“I’m Goan Because I Eat Goan Food”: A Critical Look at the History of Goan Canadians

  • Aqeel Ihsan York University


The conceptualization of identity around food is not new to Canadian historiography. Many contemporary historians have, by analyzing culinary narratives such as cookbooks and oral interviews, illustrated how food acts as an intellectual and emotional anchor for immigrant subjects and becomes a source of identity for them in their new country. This study, which examines menus from various Goan Canadian cultural events, finds that Goan Canadians have a complex relationship with traditional foods, and that food was not as important a boundary marker for their identity as the scholarship might suggest. Instead, Goans in Canada developed their own distinct sense of identity based on community, celebrations of holidays, village feasts, and other social events.