Panaji: Delhi`s aloo chat, Mumbai`s vada pao and Kolkata`s kathi rolls have challenged Goan street food on its own turf.
Street fare like beef cutlets and pork sausage bread, popularly consumed in copious proportions here, have been knocked off the menu at a pan India street food festival held at the Cidade de Goa resort on the outskirts of Panaji.
According to chef Prashant Paul, who has conceived and executed the `A la Carte Street bites` at the resort, the predominant reliance on meats like beef and pork in street food goodies here makes its street food unique, but not very popular as far as mainstream tourists coming to Goa are concerned.
The street fare which has been selectively sampled from street food menus from Avadh, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and southern regions, however, also has a Goan flavour, albeit without the red meat and pork preparations which are carted along the roads, highways and in market places in rural and urban Goa.
"A lot of people might not find beef and pork palatable," Paul told reporters, adding that Goan specialties like chicken caffreal (juicy pieces of chicken stewed in green gravy), pao (a locally made bread), ras omelette (omelette immersed in spicy chicken gravy) were on offer.
"Tourists who come to Goa, especially from north India, stay away from red meats and pork," he said.
From a total tourism inflow of more than 2.5 million a year, Goa receives a large section of tourists from Gujarat, Karnataka and regions in northern India where beef and pork dishes do not find mention on most menus.
Beef cutlets are small shallow fried discs of minced beef spiced with local ingredients, slipped into a pao, a small round bread cut into half, while pork sausages and pork ribs are popular street food found mostly in the Catholic dominated areas of the state.
While a beef cutlet, with a coarsely made vinegar-sprinkled cabbage salad alongside, costs around Rs.25, a sausage bread sets you back by Rs.25 on Goan streets.
But as far as the A La Carte Street Bites food festival is concerned, there are other flavours which can tingle the tongue. There`s a masala dosa with prawn stuffing, a throbbing Delhi chat corner, loaded to the top with the usual suspects, including dahi papri chat, gol gappe, aloo tikki and samosa chhole.
There`s also a range of biryanis representing Avadhi street cuisine on the menu, along with kathi rolls from Kolkata, bhel puri and vada pao from Mumbai and quickfire dosas and gun powder chutney representing southern flavours.
Paul voted the humble paper thin dosa as the healthiest street food available. "I would vote the dosa as the healthiest. It`s hot, it`s light and it`s made fresh," the chef said.
"Everyone loves street food, whether it`s the rich or the poor. What we are doing here is preparing street food hygienically, but with the same flavour and style as it is served elsewhere in the street pockets where they are eaten with relish," Paul said.