George specializes in Goan cuisine and sea food … how do I know ? Well …
a) It says so on the banner
b) I’ve had the food and IT IS awesome
c) All the locals eat there. One can always be sure that the food is good if the restaurant is always packed and 75% of the people eating are locals.
In the capital Panjim, you’ll find George Bar and Restaurant, right around the corner – going towards Panjim Church. On the first look, It’s an old and rickety looking joint, but they do have an a/c enclosure on the first floor – Called the family room 🙂
Like all the other times we have visited Goa, this time also we had-to-have one meal at George. So a long 3 course lunch it was and very economical too – in Rs. 650 we were full to the brim.
Beer like the rest of Goa is at a reasonable 70-80 bucks for 650ml, for starters we had Prawn Masala (Rs 95). The prawns were coated in an amazingly spicy onion-tomato-chilli-garlic-bellpepper’ish-masala. For main-course we ordered Squid xacuti (Rs110), Pork Vindaloo (Rs80) and Fish-curry-rice (Rs100) … Ya ! I know its sounds like a lot and it was but we wanted to get a taste of everything – And we managed to finish everything 🙂 We ended our meal with a bowl of Caramel Custard (Rs40).
Goan cuisine is an interesting mix of varied influences, apart from the seafood – chicken, beef and pork are part of the goan food tradition. Some dishes that will be on all menus in a Goa restaurant are – xacuti, sopotel, vindaloo and cafreal.
Vinhalhos / Vindaloo – is ‘vinho’ for wine, ‘alhos’ for garlic (Portuguese), ‘viande’ – ‘aloo’ for meat (French) – potato (Indian). A very spicy blend of tones of red chilies, garlic, vinegar, some fenni and palm jaggery. (Did you know that one of the ingredients of Pork Vindaloo is coconut fenni ? )
Cafreal is a goan dish of tribal origin. It was supposedly named after the African soldiers or Kaffirs who brought it to Goa centuries ago. In this dish the meat is marinated and deep-fried. The result is rather dry, but spicy dish. This is the equivalent of Portuguese-style grilled chicken and the sauce is made from the left over marinate.
Sorpotel is prepared from meat diced and cooked in a thick and very spicy sauce favored with red chilies, cinnamon, cloves bathed in tangy toddy vinegar. Sorpotel keeps for several days, and is actually considered to taste better the day after (something like our ma-ki-dal).
Xacuti (pronounced as sha-coo-ti), has its origins in Portuguese cooking. It has lots of earthy spices like nutmeg, coriander, turmeric, chilies, ginger and cloves. Additionally tamarind and lemon juice make for a pungent curry.
I also picked up some ready-to-cook-curry-packets in Goa. Crossing-my-fingers they turn out well !