My first taste of Portuguese food was in Goa. The owners of the now restored 213 year old mansion Palácio do Deão, built by a Portuguese nobleman, had opened their doors to visitors for a taste of the traditional cuisine. I don’t remember the names of the dishes now but our hosts Rubem and Celia Vasco da Gama had gone to great lengths to lay out a memorable spread. I do remember the fish cooked to perfection. And the calamari flavored to bring any foodie to raptures.
This old but restored Portuguese mansion made the ideal setting for a traditional meal
I’m glad I captured some of these culinary delights on camera so when I sit back and think of the delicious food, I can supplement my memories with photographs. Of course, the images don’t do justice to the actual taste of the mouth-watering delicacies served, but they only increased my curiosity about the cuisine and food of Portugal.
Goa was a Portuguese colony till as late as 1954 and the influences on the food and culture are indelible.
The Portuguese are said to have brought in potatoes, tomatoes, guavas and even cashews from Brazil to Goa and many of these ingredients today, find their way into Goan dishes, especially the Christian fare.
In my mind, there is no better way to explore a place than through it’s food and cuisine. And as cliched as it might sounds, I do actually live to eat so it seems but a natural way for me to explore a new place. I look forward to my next meal with anticipation, especially when I am travelling. I usually go armed with a list of recommended dishes and make sure I try at least a few of them.
When in South East Asia, it’s difficult to resist a meal without noodles
Not only is exploring local cuisine interesting, but eating as the locals do adds to the whole experience.
I was recently in Vietnam, when I got to sample some really scrumptious local fare. From the traditional pho, to fresh and fried spring rolls, to the gorgeous (and tummy filling) pancakes filled with shrimp and rice, it was definitely a trip to remember for me. I even have memories of what I ate and at which particular place. The little non-assuming roadside eatery in Saigon where we sampled fresh spring rolls for the first time.
A lady cooking fresh spring rolls; this has been her livelihood her whole life is what we’re told
The fish at a homestay in Mekong Delta, served like I’ve never fried seen before. The spring rolls we first learnt to make on a cruise ship and then relished. And the list goes on…
You can’t leave Vietnam without tasting the pho
Streets are lined with sellers who pile up their stock and wait for buyers
The fresh spring roll is both delicious and healthy
I’ll have what he’s having!”
In March of this year, during a trip to Kerala I met with food and travel blogger, photographer Nelson Carvalheiro (and belatedly also found out how famous he really is!). Nelson in fact, through his amazing food pictures and experiences has the ability to bring about the above reaction from any onlooker.
Nelson indulging in a spot of yoga to get rid of all those calories piled up during our Kerala trip
During the trip, our meals were memorable, not only because of the varied spread but because of the fact that it would bring us together to discuss more about our cuisine and influences. We enjoyed authentic Kerala cuisine, the rice delicacies, the avial and stew, the fish cooked in different styles and best of all, the famous Kerala sadya (a multi-spread vegetarian meal) served during festivals but where everyone got a lesson on how to eat with their hands. It was an experience like no other. I was so taken in by the meal served on the houseboat while cruising the backwaters (probably our best!) that I even wrote about the experience.
Yummy egg stew served with fluffy appams in Kerala, India
Another delicacy called putta, with coconut and rice, along with kadla curry
As I head to Europe next in August visiting friends from various regions for the next couple of months, I am definitely looking forward to the more attractive aspect – sampling local fare. From the seafood paella and sangria of Spain to the variety of cheese in France, to the famed seafood and other delicacies of Portugal (if I am given a chance!), I’m surely looking forward to this trip already.
I definitely wouldn’t mind a “foodgasm”. I can’t think of a better way to experience Portugal!
(NOTE: This is an entry for the 16 day food tour of Portugal being conducted by APTECE. More details are here on Nelson’s blog. The last day is July 31.)
2 thoughts on “Savouring the world, one dish a time!”
This is all I dream to do …travel around the world and sample the best food over there ….the pictures are mouthwatering …..
True Samanvay – the best way to travel for sure! :-p Of course, one needs to do lots of exercise to compensate. Which I don’t! 🙂