Sunday, January 27, 2008

From the frying pan into the fire

My last installment on Goan restaurants, for now, and it's all about fried fish. Fried fish seems like the easiest thing to do, but its very tricky. You first have to get yourself a fresh fish, because even slightly stale fish stand out. The fish have to be cooked enough so that the crust is crunchy but the fish inside is not overdone. You can't overdo the spices also - because the taste of the fish should be discernible. Unless you are a true fish eater, it's difficult to understand that every fish has its own distinct taste and texture.

The quest for good fried fish brings me to two restaurants which should only be gone to for the fish. After all, this is not a blog about "ambience". :)

Kamalabai at Mapusa (left from the Hanuman Temple and a 5 minute drive, keep your eye out for the sign or ask any taxi driver) sees a good lunch crowd for the VFM Fish Curry Rice (Rs. 20). At night, it attracts a lot of drunkards. A good time is about 8pm. The owners of Kamalabai assure the freshest catch of the day - no surprise, as they themselves own a fishing trawler. It's a pilgrimage spot every time I come to Goa, this time, since it was already nearing 9, we chose to go to Alisha Bar and Restaurant. Alisha is closer to Panjim, located just across the Mandovi Bridge, opposite the Vidhan Sabha. Obviously, there are huge crowds during assembly time. But otherwise there is a flight of mud steps down and steps up to a verandah restaurant, from where there's is a beautiful view of Panjim.

And yes, some fancy looking prawns. These are with the shells and legs intact. I prefer it that way, though I'm sure you can get yours cleaned up. The prawns turned out a little tough.

I am told that red snapper (tamuso) isn't really high up on the priority list of most Goans. It's an uneconomical fish to buy wholesale, as it has a huge unusable abdominal portion. I am a great fan of its meaty taste. It tends to get very tough when fried but the guys at Alisha did a good job.

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