Goa, the land where the east meets the west. As a place that was colonized by the Portuguese for over four centuries, and also briefly ruled by Hindu and Muslim kingdoms prior to that, the influences are evident. From the architecture, lifestyle, and culture to the food, these influences have amalgamated to become the Goa we know today.
Over the centuries, the Goan cuisine has drawn inspiration from the cultures that it came in contact with…Portuguese, French, Konkan, Malaysian, Brazilian, African, Malabar and Chinese. The contributions of the three main communities of Goa – Christians, Hindus, and Muslims — to the cuisine are reflected in Goan cuisine.
When the Portuguese came to India, they came as traders who brought with them goods like potatoes, cashew nuts, passionfruit amongst others. They also brought meats like pork and beef, vinegar and bread. The local recipes were thus transformed leading to a change in the local food habits and lifestyle. It gave birth to the dishes like Pork Vindaloo, Prawn Balchao – dishes that are the stars of Goan cuisine today.
Goan cuisine primarily focuses on all four tastes – sweet, sour, spicy and salty. The Hindu Goan and the Christian Goan styles while distinctively different from each other still use all four elements.