What's in a Name

about New Market, Margaon, Goa, India

The Catholics of the western coast sometimes have strange names. Their world is full of elegant names like Braganza or Pereira, but every once in a while slips in a name like Serpis.

Situated in Margao's Nuovo Mercado (New Market) is one such name – Jackris. A bakery that's so small it shares its entrance with another stall adorns this name, but the size and odd name belies an outsized reputation. Surrounded by gold shops and barely visible from the street (your best bet is to persuade an old Catholic to hold your hand and lead you there) Jackris is one of Goa's best traditional bakeries.

It took me over a decade of trips to Goa to discover it, but it is a discovery. Mince pie, egg puff, bebinca, dodol, pretty much any Goan baked edible is sold here. Everything I tasted can safely be tagged with labels like fabulous or fantastic (even sniffy Catholic aunties award a "very nice"). The good gets elevated to great, while things like doss that I never cared for elsewhere transforms into something actually worth eating.

Sure, the shop's frontage and choice is limited. Things run out fast. This diminutive supply fuels demand - people are quite willing to line up and gobble up - but Jackris has a distinctly old-world view about growth. I hear they have four branches, though I could not tell you where the other three are; all are said to be similarly unrepossessing.

Go early, wait patiently and be rewarded with sin.

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