They say the best way to know the heart of a city or a place is through its street food.
Right from the meat feasts of Bangkok to the Chimney Cake in the Czech Republic to the shawarma and falafel in the Gulf and Middle East, street foods reflect the spirit of a place like nothing else can.
When it comes to India, each state and city has its own favourite. Bombay has its Vada Pav, Delhi has its parathas, Lucknow has its kababs and Goa has its ros-omelette.
The ros-omelette comprise a fluffy egg omelette dipped in a spicy tangy curry (curry is called ros in Goa’s Konkani language), with a generous sprinkling of onion, green chilli and a dash of lemon. Delicious Goan bread is used to scoop up bite-sized morsels of the concoction to send you into culinary heaven.
A simple, frugal fare no doubt, but in its very simplicity lies its genius. I remember having a go at this dish at a ramshackle food cart way back during my college days. And it was love at first bite for me.
Down the years, whenever I go to Goa, I have to have my share (and more) of the stuff. You could say my love for it almost borders on addiction. However, since going to India is a twice a year affair with me, every once in a while my taste buds would yearn for this slice of Goa.
So imagine my delight (and surprise) when a friend informed me that the Goan ros-omelette was now available in Dubai at a restaurant called Omidivan in Karama. I had my share of misgivings. After all this was in faraway Dubai, far away from local ingredients and far away from the sun, the sea and the sands of Goa. Could a restaurant in the Gulf (no doubt run by Goans) manage to recreate anything close to the real deal?
I had to find out.
The key to a good ros omelette is in the little details. The omelette has to be done just right. It can’t be well done or too runny. The right consistency is the secret to a great ros omelette. And the biggest x factor here is the curry (chicken or mutton xacuti without the meat pieces) that is poured over the omelette. Coconut, red chilles and a handful of other spices are ground together to create this fiery, tangy gravy that perfectly complements the more staid omelette.
And I must give it to the guys at Omidivan. They have got their basics right. The omelette is done perfectly, though a bit bulkier than the one we get back home, while the curry is pretty good. The best thing here are the Portuguese rolls. Crisp on the outside, cotton-wool soft on the inside, they are perfect to dunk in the curry omelette combination. And another good thing here is that they give you second helpings of the curry with a smile to leave you basking in a tummy full of Goan goodness.
As I scooped up the last spoonful of that dynamite curry and omelette combo, I knew I had finally found my own little slice of Goa in this cozy corner of Karama.
Now every time I get a bout of homesickness, I know where to head.