The clock struck 3 and the rush hour in this little bend at Chapora was on. 3 am that is. Perched in front of the juice bar, which is to Chapora what Times Square is to New York, a couple – man from Israel and the lady from Britain – are arm wrestling. Next to them a tall, athletic man from Senegal with the softest of eyes was playing the flute and alternately singing so ngs of his beloved Youssou N Dour, arguably the most well known and loved Senegalese in the whole word.
Right in front of this music, the rattle of the spoon whipping egg yolk at the egg stall, broke the rhythm and melody of the song of Youssou N Dour. But this is business. Omlette number 61 of the night was coming up, and the special order was next, the one placed by the boss of Cafe La Musica, next to the juice centre and the parking place for all night owls, who need hot food round the clock. But the boss of the place DJ Vijay, with his trademark bald pate gets his daily fix of eggs from the egg stall on the k erb. His eggs are indeed made to order.
Each fried egg, sunny side up has some cheese and caramelised onions sprinkled on them and he has at least two of them on normal days and four when he’s a tad bit more hungry. He then quickly troops back to his own place to sit in a corner and wait for folks from other places which shut early, (by Chapora Standard Time – CST), saunter in. There are returnees from Paulos bar, Alitia cafe which does Greek food with a twist and then still others who finish their routine rounds of the North Goa party spots and come here to stretch, and have great Pan Asian food, in the nether zone between dinner and breakfast, till it doesn’t matter anymore.
On a Chapora night in early May, after a splendid evening at Paulos, we see DJ Vijay, post his eggs with caramelised onions routine, his rotund self gleaming with the satisfaction of his egg meal. We met after ages and Vijay, who is from Siliguri in Bengal, was his normal effusive self with plates of noodles, curried and a personal favourite Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian stir fried rice in minced meat and the omni present fried egg, brought to our table. Vijay juggles many worlds. He’s one of Goa’s best known and loved EDM DJ’s with his round Buddha look complimented by an eclectic dress sense. His designer lungis are legion. He combines music with food and the transformation of DJ Vijai to Chef Vijai and back happens seamlessly
His heart has truly been transferred from the foothills of Siliguri to the coasts of Goa. Since he eats all his meals out of home, he is found in several tea shops, restaurants and take away places, around Chapora, Anjuna and Vagator, meeting, mingling and being part of the lively local chatter. He also does order from his own restaurant. And yes, he is arguably a proud member of the fictitious ‘Chapora never sleeps’ club who keep the streets of Chapora buzzing. As dawn breaks, very often DJ Vijay and some others are seen on the banks of the river watching the sunrise before heading off for some hot pois and tea. But as one day ends, another begins. As the egg man goes to bed the poi and the tea stall man awakes, other restaurants spring open and the streets are filed with the merry multitudes of the morni ng types. Meanwhile nothing really changes at Cafe La Musica. Two hours after the last order of Nasi Goreng and spicy curry and rice, the first breakfast order is placed. The kitchen never shuts and the fires always keep burning. And this is the universe of both DJ Vijay and his Chapora Almost as good as Loutolim Surprise picks: This is a quick and unrelated tail piece to the column but truly worth sharing. One of the best surprises ever is when you end up discovering great Goan food in places where you wouldn’t think they would do it so very well. Regulars of Business with Pleasure have been subjected to my love for Pork Solantolem.
Made by the very best in the business and truly for the pleasure of this mankind, by yours truly’s certainly more important Goan half – at her headquarters in Loutolim – there was no reason to believe that this was cooked anywhere else with such elan. But lo and behold, my spirit-ual home in Baga, Cavala, almost came close. Not quite the match, if I may hurriedly add, for reasons of truth as well as personal domestic safety, but it was really well spiced, the pork soft and succulent with the fat in copious quantities to soak into the hollow of the pao.
However, the kokum pieces and the sea salt was missing as well
as the tanginess which would take it from A to A +. But it was real
good. But still, Loutolim rules. Amen!