How to eat locally in Goa during Plastic-Free July

Savouring street food is a part of travel. So, how can you do it while participating in Plastic-Free July, a global movement?
Eat locally in Goa during plastic-free July
Eat locally in Goa during plastic-free JulyGomantak Times

Goa has been known, among tourists, for its beaches and parties. But, it also has a lot of street food unique to itself, which are a must-have. Ros omelette also known as ras omelette is an omelette topped with xacuti gravy.

The pao came to Goa with the Portuguese, and since then, has been a part of snacks like mirchi pav and vada pav, usually served with a spicy green chutney.

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Goa has its own version of burgers and comes in poi instead of burger buns. It's common to find Chorizo pao or cutlet bread in street stalls, and make for quick munchies. Croquettes, potato chops, samosas and rissois are some other bites found. Their samosas have fillings like mixed vegetables, including beetroot and mutton.

The kokum soda is a refreshing cooler that you must have. Therefore, a trip to Goa is incomplete without bingeing on the local street food.

Street food in disposables

Sometimes you can find these foods in reusables, like steel cutlery, but more often, in disposables. While the cutlery made from dried leaves is biodegradable, many other materials are not.

The local burgers may be wrapped in aluminium foil. The vada pav may come in paper plates. The ros omelette may be served in paper plates with the silver foil-like layer and plastic cutlery. The kokum cooler may come in a cup with straw, made of plastic or paper. This paper cutlery usually has a lining of plastic.

So, how do you enjoy the local street food while committing to Plastic-Free July? Before that, what is Plastic Free July? Why can you be a part of it? Do you give up on all kinds of plastic?

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All about Plastic-Free July

The Plastic-Free Foundation started the Plastic-Free July concept in 2011. They say, “Plastic-Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities.”

While plastic-free alternatives are the best way out, they may not always be possible. Plastic, when used for a long time, and disposed of responsibly, may be okay. However, single use plastics, especially which may come disguised with other materials like paper, cause plastic pollution when not recycled right.

Apart from that, producing and recycling items just for a single use utilises a lot of resources. These are a waste when reusable alternatives exist. So, Plastic-Free July is a great way to get started with reducing plastic waste.

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Single use alternatives while eating out

The best way to eat out, while committing to Plastic-Free July, would be in reusables. you can start by finding out from the vendors directly as to how exactly the food will be served. It would be a good idea to let them know the reason behind asking. This would educate and encourage them to be conscious of it. You can request them for reusable alternatives or even use your own when not available.

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A plate, set of spoon, fork, knife and chopsticks, glass, coffee mugs, straws, all made of steel or bio materials, come in handy at such times. These can be easily washed later, and in turn, so many resources would be saved.

Using these publicly may also inspire others around to reduce their plastic waste. The alternatives are travel essentials and will help you enjoy local food while participating in Plastic Free July.

(Heena Shah is an avid traveller and covers topics such as sustainable travel and lifestyle.)

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