CAFÉ BANGALORE’ CLONECAFÉ MANGALORE’ AT TALEIGAO! More Goans are taking to pavement side eateries serving up good South Indian breakfast fare…check out idli, meduvada, dosa, khara bhat…south Indian filter coffee and more, at these two competitive footpath `Udipi’ start-ups. Same food, same pricing!

By Tara Narayan

IT’S happening. Goans are becoming more health conscious, at least when it comes to their breakfast fare. It’s no more mirsangche bhoji (chilli fritters)-pau or batatvada-pau or bhaji-puri, not even puri-tonak or puri-mushroom xacuti. Go take a look at the crowds starting 7am onwards at come-lately eatery Bangalore Café down town Panaji – cramped and standing space only spilling out onto the pavement but a whole lot of folk are tucking in steaming hot south Indian favourite breakfast fare, of idli and medhuvada and dosa drowned in good quality savoury chutney/sambar. There’s also upma/urpit/khara bhat, sometimes pongal or bisi bili bhaat…pineapple seera, lots more, plus, the best filtar coffee this side of town for Rs15. Some rave over the crispy ghee masala dosa. All served up on eco-friendly service ware (made of betal palm sheaves I think, they’re so strong and biodegradable), even woodsy ice-cream spoons.
The success story is such that Bangalore Café is opening a branch at Mala too and what do you know! For a hike of earnings by Rs2,000 a chef and some staff walked away — to switch their “loyalty” Taleigao’s Nancy and Anthony Barretto’s who’ve started a similar off-the-footpath eatery but this on called Mangalore Café — in the heart of Taleigao market. Same familiar Udipi or basically south Indian fare, same prices. There’s nothing like a runaway success story to inspire a copy-cats!
Especially in the food business, everybody has to eat and the fresher, the earlier food is served first thing in the morning, the better…that is early enough for commuters to catch a bite, much before the sossegad old-time Goan eateries open!
SOMETHING to reflect upon here. A lot of folk think why are we wasting time when we don’t have time to step into a proper eatery to eat – the come lately quick-fix small eateries with their efficient worker teams offer more value for money. Check it out. A plate of two idli would be Rs40, a plate of medhuvada Rs60, rice dishes of lemon/tamarind/pulao are Rs60. Bangalore Café also offers golden turmeric almond milk, cannot get healthier than that (if Goa has sprouted nachneche tizaan as an 11am offering in old homes, from south India comes a matching aromatic “haldi dudh”).
Well, I have always thought most south Indian breakfasts are the most health-conscious breakfasts in this country! Nothing can take the place of traditional idli, medhuvada, dosa, appam, puttu and a dozen avatar of traditional dosa laced with a nutrient dense chutney and sambar.
Sure, I think Goan eateries should introduce south Indian breakfasts. Forget the fryum breakfasts of puri-bhaji, mirsang bhoji, even undo-mushroom xacuti. Thumbs down! Keep them for occasionally treats and not daily fillers to torture the digestive system and your heart. It’s time to make sweeping changes in your meals if you want to grow old gracefully instead of laid up in a hospital private or public – where everything begins with carbohydrate-loaded food morning, noon and night.
WHICH reminds me by now I’ve heard enough about how we Indians and especially veggie Indians and senior citizens need better, more perfect protein meals to age graciously. Dr Edwin Gomes of the Geriatrics Medicine ward at the GMC wrote it down for me in a jiffy: “Breakfast – 2 eggs (12-14 g), tea, nachne idli (40 g); Mid-morning – nachne tizaan, 1 glass; lunch: dhal & rice; teatime: satvo (a millet preparation); dinner: dhal and millet chappati.” This is just a rough guide, okay. I would say a millet kichadi for dinner would be great, or a besan-ka-cheela. Don’t forget to include a salad of onion/cucumber/tomato/cabbage/radish/etc. We actually need very little food to stay alive and kicking down the path of happiness!
ENT Dr Deepak Murthy once told me ever since he started eating nachne (ragi) chappati morning, noon and night he has been doing very well for himself. Really, the GMC’s Sodexo Yoo canteens should offer nachne/jowari chappati in lieu of pau bread/rice, seriously! Unless they want to keep their patients in the wards suffering with some fearful blood sugar problems (read my story elsewhere here of how one young Goankar man cured himself of diabetes merely by making eating and lifestyle changes – he runs, runs, runs for fun!)


NOW to tell you about how I had a Rs1 breakfast courtesy these lively Sweet Nation people (hello Namita and Ujwal Tripathi). It was a promotional of course and although I’d got a WhatsApp mailer about it I was passing by in the area when at 8am going into 11am morning I saw this long, long line outside Sweet Nation at the EDCON Mindspace building (close to Taj Vivanta Panaji)…about 75% were college students from Dhempe and Salgaocar and Nirmala Niketan and other colleges, all anxious to make the most of these Rs1 breakfast from February 3 to 11, 2024! What, I asked a pair of teenager from Dhempe Adhishi and Divyata in the queue, you are going to wait for an hour for breakfast in this queue? They sheepishly replied, yes, “It will take only 15 or 20 minutes waiting, we came early today at almost 8am, so this time we will get breakfast, it won’t get over!”
Aamir at the door allowed those in line to get into the premise in 15 or 20 at a time groups, you give the cashier Rs1 for just a masala dosa or some more Rs1 if you wanted vada-pau or missal-pau or poha also. Some folk took all four item numbers to breakfast at Rs4 like a king or queen. It was amusing to see the seriousness of the promotion, I’m told 1,000 or so turned up daily for the 11 days for this Rs1 breakfast affair from Saturday, February 3 to Sunday, February 11…from 8am to 11am only. Of course some would offer coffee or other extras and pay the menu price, but most didn’t.
The four servers worked hectically to meet the demand for Rs1 breakfast. Say it is a hilarious farce but a pleasant one even if none of the students are going to return once the offer was over, said one of them, “Then it will be a normal Rs85 or so for poha or masala dosa…and I can’t afford it. But this is rather nice of them, this Rs1 breakfast offer for a few days, I will remember them and maybe one day I will come back with friends for birthday or some celebration!”
Some golden oldies too were there in the queue eager to see what they could get for Rs1, one 60 years something bearded man confided, “I heard about it and just came to see, I ate masala dosa, missal pav, wada pav and poha and didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day! Only this waiting in the queue is bad, one must come early…sometimes if they run out of the day’s quota they come out and say “The food’s finished, come tomorrow earlier!”
Reportedly the Sweet Nation people also ran a similar promotional at their Margao branch, ditto menu, and that too was a runaway success. It’s left to be seen how much regular clientele it will win them but I dare say most will remember the name of Sweet Nation. How sweet of them to bring some excitement in the humdrum lives of aam aadmi or something like that. The hubby in the GMC later on asked me if I too went and stood in the queue and I said, “Yes, but I broke the queue because they know me and let me in to click a few photos.” That’s called cheating! Whatever, I shrugged, I ate masala dosa and poha, the missal was too oily and spicy, the batatvada cold and I don’t like pau 99% of the time so I rejected it.
Goa eats too much refined white bread, bad, very bad. Wait till you’re older, you’ll end up in the GMC’s Geriatric Medicine Ward 115 to get your gangrene-infested toes chopped off or something like that! Not joking, check out your feet today.
Cut the carbs, my friends, and drink a bowl of dal daily instead, without bread if you wish, like a soup…moong dal, tur dal, masoor dal, udid dal, kabuli chana soup, kala chana Soup, etcetera. We in this country have such a wonderful repertoire of wholesome lentils, beans, millets, fresh and dehydrated.
WHICH reminds me to quote some my favourite food scholars here: If we care about our body beautiful we need adequate intake of water (at least two-and-a-half litres is the body’s waste disposal need, the best blood thinner is water); fibre (in greens and pulses, broom of the digestive system, keeps your blood sugar even tempered), protein (vital amino acids to keep the cells rejuvenating).
The first scholar is Dr Barbara O’Neill of Australia who does this fabulous natural medicine and health food series called Barbara’s Healing Hub online (catch it on Facebook), The second is of course my favourite Dr Shiva Ayyadurrai who running for president out in USA’s Massachusettes…who also has his magnetic health series as part of his educational Truth Freedom Health movement worldwide, half-a-million live on his words and so do I whenever I can follow the excitement of his presidential campaign out in America.
This is one solutions man and last time around I was listening to him clueing up everyone on how ginger reduces lung congestion. His company CytoSolve conducted a systems biology analysis of the effects of ginger in body beautiful and the results were amazing enough to make one start drinking ginger tea every morning if nothing else.
Ginger alleviates lung congestion. Catch up with Dr Shiva Ayyadurai’s health and other blogs and podcasts series for some very useful all around education. His credentials are real, he’s MIT PhD in biological engineering, the inventor of Email…India-born Tamil boy from the bottom of the rung of India’s caste system, who went out to USA as a seven-year-old with his migrating parents, to shine up like a bright penny! His favourite expression is “Be the light!” I confess I have taken a real shine to this story unfolding and hotting up in the US of A in the last half-a-dozen years — in the arena of some very dirty politics; yes, worse than in India.

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