Think shopping in Goa, and the first place that likely comes to mind is Mapusa. With a breath-taking assortment of items, from food to fabric, this market has something for everyone.
The city derives its name from the word, maap (which is a local measure, used especially for grain, gram etc), a fitting name for a place which is largely a hub of commercial activity with vendors from the surrounding villages coming there to sell their local products – fruits, vegetables, poultry, pottery, sausages, masalas and more.
A PLANNED MARKET
Mapusa Market in Bardez, North Goa, was built in 1960, a year before Goa’s liberation. It was the first planned market in the whole of Goa, and this project had the support of the then Governor-General, Vassalo e Silva.
The market plan included open spaces between the lanes of shops, which would facilitate the loading and unloading of goods, and make movement easy for merchants as well as shoppers.
Close to the main entrance of the municipal market is a familiar sight, that of the Shakuntala fountain, which is almost a landmark of Mapusa. Interestingly, it was not part of the original market design, but was built a year later, in 1962.
Mapusa is one of those places which draws shoppers from all over Goa as well as outside the state. Plentiful local products – from spices to sausages to baskets and sweets – are available in the market almost year round.
Decades ago, only traditional produce from nearby villages was available in the market, but these days, goods from the world over can be found as well.
If you’re a first-timer to this market and clueless about the specialties on offer, read on…
While packaged masala brands are available for the asking, many provision stores in Mapusa have their own house brands of Goan masalas – garam masala, xacuti masala, cafreal masala etc – which are bursting with some of the most authentic flavours you could possibly find in Goa.
BUY IT FROM: Luizinha Stores, Royal-T, Prabhu Stores
If there’s one thing that most Goans, and visitors to Goa, relish, it is the local pork sausages. Spicy, juicy and pungent, they are available in beads of small and big sizes.
Homemade as well as branded varieties are sold in provision stores, but it’s worth buying these from the women vendors with baskets in the vicinity of the Shakuntala fountain.
BUY IT FROM: Near Shakuntala fountain
Dehydrated, salted fish is one of the essentials in the fish-loving Goan home. From prawns to mackerels to sardines, dry fish was an all-important ingredient during the monsoon season back in the day. These days, this can be relished almost year round, and is available inside Mapusa’s flower market.
BUY IT FROM: Inside the flower market
GOAN SNACKS & SAVOURIES
Savouries such as sausage rolls, patties, croquettes and chops (with veg and non-veg fillings) are an ever-popular snack item found is several traditional Goan restaurants and snack outlets in Mapusa. They serve as the perfect tea time snack or quick bite to kill those hunger pangs.
BUY IT FROM: Café SF Xavier, St Francis Bakery (Andrew’s), Simonia Stores
Goan cuisine gets its distinct flavour from the local ingredients such as salt, tamarind balls, kokum peels, dry mango, toddy, rice, etc. You can pick these up from any of the many vendors scattered around Mapusa market, or from under one roof in the flower market.
BUY IT FROM: In & around the flower market
Palm jaggery is the ingredient that imparts a viscosity, sweet flavour and brown colour to a variety of Goan sweet eats. It is sold by the kilo in the form of little brown pyramid shapes and comes in two sizes.
BUY IT FROM: Inside the flower market
The flower market abounds in masses of local flowers, the dominant hues being yellow, orange, red and white as far as the eye can see. Flowers form an inseparable part of the land’s culture, and marigolds, chrysanthemums, roses which are commonly grown in Goa, can easily purchased in this market.
BUY IT FROM: The flower market
No visit to Mapusa is complete without the mandatory purchase of delightful Goan sweets. Freshly prepared delicacies such as bebinca, dodol, doce, pinagr etc are to-die-for and are far superior in flavour compared to their factory-made counterparts.
BUY IT FROM: Luizinha Stores, Simonia Stores, Pascoal Stores
So, the next time you decide to go shopping to Mapusa, don't forget to take this list along!