Goa Souvenirs is a way to take a bit of Goa with you back home. I know it is not possible to carry back its pristine sandy beaches or the carefree vibe. However, we have tried to compile a list of Goa Souvenirs for you that would keep reminding you of our sunshine state.
When I sat down for the list of Goa souvenirs, I figured out that besides a couple of things like Cashew and Feni, there are not many obvious souvenirs. So, we went around, asked a few people and compiled this useful list of Goa souvenirs for you.
Goa Souvenirs Shopping
Everyone knows these things to buy, so let us get over them.
Cashew in its various forms like Cashew with its peel on, salted cashew, masala cashew is the most popular one. Cashew shops can be seen almost everywhere in the state. Serious buyers though prefer to buy it from Panaji market. Here you have big shops with lots of variety and relatively cheaper.
Pro Tip – Chocolate Cashews or Cashews covered with a layer of chocolate are a great souvenir for kids.
This is not a gift that I recommend as I have not tasted it. However, this is the most popular one. Remember there are two types of Feni that you can pick – Cashew Feni and Coconut Feni. Cashew Feni is more popular and easily available.
You can see the Feni making process at Chitra Museum in Benaulim. In April, a cashew festival is celebrated during which you can participate in Feni making.
Stand at an airport departure lounge and you can easily point out people headed to Goa. One they are all happy and second they are dressed up to be heading for a holiday. At Miramar beach near my home, I can see people from all over the country in their Goa wear.
So, the state has to be the best place to get your beachwear – be it Bikini, Sarongs, Shorts, Hats or funky Flip-flops.
You will find rows of shops selling all these in colorful designs close to all popular beaches like Calangute, Baga or Colva. You would find many honeymooners shopping here.
It’s only in the state that you get to see women wearing Bikini with Chooda.
To be out in the state means to be out in the Sun. You need to cover your head. Buy a typical Goan hat – a bug one for the women and a relatively smaller for the men.
For women, they come in all possible pastel shades with colorful ribbons to go with. For men, it is usually shades of brown and beige with a black outline. And for the experimental ones, there are palm leaf hats. Technically, they resemble the Panama Hats but of course with a bit of local touch.
Hats are one of the most popular items sold.
Pro Tip – Using hats is a trick photographers use to take care of bad hair day 🙂
Handicraft Souvenirs from Goa
The Azulejos tiles are the best souvenirs. You would see these tiles outside Goan homes, on sidewalks, in street art, and at hotels. These colorful tiles in one glance tell of their own origins. The paintings on the tiles tell the stories of the state – its Tavernas, its Kunbi Dance, it carefree people, and its lovely landscape.
You can but a single tile or a mug or a plate or a custom-made nameplate. You can even get your favorite family photograph painted on the Azulejos tiles.
This is a souvenir to suit all pockets – right from a small tile costing less than 100 Rs to anything costing in thousands for a custom-made tile is available.
Most souvenir shops sell Azulejos. My personal favorites are the Kunbi dance tiles.
Pro Tip – Buy Mario Miranda artworks on Azulejos.
Read More – Azulejos – charming hand-painted tiles
These are simple cotton Saris with large checks on them mostly in Red color worn by the local tribal women. Lately, a few designers have revived these Saris and it is being projected as the local weave. A big credit goes to Wendell Rodricks for reviving the Kunbi Sari.
You can buy a fine but costly version at Wendell Rodrick’s store in Panaji or you can buy not so fine but cheaper versions at the local stores or village fairs.
Sea Shells Galore
In all probability, your Hotel would have welcomed you with a garland of seashells. Well, you can buy many types of jewelry made out of seashells – neckpieces, bracelets, and earrings.
You can buy lamp shades, seashell curtain strings and other items made of seashells.
Pro Tip – Just buy or pick some seashells and creatively use them to decorate your home.
Coconut is the state fruit of Goa. It can be seen everywhere in the state. Any local would tell you that every part of the coconut is used. The coconut shells are used to make bowls and artworks. There are a few artisans who produce lovely coconut shell pieces – organic art if I can call it.
I have mostly seen these in fairs in the state.
Goa Souvenirs for the Foodies
This section will tell you what to buy in the state for your foodie friends.
Kokum or Kokum Sherbet
Kokum is the quintessential fruit used as a souring agent in food here. It is mild with a lovely pink color. You can find fresh Kokum in summers when markets are full of them. Dried ones can be found almost around the year. Perfect to make Kokum Curry or Kokum Juice.
If you are too lazy like me, go get the packaged Kokum Sherbet. Just mix some water and it is ready to drink.
Read More – Pink & Purple Fruits
This is ready to eat dessert. Made from flour, eggs, coconut milk and sugar and baked layer by layer. This is short shelf life souvenir but it is available in good packaging that is easy to carry. Pick it up from any supermarket or bakery.
Another popular dessert of the state is made with coconut and jaggery. Personally, I prefer this over Bebinca as it has no egg in it.
A good alternative to Feni I mentioned above is fruit based wines. Most of these wines are homemade, made by locals from fruits in their own gardens. You would find a lot of them at many of the food festivals that keep happening around the state.
Do you know the state has extensive salt pans on the southern end of Mandovi, next to Ribandar causeway? You can buy the local sea salt at the Mapusa market. Best day to visit is Friday when the Mapusa market is buzzing with traders from across the city.
Like the rest of the coastal belt of India, this state is also a spice producing state. Nutmeg and Triphala are the most popular spice grown here followed by Black Pepper. You can buy the spices in general markets in the state. But I would recommend you to buy them in one of the spice gardens. You can get a tour of the spice gardens, have an organic meal and pick up the local spices.
You can also buy pre-mixed masalas for the state’s traditional recipes like Xacuti Masala.
In the state, Vinegar is made from Coconut Toddy. It is one of the most popular ingredients in Portuguese Goan cuisine.
Goan bakeries are always worth a visit. There are festivals where bread is celebrated. Poi – the staple food of the state is sold like milk is sold in other cities. The Bread-wala comes on a bicycle with a basket full of bread to choose. Pick up some bread as souvenirs for your foodie friends.
Now, I have no idea where all these exotic flavored teas come from. They are certainly not from the state, but I have seen them only in the state. They come in all the spice flavors and fruit flavors. I cannot even think how the Mango tea would sound, but you have all the options to experiment.
Best places to pick these tea leaves is Anjuna Flea Market, Saturday Night Market and Mapusa market on Fridays.
Mario Miranda Art Works
The Mario Miranda Art can be seen anywhere in the state – be it the Panjim Market or the Madgaon Railway station. These artworks have become the signature exports from the state depicting the Susegad Goan life be it the fisherwomen or a Taverna.
You can buy his art on T-shirts, Azulejos Tiles, Coffee mugs, Curios and all kinds of tourism merchandise. There are Mario Miranda galleries around the state where you can buy them, although you would find them at any souvenir shop.
My recommendation is to buy Mario Miranda Books
Read More – Mario Miranda
The Funky T-Shirts
There is no better place than flea markets to get funky T-Shirts. They have all kinds of prints including Gods and Goddesses on them. They come in all colors but the black ones remain the most popular. Team them up with the hippie style pants and sarongs.
If techno or trans music is something you have heard – go to any flea market to pick up that music. They still sell the music on CDs. I am reminded of the 90s when I see those piles of music CDs in plastic covers.
Shopping on your holiday? Do you know of any other Souvenirs to buy?