5 Incredible Goan Dishes to Try

This post is for anyone visiting Goan and wondering what Goan dishes to try. I’ll cover traditional Goan cuisine, the history of Goan cuisine, and the best Goan dishes as recommended by the locals.

Goa is a beautiful coastal state located on India’s western coast, surrounded by the State of Maharashtra to the North, and the State of Karnataka to the South. A former Portuguese colony for 450 years, Goa still retains remnants of its colonial past in the form of incredible ancestral homes & buildings.

Church of Holy Spirit in Margao
And, for us foodies, in its delicious Goan cooking.

Traditional Goan Cuisine & Goan Cuisine History

Goan cuisine is an experience in itself, especially for seafood lovers. The main Goan seafood dish is fish
curry and rice. Cooked in rich spices of Portuguese flavor, vinegar, chilies, and coconut milk, it is the staple diet. We’re huge fans of Indian cuisine – here are 10 kid-friendly Indian foods you have to try, and have to say of all the fish curries we’ve tried thus far, the Goan fish curries are the best we’ve tasted…seriously, there’s nothing better than fish curry Goan style!
Goan fried fish with side of french fries - Goan Dishes to Try
FRESH dry-fried catch of the day in North Goa…delicious!
But, if you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t worry, because Goans love chicken and pork just as much, and prepare them in a variety of dishes such as the ever-famous vindaloo, xacuti, chorizo, and sorpotel. Us Hawaiians love pork, but the way we prepare it is much less spiced. It’s always interesting to learn new cooking methods, from different cultures, of meats we’re familiar with.
Dessert lovers will enjoy tasting the unique Goan sweets, made mainly with coconut, found in abundance throughout the state.

Recommended Culinary Tours in Goa, India

Goa has a fascinating culinary scene, so make sure to check out these culinary and cooking tours when you’re in Goa to learn more about the state’s history and culture.

Goa Indian Vegetarian & Vegan Cooking Class

Cooking classes are a great introduction to a new cuisine. This cooking class, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, will help you learn all about Indian cuisine, the spices used, and how to make some of its most famous dishes…desserts included!

Goa Cooking Class & Market Tour

Take a relaxed and fun cooking class at Rita’s Gourmet Goa, and get an introduction to Indian cuisine. You’ll learn about the traditional spices of Indian cuisine, how to blend them to make exotic masalas…and finally indulge in the fruits of your labor!

5 Goan Dishes To Try

If you’re wondering where to try the best Goan food in Goa, read our post on kid-friendly restaurants in Goa, India! Here are a few famous Goan dishes that come highly recommend from locals to try during your visit to Goa.

Goan Fish Caldine

best goan food
Fresh fish caldine
I tasted fish caldine curry for the first time when we used to live in Dubai and was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Let me tell you, it was one of the tastiest curries I’ve eaten. Indian food can often be very spicy, which doesn’t always suit our palates. Don’t get me wrong, I like me some spice, but I also like to be able to eat without my feeling like my mouth’s on fire! That’s why this Goan fish curry is perfect, especially for the lil kid-foodies – it’s non spicy, yet extremely flavorful and creamy thanks to the coconut milk. In Goa, restaurants will usually let you choose what fish you want in the curry depending on the time of year, but always go for a fleshy fish, or if you prefer, prawns.


Goan Sorpotel


A dish of Portuguese origin, sorpotel is made with pork that’s diced and parboiled, and added to a spicy, vinegary curry. Sorpotel is commonly served at birthday parties or family gatherings. It’s best eaten with sanna, which is a traditional steamed rice cake. In my mind, it is the quintessential Goan dish, and having it homemade is the way to go. When in Goa, there are a couple of places, such as Bhatti Village, where you can go to a Goan’s house and they’ll cook you a traditional meal – ask them to serve up some sorpotel. It doesn’t get more authentic Goan than that.

Goan Sausages


Goans have adapted the Portuguese sausage, linguiça, to make the ever-popular peppery Goan sausage or chouriço. They are best eaten with rice as a sausage pulao, or as a snack on some Goan-style bread known as pao. You’ll find them still made in many Goan homes, or on display at the popular weekly markets.


best goan food
Pre-packaged Bebinca
When it comes to food, we have a soft spot for desserts. No trip to Goa is complete without sampling their varied Goan sweet dishes. They’re unlike any thing you’ve tasted in India, in part due to the strong Portuguese influence. The Goan sweets list is rather long, but first on the list is bebinca.
Bebinca is a layered Goan cake with a pudding-like texture. If you love coconut, this is the dessert for you, because it’s made from coconut milk, spices, egg yolks & flour. Given its popularity, you’ll now find pre-packaged versions of it at grocery stores, such as the one by Costaz. It’s also quite simple to recreate – check out this Goan sweets recipe for bebinca…the kid-foodies and I might just have to try!

Chana Doce

best goan food
Chana doce
Now, here’s a unique Goan sweet dish. Made out of chana dal (lentils), I find these triangular chana doces (pronounced dosh) to taste just like fudge. The addition of coconut makes them creamy, and nutty, while not overpoweringly sweet. Traditionally made in households during Christmas, you’ll now find them commercially sold and available throughout the year. Which is perfect for tourists that don’t visit during the holidays.

There are many reasons to visit Goa, and for most of the two million annual visitors, it’s a combination of the world-famous sandy beaches, Goan cuisine, and the happy-go-lucky (susegad, as the Goans call it) lifestyle. For us, a trip to Goa means trying some of the best Goan food we can find, whether it’s in our friends homes or at neighborhood restaurants.
The next time you find yourself at a Goan restaurant, keep this list handy for what to order from a Goan food menu!
If you’ve been to Goa, what are some of your favorite kid-friendly dishes to try, that haven’t made our list? Let us know in the comments!
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Recommended Reading for Planning Your Trip to Goa, India

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