Planning a tour to the beautiful north east of India, but confused about the type of food or cuisine you will get to try out? Food from the 7 sisters has an exotic blend of spices and taste, and cannot really be described in a few lines alone. The dishes you find here are so diverse in their taste, use of ingredients and style of cooking, that only after a few visits can you be assured of having tasted it all. Street-side shops are usually the best way to get a glimpse of the eating habits of locals. What these vendors sell will always make use of locally available produce, following recipes treasured over generations. Here's our list of must-have street/local dishes in the region, especially if this is your first trip.
9 unique dishes from the various states of north east which are a must-try on your first visit.
1. Pitha - An Assamese Favorite
Like many other parts of the country, rice is a staple in Assam too. Pitha is a firm favorite of the state that is made with rice. From a steaming hot bapha pitha enjoyed for breakfast to a special til pitha made to celebrate major festivals like Bihu, these delicacies are a common find in both the homes and streets of the state. Pitha can be steamed, fried, or griddled. Usually made in an open fire, the pitha is infused with a smoky aroma and delicious flavor that makes it a must-try when you are in the state.
(Also read: Most Famous Breakfasts from North East)
2. Thukpa – Taste of Arunachal Pradesh
3. Kelli Chana – Spicy peas from Manipur
Kelli chana is a popular food on the streets of Manipur. The dish got its name, it seems, from an old lady named Kelli who used to sell spicy chickpeas under a tree. It is prepared with flavored herbs and spices with chickpeas being the main ingredient in it. Traditionally, Kelli Chana is served on a lotus leaf which contributes a beautiful local and fresh touch to this mouthwatering dish.
4. Jadoh – Tourists favorite in Shillong (Meghalaya)
In the Khasi Language, 'Ja' means rice and 'Doh' means meat and this makes the meaning of Jadoh pretty simple, doesn't it? Jadoh is flavourful rice and meat combination that is cooked together as one of the most beloved delicacies of the state. Meghalaya being a predominantly non-vegetarian state uses an array of meat varieties to prepare this dish. Usually made with pork, you may also find version with chicken and fish. Rich and aromatic, this delicacy is a must-try if you want to enjoy the taste of Meghalaya.
5. Aloo Muri – Locals favorite in Meghalaya
6. Sanpiau/Arsa Buhchiar – Blend of taste from Mizoram
7. Kinalas and Smoked Pork stir fry in Nagaland
A noodle dish made from pork head with the brown sauce topping, gives the soup excellent flavors. Another delicious dish found here is smoked pork stir fry. Both these use the famous Raja Mirchi or Bhut Jholokia known to be two of the hottest chillies in the world. The dishes contain fermented soy bean, yam leaves or bamboo shoots that impart an intense smoky taste.
8. Chikhvi/Pork Bharta from Tripura
Pork is commonly eaten by locals in Tripura, and the meat is enjoyed in several different ways. One of the more popular dishes is chikvi or pork bharta and is a must-try if you are a foodie. A stir fry of sliced pork with bamboo shoots or peeled onions, ginger, roasted chilli, and flavored herbs, this can also be prepared with soaked green papaya seeds, green chillies, turmeric, rice flour and lime leaves which give it an enhanced flavor.
A stir fry of sliced pork with bamboo shoots.
9. Shapale – Samosa with North-eastern (Sikkim) flavors
A crunchy exterior with soft juicy filling of minced chicken or meat, deep fried and served with a hot chilli sauce or rutang soup (Soup made from meats), Shapale is exactly what you need on a cold evening. This snack is very similar to deep fried momos or a north-indian samosa.
Enjoy these amazing street-side delicacies when you go visiting the gorgeous north-east states next time.