But the true origins of the word, and the bread, lay far away across the globe.
When Vasco Da Gama landed in Kozhikode in 1498, he became the first European to visit India, and establish a permanent presence. That set the stage for four and a half centuries of colonialism on the sub-continent. It also introduced the natives to a new item of consumption: baked bread.
Till the arrival of the first Europeans, India made do with unleavened breads like rotis and chappatis. With the Portuguese came bakeries of the modern type that was prevalent in Europe then. To this day Goa is home to hundreds of ‘poders’ or traditional bakers who continue to ply a trade that is centuries old.
The poders not only make pav but a whole range of breads like the undo, poyi, katre, the pokshie and the crisp kakon.
And what is the Portuguese word for bread? You guessed it! ‘Pão’