Yes, it’s the age of digital shopping and large-scale retail purchases. But there’s something about the hustle and bustle of a market that can brings out the glee of a seven year old in anyone. The aromas, antiques and knickknacks of a boisterous market are infinitely preferable to mindlessly pick out a shirt online or in an impersonal mall.
So if you swear by local flavors and happen to be holidaying in Goa, do yourself a favor and lose the guidebook. Pick out that comfy attire, fling that extra-large shopping tote on your shoulder like you mean it and get ready to soak in the more authentic side of Goa while Culture Trip walks you through some of the best markets in the Konkan region.
The Queen of Flea Markets
Legend has it that so bewitched were Western tourists with this coastal paradise that some of them didn’t want to leave in spite of running out of money. They would bring out the stuff they didn’t need to sell—clothes, shoes, jewelry, music, kickstarting the trend for flea markets at Anjuna. This lively market is open every Wednesday and almost anything and everything under the sun is up for grabs—freshly produced confectionary & pickles, clothes, trinkets, spices, jewelry and handicrafts by local artisans. Imported fashion your thing? Prefer Goan designs? The Anjuna flea market won’t disappoint—it’ll offer you both and then some!
Why can’t every night be a Saturday night?
Can there be a better way to bring in the weekend, than a visit to the Night Bazaar, a retro bohemian market at Arpora? This energetic market offers everyone a little something. Booths burst with finely embellished carpets and textiles, accessories to go with that little black dress, exquisite brooch pins for your grandmother, stoles and scarves for friends back at home, embroidered cushions for the aunt and oh… could you really leave that snug hammock behind? When those legs get weary, grab a refreshing cocktail at the famous Boutique House Bar and dive right back into the night bazaar. Now, if you are not much of a shopper and happen to just wander in, head straight to the concert podium, grab a drink at the Magic Tequila cocktail stand and get ready to have your evening rocked by a fusion of Indian and rock music.
And on Friday…
The American humorist Erma Bombeck once said, “the odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.” We dare you to visit the Mapusa Market and come out with nothing less than a dozen things in your shopping bag. This market is a local bazaar the rest of the week, but come Friday, it transforms into a vibrant platform for Goan entrepreneurs to display their finest wares. Pottery, handicrafts, fruit, vegetables, pickled meats, dried fish, herbs and pure molasses from freshly harvested sugarcane for those nursing a sweet tooth. Bring your negotiating skills along—it’s haggle, haggle and some more haggle at Mapusa Market. When the shopping bag starts bursting at its seams, head out to devour a heavy-duty lunch of pork and fish curry at the Andron Restaurant. For the non-carnivorous folks, it is Café Xavier for you, with its delicious patties, samosas and ice cream.
An army of stalls and shacks at Calangute
It is a never ending series of booths and stalls that offer sarongs, trinkets, clay items, textiles, carpets and beachwear. What I love about the Calangute Market is that you can visit at any time during the day. Pack your swimwear, shop your heart out, nibble at some fried prawns, have a beer, stroll by the shores of Goa’s star beach, and then top it off with a dip in the ocean.
Carry back a little of Goa with you
Panjim Market is a must visit before you head back home. How else would you get the chance to stock your refrigerator with a wide selection of edible Goan goodies? Don’t forget to stock up on some silk apparel for the folks back home.