13 Famous Things To Buy When You’re In Goa

A list of 13 'very-Goa' things to pick up as souvenirs from the beach town.

Published On Feb 13, 2023 | Updated On May 05, 2024

Image

Goa is a paradise of sublime beauty. Its beaches, waterfalls, colonial houses and countless stories can make you fall in love with it over and over again. One of the best things that you can do in Goa is go shopping. There are plenty of hippie flea markets, local bazaars, chic boutiques and other stores that hold plenty of local goodies. Unlike the typical touristy fridge magnets, they make for much better souvenirs. 

The State is home to a rich culture and heritage, traditional craftsmen that can create magic with their fingers and art that speaks volumes. The best things to buy in Goa are its local art and crafts. From picking a Mario Miranda work to looking for Chitari artefacts, here are some famous things to buy in Goa on a souvenir-shopping spree.

Goa has several large markets and tiny independent stores selling unique arts and crafts pieces. If you prefer having everything in the same place, consider visiting the Mapusa Market, the Flea Market in Anjuna, the Arpora Night Market and the Thursday Night Market at Vagator. Apart from that, Panjim and Assagao are replete with exquisite boutiques serving locally sourced items or creations by independent artists.

Goa is famous for its bamboo craftwork. You can find beautifully woven baskets, bags, lamps and storage items to amp up your home’s beauty. Often the craftspeople themselves set up shop at the Mapusa Market or you can visit stores such as Cane Craft in Panjim. There are also several clusters of bamboo crafts people in smaller villages, but it might be difficult to find them without the locals’ help. There are plenty of such things to buy in Goa.

Where to buy: Panjim Market, Mapusa Market and Cane Craft, Panjim

Mario Miranda put Goa on the world map with his unmissable art. The bold black lines, the lively characters and the seamless stories of his paintings enrapture you. All of his paintings represent the typical Goan laid-back life, replete with the fisherwoman, the fisherman, the toddy tapper, the Goan houses and so on. You cannot leave Goa without buying a Mario Miranda piece. It should be on your list of famous things to buy in Goa!

Where to buy: His work is available on postcards, T-shirts and other such prints at various outlets in Porvorim, Panjim, Calangute, Margao and Carmona. There are plenty of designs to choose from and you can pick your favourite based on who you want to gift it to.

An Arabic art form that eventually reached Goa through European administrators, Azulejos is a reminder of Goa’s beauty. Contrary to common belief, the word azulejos comes from the Arabic word meaning ‘a little polished stone’. The artwork involves intricate blue designs on glazed white tiles. It can be seen in most colonial houses as wall displays, stuck into the floor or the stairs or just placed into the walls at the entryway. They add subtle charm to the interior decor of a house with their bright blue shade and soothing design.

Where to buy: You can find Azulejos tiles at the Azulejos de Goa store located in Panjim.

If you believe in the tourist version of Goa, you’d never imagine buying a sari from there. Ideally, fabrics that make you think of Goa are light beachy dresses, floral shirts and shorts. However, the Kunbi saree is an important element of Goan folk culture. This garment is chequered in red and white, and is worn by the women of the Kunbi tribe in Goa. They live in the hinterlands of the state and their culture is on the verge of disappearing, especially this gorgeous fabric. There is a unique way of wearing the sari by tying a dentil knot over the shoulder. It was brought to global attention by the late fashion designer Wendell Rodrigues. Today, it is one of Goa’s famous things to buy.

Where to buy: You can buy this souvenir for yourself and your loved ones at the Goa Adivasi Parampara store in Panjim, the Wendell Rodricks Design Space in Panjim or the Nita Sarees store in Panjim.

The Goan cashew Feni is one of Goa’s most famous things to buy. It is a locally distilled alcohol made from the cashew apple, a fruit that is harvested only during the summers in Goa. The pungent fruity liquor has about 40 per cent alcohol content, and is best paired with Limca. A popular bar food that goes really well with Feni is the Chorizo, a cured pork delicacy with a strong spicy taste. It can be fried and had as is or prepared with a potato-onion mix that goes really well with bread. Since chorizo is a cured meat, it lasts for a long time and makes for the perfect Goan souvenir for all your friends who love pork. Apart from cashew Feni, the brand Cazulo also sells coconut Feni (made from toddy) and Dakshishiri (made from a rare root), a famous Goan special thing.

Where to buy: You can get Feni at most local alcohol stores. These stores also sell packaged chorizo. However, the Mapusa and Margao Markets have the next quality chorizo you will ever find.

Goan spices are some of the best in the country. Tirphala, dried mangoes and nutmeg give most local curries their flavours. While kokum and tamarind are not technically spices, they can be sourced at the finest quality in Goa. Apart from that don’t forget to pick up peppers, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom from this spice haven of India. The Mapusa Market holds a treasure trove of dry spices, spice powders and other fascinating flavours that will hold you in awe. Today they are one of Goa’s famous things to buy. Take a walk around to pick what fancies you. If you or someone you know likes to cook, there is no better gift than this. Apart from that, you can also buy spices from Chandelkar’s House of Pickles in Panjim.

Where to buy: Mapusa Market, Chandelkar’s House of Pickles, Panjim.

Goan monsoons are long, making it difficult to source fish and fresh vegetables. Making pickles was an ingenious way of ensuring supply throughout this time. Goans make both vegetarian and non-vegetarian pickles. Amongst the vegetarian options, you have the brinjal pickle, raw mango pickle, tendli (ivy gourd) pickle, lime pickle, chilli pickle and mixed vegetable pickle. If you are curious to taste the non-vegetarian pickles in Goa, try the Mackerel Molho, the prawn balchao, the mackerel para and the ambotik masala. While you cannot take them all, you should definitely try and take some. They are one of the best things to buy in Goa!

Where to buy: These can be bought from the Mapusa or the Panjim Market, the Chandelkar’s House of Pickles in Panjim and in supermarkets (sold by Goana Food and Karma Foods).

Goa is draped in a blanket of coconut trees. They make for a pretty, almost movie-like backdrop for you to enjoy your vacation. Thanks to this abundance of coconuts, you can find them being used everywhere. From curries to local sweets and even coconut shell craft, every part of the coconut finds its use somewhere. Coconut shell artefacts from Goa can really jazz up your home. They’re rustic and beautifully made. You can find toys, cutlery and even necklaces made of polished coconut shells. Today, these are one of Goa’s famous things to buy.

Where to buy: Visit the Gauri Handicrafts store in Panjim to get your hands on some.

Goan beaches are treasure troves of some really pretty shells. You could pick up a few as keepsakes of your vacation. If these gifts from the sea dazzle you, there is no dearth of exquisite accessories made from seashells in Goa. You get mirrors lined with shells, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and so on. They are often found in stores around the beaches. They can really enhance your beachy Goan look. Add it to your list of things to buy in Goa!

Where to buy: Streetside shops near Goan beaches.

Apart from its seafood, Feni and coconuts, cashew nuts are Goa’s pride. It is believed that they were brought to Goa with the Portuguese and cultivated here. While the cashew apple is harvested during summer and used to make Feni, Urrack and Niro, the cashew nut is roasted, broken open and the seed inside is sun-dried. The entire process has to be done by hand, which makes cashews sources from Goa all the more special. You can find them in spiced, toasted and other exclusive flavours. During the summers, local Goan markets also have raw cashews for sale. Also known as biya, they are usually used to make a flavourful curry that you can enjoy with puri or pao. This has to make it to your Goa’s famous things shopping list!

Where to buy: Zantye’s Cashew Nuts (Factory Outlet), Panjim

The Portuguese brought a lot of culinary secrets to Goa. Amongst them was the Port Wine - a sweet wine made of fruits such as cherries, and blackberries and often has flavours of cinnamon or caramel. It is best enjoyed at the end of a meal, and makes for a great dessert wine. Often, it is paired with cheeses, dry fruits and nuts. Goans take it out during Christian church feasts and Christmas eve. Take a bottle of this local delicacy home for a fun Saturday evening.

Where to buy: You can find good port wine in any liquor store in Goa. However, it would not harm to make a few local friends and then ask them for suggestions.

When the Goans couldn’t afford curtains or windows, they covered their glass with mother-of-pearl shells. This ensured that their homes were cool even during hot summers. These lustrous oyster shells are found in abundance on Goan shores, and can be used to make a hundred different things. You can find them being used as pendants, in earrings and even jazzing up plain mirrors.

Where to buy: The Church Square opposite the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim.

The coconut palm leaves are extremely versatile. They have been used on Goan roofs, to light fires and even as fans during summer. But a more creative way to use them is by weaving them into pretty little sheets. The criss-cross design adds a rustic charm and you can then fold and stitch them as per your preferences. The local craftspeople make mats, handmade boxes and large containers that are then sold in most local Goan markets. This is an ancient craft that has been practised for years. The woven palm leaves are durable, organic, sturdy and sustainably sourced. When you buy them, you are supporting a local craft that is on the brink of extension. All the more reason to add this to your Goan souvenir shopping list!

Where to buy: Mapusa Market, Panjim Market, Margao Market

Excited to buy famous Goan knick knacks? The best things to buy in Goa are things carefully crafted by the locals. Apart from that, there are so many things to do in Goa. You can choose to laze on the beach, but you can also go trekking, discover hidden locations, enjoy local Goan famous food and try Goa’s famous liquor! The state is filled with hidden secrets, stories and experiences that you might have never heard of. So, the next time you plan a trip to Goa, make an itinerary and don’t forget to add these items to your shopping list. You don’t want to miss out on anything.


Photo: Instagram/mujtravel