Delhi, goa, calcutta, jan-feb 2020

we’ve been in india for about two and a half weeks now. first two weeks in delhi, now in south goa for a week. from here to calcutta for a family wedding for five days. the food has been very good as usual. i’ve posted a couple of reviews of delhi meals so far, of very good dinners from restaurants featuring the food of the north eastern states of manipur and nagaland, respectively. very little of this food will track as “indian” to most people outside (or for that matter, inside) india. has much more in common with south/east asian food.

eat pham
hornbill

posting a lot of goa pics on instagram for those who are interested.

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a few more reports on the blog.

from delhi:

i went back with the missus to bagundi, the andhra specialist in connaught place. we both got fish/seafood thalis and really enjoyed them. there was a crab fry in the seafood thali that was a particular highlight.

closing out a mini-series on north eastern restaurants, i wrote up lunch at nimtho in g-k 1, which specializes in nepali/sikkimese food (the population of sikkim is predominantly nepali).

from goa:

a look today at the market in the village of assolna in south goa. i bought fish and shellfish from there on two occasions. the fish market sits every day; on thursday there’s a larger green market as well. things i purchased and had the cook we hired from the village we were staying in cook: kingfish, mackerel, white pomfret. crab, squid, two kinds of prawns. there was so much more fish available, including many whose identity i have no idea of.

goa restaurant reports will follow in a couple of weeks.

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As always, @MyAnnoyingOpinions, I find these “reports” to be completely engrossing. While I love the food aspects, I am also drawn to the historical and cultural aspects - I learn so much! Thank you.

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Thank you.

jamun in lodhi colony market is an all-rounder in a city/country of specialists, serving a pan-indian menu of dishes from different regions. not everything at our dinner was great but it was on the whole a very good meal (i’d kill to have it in the u.s). many of these dishes are available in better versions in specialist restaurants (and would certainly be better still in the home regions) but this is nonetheless a good way for a visitor to delhi to eat a variety of regional dishes on one menu. recommended, though in the same general genre i prefer cafe lota.

a couple of punjabi restaurants that serve the kind of food most familiar to people outside india:

we really enjoyed the buffet at made in punjab.

but we enjoyed our return to the og punjabi by nature even more.

in between there was another return: cafe lota, the restaurant at the crafts museum continues to be the best pan-regional indian restaurant in delhi and a necessary stop for anyone seeking to expand their indian food horizons.

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okay, done with delhi, on to the goa restaurant reports.

we arrived on the evening on a tuesday and left in the afternoon the next tuesday. had dinner out the first night–all dinners and breakfasts after that were prepared at home by the cook we engaged in the village. the first dinner out was fine but nothing great, and a bit expensive for what it was. worth pointing out here that we were in south goa. on the one hand, this means far fewer tourists and pristine beaches; on the other hand, it also means far fewer options for eating out. our dinner the first night was on a restaurant by the water, aimed at more upscale travelers. things were good but unremarkable. our first lunch the next day was marginal at best. we made the mistake of eating at a beach shack.

this is how the shacks work: they set up comfortable sun beds with umbrellas right by the water which you get to use for free on the unspoken agreement that you will purchase food and drink from them over the course of the day (only very few foreign tourists actually seemed to be keeping up their end of the bargain). some of the food can be brought to your sunbed but the shack proper is a restaurant. their menus are aimed very obviously at european and north indian tourists. i had been warned not to expect anything but the tandoori items to be acceptable but we ordered from the small goan menu anyway. not good. (i’ll have details on shack eating and our first dinner in a separate report soon.) the first cook-made dinner was also not good, due to crossed communication wires. and so we needed lunch next day to be good to salvage my dream of excellent goan food for a week.

to make this happen we booked a table at martin’s corner—about 30 minutes drive from where we were but still south goa. it’s a restaurant that started out small in 1989 but has since expanded/grown into a major place. it was recommended to us from all directions. their menu too features north indian, indian chinese and “continental dishes” but the goan stuff is very much not an afterthought. we couldn’t eat very much of it as we were just the four of us but everything we ate was very good.

herewith some details.