Calicut has the best banana chips in the world.

I consider my father-in-law to be the world’s leading authority on snacks and sweets since he consumes them every day. Our first stop was the Sankaran Bakery. There we purchased several different varieties of banana chips. Since my favorites are the whole sliced chips, we bought about 3 kilograms (only about 6.5 pounds). These are light and crispy circular banana slices that are lightly salted. We also bought sliced chips that have been cut into quarter, just like pieces of pie. They are crunchier than my favorite but are just as tasty. The third type we bought was the sweet variety that is coated in jaggery after they are fried. My husband loves these. I will confess now that at least a half-pound of chips did not survive to see the next day. Kerala is also known for other fried snacks as well. As you can see from the photo, mixtures with different types of ingredients are common (like Chex Mix). All are crunchy and crispy but vary by level of heat and sweetness. When freshly prepared, there is nothing better with a beer or a scotch than Kerala snacks!

 

 

Inside the Sankaran Bakery in Calicut, India.

Inside the Sankaran Bakery in Calicut, India.

 

Sankaran Bakery also sells delicious desserts. We bought a few pieces of Mysore Paak (a dessert made with ghee, sugar and gram flour that is so sweet and delicious, it should be illegal) and Laddus (made with flour and sugar, and equally delicious). The owner of the store gave me a few pieces to ‘test’ because I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to nibble on them. I wonder if he thought I was an eccentric tourist who needed a sugar fix. He and the staff were very patient with me as I took several photos of them and the shop.

 

Kalpaka Bakery in SM Street in Calicut has delicious halwa in 20 flavors.

Kalpaka Bakery in SM Street in Calicut has delicious halwa in 20 flavors.

Just a short distance from Sankaran Bakery is Kalpaka Bakery and Halva Stores. My husband and I stopped there because of the huge display of dates in the front case. After eating at least a half dozen each day we were in Dubai, I was hooked and wanted more fresh ones. Once we stepped inside the shop, I came to a sudden stop when I saw the entire back wall and side wall were filled with huge blocks of halwa in every color of the spectrum.  Many countries from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and South Asia have their own version of halwa. In India, it looks like a large piece of fruit jelly candy but the flavor doesn’t compare because it is from fruit or nuts, not flavoring. The owner told me they carry 20 different varieties of halva including strawberry, banana, apricot, pineapple, pistachio, coconut and the famous Kerala black halwa.

 

For years I had turned up my nose at black halwa (also known as Kozhikode halwa) because I didn’t like the color. When I was offered a taste at Kalpaka Bakery, I changed my mind and decided I loved it. Made with rice flour, coconut, dark jaggery and ghee, it is a very decadent sweet that melts in your mouth. The flavor is quite unique – my first impression was that it tasted like India: dark, rich, and sophisticated. No wonder it is my husband’s favorite halwa.

 

A small sample of the delicious halwa at Kalpaka Bakery in Calicut, India.

A small sample of the delicious halwa at Kalpaka Bakery in Calicut, India.

 

From here, we went shopping for things that are a lot less fattening…

 

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After our delightful experience on the houseboat, we checked in to our rooms for the remainder of our stay. We were thrilled when we learned that our river view rooms had been upgraded to river front cottages!

 

The rooms were huge. Large enough to require 2 ceiling fans, this air-conditioned cottage was more like a suite with living and kitchen areas, private sit out balcony and a bay window seat. This window, complete with beautiful round pillows is the best place to feel like you are in a tree house, as high up as the coconuts, with the best view of paradise.

 

Our bungalow high up in the trees overlooking the river.

Our bungalow high up in the trees overlooking the river.

I have to admit that the nights I spent at the resort were the best night’s sleep I had since leaving Dallas. The peace and quiet along with a comfy bed…..

 

Gardens at Gardens at the Kadavu Resort in Calicut, Kerala.

Gardens at Gardens at the Kadavu Resort in Calicut, Kerala.

Each day we dined at the Oottupura restaurant that serves traditional Malabar cuisine. The menu offers a variety of food in addition to lovely breakfast and dinner buffets. The food is traditional Kerala cuisine. The dining room is attractive, comfortable and clean offering both indoor and outdoor seating with views of the river. The staff was very helpful and responsive; it didn’t matter if I made a request of someone who was not our waiter, it was handled immediately and courteously. The staff answered all of our questions and knew the menu well. On one occasion, our late lunch seemed to take too long to be served but that may be due to the lateness of our arrival and the fact that we were in a hurry. The menu was very reasonably priced.

 

My only regret is that the restaurant called Uru, which serves Malabar cuisine as well as several international cuisines, was closed for renovations during our visit.

 

In my next post, I will search for the best banana chips and sweets, two items for which Kerala is famous.

Flowers in the garden at Gardens at the Kadavu Resort in Calicut, Kerala.

Flowers in the garden at Gardens at the Kadavu Resort in Calicut, Kerala.

 

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Since my last trip to Kerala, I had wanted to ride on a houseboat. I had learned that people rent them for weeks at a time for a restful vacation. With the luxury options ranging from simple mosquito netting to air-conditioned rooms and gourmet cooks who prepare freshly caught fish for your meals, a trip on one of these special boats would be a real treat. When checking out where we would stay in Calicut, I learned that this hotel offered a houseboat option. I immediately told my husband that we needed to do this for one night.

 

 

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is based on the authentic recipe from Goa India.

Boarding the houseboat at the resort.

 

Upon our arrival at the resort, we immediately checked at the houseboat and placed orders for our dinner. (The food for the houseboat was actually cooked in the hotel kitchen and delivered to the houseboat so I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to worry about food safety.) Our room was lovely with its wooden walls. I was impressed to note that, in addition to a fruit tray, the room was equipped with a full bathroom and shower with fluffy towels. Personally, I think my father-in-law was impressed with the TV and DVD player.

 

One of the bedrooms on the houseboat.

One of the bedrooms on the houseboat.

 

After we were settled, out dinner was served. With the overhead fan mosquitoes didn’t bother us so we could enjoy a delicious meal that was served by a charming and polished waiter. He was prompt and very helpful without seeming obsequious. We dined on who knows what. One dish, Fish Tikka Ajwaini, was superb – lovely spices in the masala and cooked to perfection.

 

After dinner we spent a pleasant evening in our cabin. The beds were just as comfortable as those in the guest rooms as the hotel. I appreciated knowing that the crew slept on the boat in case anything happened.

 

The following morning we dined on tasty masala dosas, sambar, idli, fruit and delicious south Indian filter coffee. Breakfast was excellent. I have to admit that, thanks to my mother-in-law, I am a sambar snob. In the U.S., most restaurants’ sambar is watery and tasteless. The Kadavu Resort kitchen knows how to make it correctly: right spices, thickness and flavor. 

 

After the delicious meal, we enjoyed a restful four-hour cruise up and down the backwaters of Kerala. The ride was smooth and relaxing. If my husband and I had been alone, it would have been a romantic trip suitable for a 25th wedding anniversary (or a honeymoon if we were younger). As the sun rose over the water, I could see the trees try to emerge from the heavy fog. I was stunned with the quiet beauty of the river. Coconut trees fought each other to reach the sun. They grew thickly to the bank of the river and many grew horizontally.

 

A view of the riverbank

A view of the riverbank

 

Many houses had been built along the river. I noticed that many of them were huge, even by Texas standards. I was informed that they had been built with the money earned by people who had worked in the Middle East. I have to admit that they were stunning. Several homeowners creatively planted gardens right along the river. In addition to the houses, we saw several tile factories and their tall smoke stacks. I enjoyed watching the men in several boats haul river sand into their crafts to the trucks that were waiting on the river’s edge. Many of these men waved as we cruised by. 

 

Men hauling sand down river for brick making.

Men hauling sand down river for brick making.

 

We even passed a boat with tourists who were photographing us as we photographed them. I’m sure it was a funny sight.

 

Men hauling sand down river for brick making.

Tourists taking photos.

 

All too soon the trip came to an end and we had to leave the boat. After saying thank you to the friendly and helpful crew we headed back to the lobby to check in to our rooms for the next step of our Kerala adventure.

 

Men hauling sand down river for brick making.

What a peaceful view.

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Goa is a land that is known as an international tourist paradise for its vast beaches, tropical greenery, diverse history, and, of course, exquisite cuisine. The best feature of this Indian state though is its friendly people.

narrow street full of shops and restaurants outside of our hotel

Narrow street full of shops and restaurants outside of our hotel.

 

After stepping out of our hotel onto the main road, we walked for miles up and down Fort Aguada Road. The road was filled with tourists looking for an open-air restaurant, a good buy on souvenirs or just enjoying the scenery. My husband noticed that most of the restaurants posted their menus in Russian as well as in English because most of the tourists spoke Russian as opposed to a European language. One thing that impressed me about Goa is the consistently good sidewalks across the state (unlike those in many of the large cities in India). I was glad to see that cows still roam freely on the roads.

 

local cow searching for food along the street

Local cow searching for food along the street

 

During one tour, we started the day in Old Goa with its impressive old buildings and churches that were built by the Portuguese in the 1500s. We stopped at the Sé Cathedral and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which, despite their need for more aggressive preservation, attract many tourists and students each day. We ended the day at Fort Aguada in Candolim, the largest and best preserved fort in Goa, that was built in the early 1600s to protect the area from the Dutch. On top of the fort is a lighthouse that was built much later to aid ships in the area. These historical monuments remind us of the contribution made by the Portuguese to the Goa of today.

 

 

DSC_0684-1 ed sm

Sé Cathedral in Old Goa

 

part of the old Fort Aguada in Goa

part of the old Fort Aguada in Goa

 

Goa is famous for its beaches that run along the western coast. The water here is clean and calm; the sand is warm and plentiful. The one by our hotel in North Goa, Candolim Beach, is clean and popular for water sports. We ate every meal looking out over it. Unfortunately we never made it in time to watch a sunset. In contrast, Dona Paula Beach, in South Goa, is full of activity with vendors selling t-shirts, scarves and snacks along the beautiful pedestrian wharf. Since the town has grown right up to the beach road, it is more of an attraction than a quiet place.

Candolim Beach in north Goa is a popular tourist destination

Candolim Beach in north Goa is a popular tourist destination

 

Goa is special because of its people. They were very friendly and helpful. I especially enjoyed meeting the children. They were so friendly and wanted to be in my photographs. We had a great time meeting people in Goa. They generously gave us a trip we will remember forever.

 

Now, on to Calicut in Kerala…

 

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Since I am interested not only in cooked food but the ingredients that go into a recipe I wanted to check out the Friday market that happens weekly in Mapusa (pronounced map’-sa). It is the largest city in northern Goa. A (part time) farm manager by day, I am interested in all aspects of creating food, from soil conservation, fertilizer use and methods of farming to chopping, spicing and cooking a delicious entrée. I am interested in food from end to end.

 

We hired a driver and car to take us to Mapusa. As we approached the market I realized it was huge based on the number of motorcyces lined up along the periphery. I couldn’t wait to get inside to see what was for sale.

 

Jewelry and silver trinkets for sale in the Mapusa, Goa Friday market.

Jewelry and silver trinkets for sale in the Mapusa, Goa Friday market.

I found vendors selling clothing and textiles for the home, shoes, ropes, brooms, plastic storage bins and buckets. Some sold lovely antiques and beautiful silver jewelry. I purchased two silver coated wooden elephants for my adult children. After haggling a bit on the price, I left the booth with my prizes. Haggling is the way business is done here so it becomes a game to see how successful one can be at negotiating the best price. The vendors were very friendly and wanted to me to buy everything even though I didn’t need or want it. How would I carry one of everything from every vendor in the market home in my suitcase?

 

 

Several vendors sold dried, ground spices like turmeric, chile powder and cumin. Of course they all sold saffron. (I bought another 5 or 6 grams because I now know that I hadn’t been using it liberally enough in the past. See my post Dubai’s Incredible Spice Souk. I also saw many masalas, or spice blends, that I really wanted to try but wasn’t sure I could get it through Customs. I did buy some garlic chile masala with kokum in it that could be used to season almost any meat dish and looked really tasty. 

 

Spices galore at the Mapusa Friday Market.

Spices galore at the Mapusa Friday Market.

I was intrigued by the varieties of tea that were for sale. I expected to see different grades and types of black tea. Oh no. I saw black tea, green tea, white tea and herbal tea as well as different flavors of these teas (masala, chocolate, strawberry, pineapple, jasmine,…). I simply had to pick up some lemongrass tea and strawberry black tea. My next stop is what floored me.

 

At one end of the market, all of the produce vendors set up their stands. I was amazed at the quantity and quality of the produce. There were several aisles packed with vendors; I couldn’t even count the number. Huge heads of cauliflower, ripe red tomatoes and piles of carrots went on and on. One vendor had a mountain of green beans that rose above his waist! Another vendor had over a hundred stems of bananas ready to be cut and sold. So much fresh food was available. I wondered if all of this food would be sold but I realized that it was Friday and people needed to purchase items to cook over the weekend. Somehow I think that the market would be close to empty by end of the day.

One of the many fresh produce vendors.

One of the many fresh produce vendors.

 

Filled with tourists, neighbors and locals, the market was a lot of fun for everyone. I believe that the prices I paid were quite reasonable and far lower than I would have paid elsewhere. I had a great time at the market. Unfortunately my husband had to drag me away so we could get to the airport in time to catch our flight.

 


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The driver we hired during our stay in Goa did an outstanding job of meeting my requirements. We gave him a list of some of the things we wanted to see and he set out a plan to see as much as we could in a day and we headed to the Sahakara Spice Farm in Curti, east of Ponda.

 

Entrance to Sahakara Spice Farm in Curti, east of Ponda.

Entrance to Sahakara Spice Farm in Curti, east of Ponda.

 

This is a Goan spice farm tour that is intended for tourists who don’t know much about spices. My purposes for visiting were to see various spices grow in their native environment, expand my knowledge and get some pictures. I knew something about all of the spices but learned a few new bits of information on how they are grown. For example, did you know vanilla beans grow on the vanilla orchid which is a vine that grows up trees? Or, that the pepper plant is a creeper that grows black, green and white peppercorns that vary depending on how they are dried, matured or cooked?

 

Tour guide with lemon grass at Sahakara Spice Farm, Goa.

Tour guide with lemon grass at Sahakara Spice Farm, Goa.

 

Collecting beetlenuts from tree to tree.

Collecting beetlenuts from tree to tree.

Upon arrival at the farm, we were given a glass of lemongrass tea with a little cardamom and ginger that was light and refreshing. Soon a group of us headed out into the farm where our guide told us how each of the spices are grown and their medicinal properties: cloves, curry leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, beetlenut, cashews, etc. The guide really knew her spices. We saw a demonstration by a very talented young man who climbed to the top of a beetlenut palm tree to harvest beetlenuts. Without climbing up and down successive trees, he just swings from tree to tree to harvest beetlenuts.

 

Just before the end of the tour, our guide came to an abrupt halt. She quickly turned around and told the group there was a snake ahead on our path. Many of the people became very jumpy; others walked a wide circle around the snake. Me? I calmly walked right by it. It was just a tiny little thing, only 18 inches or so. I’m a Texan now and I was not scared by a tiny green snake. Later I was informed it was poisonous. Ugh.

 

After the tour, we were served a traditional Indian lunch before a sip of cashew feni which is fermented from the fruit of the cashew tree. Apparently it is 40 percent alcohol (90 proof) so it has a kick. Yum!

 

I had a fun time at the spice farm even though the tour is meant for tourists.

 
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Before I left for India, I researched the chef at the Taj Vivanta Holiday Village since I was on a culinary mission to try new cuisine and become inspired with new ideas. I learned about his vast experience throughout the Taj Group and his signature Goan-Portuguese fusion second day at the resort, I asked a front desk representative if I could meet with him. He came out to meet me a short while later.

 

Master Chef Rego told me about the secrets to good Goan cooking and gave me the background on some of his recipes. All Goan cuisine has three elements: sweet, sour and spice. In my experience with various recipes, I hadn’t picked up on that nuance which gives this cuisine is distinctive flavor.

 

A secret ingredient that enhances the flavors is toddy and its derivative, toddy vinegar which is added as a last step in a recipe. Toddy is liquor made from the sap of palm trees that comes from cut palm flowers. It requires a skilled toddy tapper to climb up to the top of the trees each day to collect the sap from the toddy pots that are hung at the top of the trees. It is then distilled to make liquor and vinegar. The liquor is used instead of yeast to make Sannas and other dishes while the vinegar which is very mild is used as a souring agent instead of tamarind or lemon. More about toddy later…

 

In addition he shared with me that ingredients used in his cooking must be the freshest possible. As a young boy, his mother used fish that had been caught that day because the flavor was best. Spices must be freshly ground to release their optimal flavors.

 

He asked me to come to the restaurant for lunch and he would prepare a special meal for me. That was an invitation I could not refuse.

Chef Rego and Ann Vinod at the Beach House at Taj Vivanta Holiday Resort, Goa.

Chef Rego and Ann Vinod at the Beach House at Taj Vivanta Holiday Resort, Goa.

 

When we walked into the dining room at 2:30, our waiter asked my husband and me what we wanted to eat. We replied that Chef Rego was preparing a special meal for us. Soon a beautifully garnished sprouted mung bean and vegetable salad appeared. Made with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and baby corn dressed very lightly, the salad was an excellent start to our meal. (I could eat this as my main dish for lunch because it is so well balanced, healthy and tasty.)

 

This was followed by plates of more beautiful food. In the center was a cutlet made with red snapper on top of a bed of dry fried spinach and coconut. Yum! Arranged on the side was his signature prawns in saffron sauce.  The spices and texture of the sauce blended perfectly with the tender prawns. On the side we tried the famous Balchao Naans that are filled with the rich Balchao masala (made with red chiles and other spices) and a bit of cheese. The blend of spices inside this bread make these naans irresistible. I have not seen Balchao Naan on menus in the U.S. but they would be an instant hit with all diners.

Goan cuisine prepared by Chef Rego.

Goan cuisine prepared by Chef Rego.

 

After we had started eating, Chef Rego joined us at the table where we continued talking. What a fantastic lunch we ate that day: open air restaurant with great atmosphere, very helpful and friendly wait staff, the best food on the planet and delightful engaging company.

 

I was impressed not only by Chef Rego’s skills with food but with the man himself. He was very generous with his time and certainly went above and beyond what was required to please hotel guests. His food is truly outstanding and has left a lasting impression on me. (For the remainder of our stay at the hotel, we only ate off of his menu. My only regret is that we could not try everything on the menu before we had to leave.)

 

Master Chef Rego may be an expert in preparing international cuisines but, as his food clearly showed me, his passion is Goan cuisine.

 

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The Taj resort offered several restaurants. We skipped the Thai restaurant, Banyon Tree, since I was on a mission to try as much Goan cuisine as possible during my visit. On our first night, we were told that the Beach House that specializes in Goan cuisine where the property’s master chef presides was closed for a private party. Instead we dined on the outside deck at Caravela, the informal restaurant. The menu has a wide array of international cuisine but I didn’t want that.

 

Beach House Restaurant at Taj Vivanta Holiday Village

Beach House Restaurant at Taj Vivanta Holiday Village

 

Our waiter at Caravela quickly resolved my disappointment and offered us the menu from the Beach House. I was in heaven. We asked him what he recommended on the menu and had to reduce the list to just a few items. We dined on Recheido (pan grilled Pomfret fish stuffed with masala that is made with toddy) and Prawn Balchao (shrimp in a sweet, sour and spicy masala sauce). These two dishes were incredible with the traditional Goan flavors dancing on my palate. Being a bread-lover we had to try the specialties of the house: Sannas (the Goan version of Idlis, with toddy) and Pao (yeast bread in the shape of a bagel that is cooked twice) – definitely worth the extra calories. For desert, our waiter created a plate with both Dodhol (made with rice flower and jaggery usually reserved for special occasions) and Bebinca (an incredible layered dessert that takes hours to prepare and is incredibly fattening), both traditional Goan specialties. We split the desserts and called dinner a delicious success.

 

The staff in the restaurant was very friendly and helpful. If I asked any one of them a question or made a request, it would be handled immediately and with a smile. They were happy to share their knowledge (and, obviously, their love) of the food as well as of Goa itself.

 

While in Goa, we ate every meal in this restaurant feasting on local Goan specialties. My only regret was that we could not stay longer. I will come back as soon as I can.

 

In my next post, I will share with you the absolute highlight of my entire trip: meeting Chef Rego. 

 

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