People tend to hold on to stereotypes about a place because of the sense of comfort and familiarity it offers them. When it comes to this favourite holiday destination in India, such stereotypes abound. Many of them centre on food. Many of them are only partially true. We Goans take our food very seriously. Here then is a list of some common myths and the truths behind them. For the latest news and more, follow HuffPost India on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our newsletter. “People of all three main communities—Hindus, Christians and Muslims—have contributed to the cuisine. Historical influences include the Saraswat migration, Arab invasions, and the Portuguese colonisation,” says Neelam Dutta, who writes on Goan food at Ranchikood—Goan Kitchen. Many of the curries she writes about have Hindu origins - fish curries like hooman, tondak - vegetable curries made with coconut and spices, and uddamethi - curries with coconut, fenugreek (methi) and urad dal. So, while bangda recheado (stuffed mackerel) is fine, something like a chicken in recheado masala is not. “The masala itself isn’t stuffed, nor is the concept of anything recheado limited to the masala,” adds Monet da Silva. Yes, many Goans enjoy a tipple, particularly at feasts and weddings, but regular drinking isn’t a defining part of our culture. Myth 4: People eat spoiled curry (kalchi kodi) With gas stoves having largely replaced firewood, kalchi kodi these days usually involves a coconut-based curry that is refrigerated overnight and heated the next morning until the water dries out and the concoction thickens. It doesn’t taste the same as the firewood version, but nostalgia keeps alive the ritual. Goans love their vegetables especially seasonal ones. There is quite a bounty to choose from, too. Unusual ingredients such as hyacinth beans, jackfruit seeds, banana flowers, bilimbi, hog plums (ambade) also find their way into curries or stir-fries. And who can forget the most famous vegetarian dish, the ubiquitous patal bhaji? This nourishing and cheap curry of white peas is sold in tea shops and small stalls, usually with pao. It is either eaten by itself or paired with a dry potato bhaji. At its essence, balchão is a sweet-hot-sour spice mixture that is commonly used for pickling meat or shrimps, which is then cooked into a dry dish. Thus, it is essentially a method of cooking that includes some pickling. Some believe the dish originated in Macao as balichao, others say blachan came from a South East Asian country and was made from shrimp and other salted fish that were allowed to ferment in the sun, and subsequently used as flavouring in dishes. The Portuguese brought the technique to Goa, and you will typically see balchão made with small shrimp (called galmo). However, it’s gained a rep as a pickle because it is often bottled and sold as a condiment. “Those in favour of referring to it as a pickle can point out to the fact that it has all the qualities of a pickle. It’s hot and fiery, it resembles pickling in every regard, and it can be made days in advance without reheating. Those who disagree can say that the balchão came to Goa via the Portuguese, who themselves had no culinary history of pickling food (using spices) and hence it was always intended to be a dish,” says Fernando Monte da Silva.