Once in a way, the government takes a decision that makes one nod the
head in agreement. It may not happen often, but when it does, it
brings genuine appreciation for what has been done.
Take for instance the new shack policy that makes it mandatory for beach shacks to serve fish curry and rice, besides the other Indian and international dishes that they offer on the menu.
As per reports appearing regarding this decision, most shacks had
omitted Goan cuisine from their menus, concentrating instead on Indian
– North Indian especially – and international dishes.
The policy now makes it obligatory for them to have Goan dishes, fish curry rice in particular, which is the staple of Goans.
The reports also state that the decision aims at promoting Goan
cuisine, which is admirable but then one could well ask, why stop at
fish curry rice and the shacks? Why not showcase other Goan cuisine,
delicacies and sweets?
One does understand that there are speciality cuisine restaurants where fish curry rice would appear as an aberration amidst other dishes, but there are various other ways in which to promote Goan cuisine and dishes.
Why does Goa not promote its products that have received GI or
geographical indication status? Take a quick look at the number of
Goan items that have received this status.
Goa has an increasing number of products that have GI recognition – cashew feni, cashew, Mancurad mango, bebinca, Khola chilli, Moira banana, Harmal chilli, Agassaim brinjal, seven-sided lady finger and khaje (also known as kaddio boddio).
One has to just look at the Goan products that have got GI status to
appreciate that the State has some very unique, unrivalled products
that need to be promoted and there are splendid opportunities to
promote these in the coming weeks.
Let’s start with the National Games that are scheduled this month and
will continue in the first week of the next.
Why not have the streets outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where
the opening ceremony will be held lined with stalls selling Goan
kaddio boddio and bebinca, while also displaying some of the other GI
products? Obviously, one may not be able to sell feni out there, but
kaddio boddio and bebinca would surely be major draws.
Why is it that the khaje is restricted to merely fairs at temple
zatras and church feasts? It makes the kaddio boddio almost a seasonal
item and hard to obtain. Have them outside all the venues of the
Such stalls would bestow a festive atmosphere to the venues, would promote Goa’s GI products and provide the local khaje makers with an opportunity to earn some extra income. It would be Goa promoting its traditional sweets at the biggest sporting event that it is hosting.
But let’s go further with the GI products and sports. Goa is currently
hosting the home matches of FC Goa in the Indian Super League. Two
have already been held, but there will be more.
Why not have stalls selling kaddio boddio outside the stadium at every home match of FC Goa? Not just kaddio boddio but also those selling roasted grams and peanuts as we have at feasts.
Surely Goan football fans who throng the stadium for the matches would
prefer to watch their favourite team while eating kaddio boddio or
roasted grams and peanuts rather than pizza and popcorn that is sold
in the stadium. They might love to sip some feni too, but selling that
would be a different matter and is not being advocated here.
Picture the scene outside the stadium on the day of an ISL match, with
people milling around the stalls selling khaje, grams and peanuts. It
would bestow a festive atmosphere to the scene that would also prep up
the supporters before entering the stadium, while giving the vendors
of these items another opportunity to peddle their wares.
And then we can go even further, making these same products available
at the International Film Festival of India venue. The festival is
scheduled for next month.
There are often complaints that the foodstuff sold at the festival venue is priced high. While kaddio boddio may not be considered a meal, they can always be munched on between meals or as dessert.
The government has to seriously consider promoting its GI-status
products, especially these traditional items. The opportunities are
available and endless, all it needs is a little application of mind to
make it happen.