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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Not To Miss Cuisines From North East India

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Imtiaz Ullah
Imtiaz Ullahhttps://nomadlawyer.org/about/
Imtiaz Ullah is the founder of travel website - NomadLawyer. A Corporate Lawyer, Senior Travel Correspondent, The Traveller Trails magazine and also acts as an Advisory Member, NGO - Sarvahitey. His travel philosophy is exploring new places, meeting new people, knowing the culture, eating like a local. He always believes in the idea-“ Don't just be a traveller but a Responsible one”.

Not To Miss Cuisines From North East India

The North Eastern part of India still remains largely unexplored. But of late people have started travelling  to this part of the world.  As people have started travelling, there are a lot of questions pertaining to food habits like – do you guys eat different kinds of animals? Would we get something in Veg? Your food habits are weird? Do you eat dog meat and snakes? And the list continues. I am always bemused to hearing these questions. Oh, yes! Northeast India has some weird dishes along with regular dishes. If you wish to experiment with your food, then pack your bags and rush to Northeast India to delve into all the weird foods.

North East is an amalgamation of different tribes, ethnicities, religions and hence, there exists a lot of diversity in food habits. 

But the bottom line remains that the entire region loves food. Being from Assam and also having travelled extensively,  I can say that you will get some of the most hospitable people in this part of the country.

Dare to Eat

Yes, I don’t shy away from saying that we do eat different kinds of animals, insects, birds etc. etc. but the cuisine has everything for all. Northeast India is “THE PLACE” to experiment with food.

Not To Miss Cuisines From North East India

One interesting fact–  you will of course find lovely  vegetarian dishes in the Northeast.  So Guys, in the North East, different cuisines cater to vegetarians also. Through this post I wish to break that myth as well.

The food of North East India is considered to be very healthy. Their preparations are simple and yet tasty. Most of the ingredients they use are organic which again, contributes to the health factor.  Dishes are typically spicy as they use chilli pepper rather than garam masala. Oil is uncommon, usually in authentic north eastern food. The remote you travel, less the oil and healthier the people.  Ever seen a woman carrying a huge ass log of wood, well you may in these parts.  All thanks to a healthy lifestyle, food is a big factor in that. 

Also Read: American pizza

Assamese Cuisine: my personal favorite and highly recommended

Assam has to offer an intriguing array of culinary delights. Needless to say if you are a true foodie and love to experiment with your food, Assam will always beckon you.

Some noteworthy dishes from Assam:

  • Khar- my personal favorite
  • Masor Tenga- nothing beats it during summer
  • Pitika: the must have, we axomiya can have potato in any form and with everything
  • Paro Mangxo-  Assam special
  • Duck Meat Curry- immensely tasty but people with high blood pressure please refrain
  • Ou- Tenga- it’s medical benifits will surpise you
  • Chicken with Bamboo shoot- I am speechless here
  • Doi- chira- our staple breakfast 

For Jolpan read: 

If you wish to know about Rice Beer, follow the link below:

Locally Bodo

Bodos in undivided Darrang district of Assam showed that the Bodos are the greater food lover.  The traditional Bodo cuisine is one of the famous cuisines of Assam

The characteristics are little use of spices but strong flavors due to the use of endemic exotic herbs, fruits and vegetables that are fresh, dried or fermented. A traditional meal of Bodo begins with a Kharwi, a class of dishes named after the main ingredient. The food is usually served in bell metal utensils. The meal is concluded with  goi-phathwi (betel nut and leaf). The common foods of Bodos are rice with meat, fish, rice-beer (zau), vegetable, alkali dish (Kharwi), bathwn

  • Mwita Kangkrai – crab with roselle leaves
  • Napham – fermented fish chutney – This is a must have if you love trying out fish variations
  • Sobai Jwng Dau Jwng – Chicken in roasted black gram
  • Daau Jwng Kumra Jwng – Chicken curry cooked with White gourd melon
  • Ondla Jwng Naa Jwng – Fish curry with rice powder
  • Sobai Jwng Oma Gwran Jwng – Smoked Pork with Black Gram
  • Emphow Jwng Mwitha Jwng – Silkworm cooked with Roselle leaves
  • Silkworm Fry
  • Goi Phathwi – Betel Leaf and Nut

Photos of Bodo Cuisine contributed by Alongbar Basumatary(Souls_Of_Green)


Healthy Manipur

Manipur food is considered to be very healthy because all their dishes are steamed and not fried. Even though they use very simple flavours in their food, it is no less delicious. Most of the ingredients they use are organic which contributes to the health factor. They use little oil but a lot of spices because, instead of masala powder, they make use of chilli pepper.

Veg thali clicked by Chandni Chhajer.

 One interesting part- the photographer, herself is vegetarian and she loved the Manipuri,  vegetarian food. So Guys, in the North East, different cuisines cater to vegetarians also. 

Some noteworthy dishes from Manipur:

  • Kangshoi
  • Singju
  • Paaknam
  • Alu Kangmet
  • Nga- Thongba

Meghalaya Food Safari

Meghalaya comprises three major districts – Khasi hills, Garo hills and Jaintia hills and the food is different in each region. The Garos eat a lot of yam, greens and use sodium bicarbonate in their cooking. While sesame seeds are used all across, the Jaintias love them a little more than the rest of the tribes. Apart from the slight variations, ja – rice and doh – meat (pork, beef, chicken) are part of the staple diet all over Meghalaya.

Meghalaya is more famous for its spicy meat and fish preparations.

Some noteworthy dishes of Meghalaya are:


This dish is a typical food among the Khasis, it is a mixture of rice with pork or sometimes cooked with chicken and fish. It includes spices like onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger, it gives you a slight taste of Biryani but less spicy.

Ja Stem

Ja stem is another favorite food cook from rice and turmeric powder which makes it yellow in color, it is also cooked with black sesame seed to further enhance the flavor.


Don’t go with the smell but the taste! Tungrymbai is prepared from fermented soya beans and a mixture of other spices. It is one kind of chutney which is highly delicious found in almost every Khasi food stall and eaten by many Shillong people.


This dish is a mixture of pork and black sesame seeds; though simple in cooking, the flavor of the sesame seeds adds another twist to the dish that makes it mouth-watering.


If you love pork you should try Dohkhlieh which is another popular cuisine among the Khasis which includes boiled pork, onions and chilies.

Garo Special

Garo’s are mainly known for their richness in non-vegetarian dishes, and they are really so delicious that once and all everyone should try it. Kappa is the one which is made in almost every household, and is a very delicious and simple dish.

Photos from Meghalaya food contributed by Ashley D Joseph.

Awesome-  Arunachal Pradesh

The Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh situated in the Northeast extremity of the country and the land of rising sun.

Arunachal Pradesh is home to 26 major tribes and over 100 sub-tribes, therefore, organic dishes from some other tribes also found their way to the menu of the sumptuous two-day feast. These included lukter or powdered chilli prepared with chicken or pork and bamboo shoots, amin or gravy rice granules prepared with meat, and baka/kopi boil, a wild eggplant.

The traditional food habits of the tribal populace of the state are very simple and have to do with the festival and rituals, which forms a mosaic of ethnic cultural combinations.  Fermented foods are important and inseparable constituents of the daily source of delicacy for the tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh. The countable number of fermented foods varies among the tribes along with practices of preparation and its uses as ingredients in their daily recipes.

Arunachal Pradesh is one of the states of  India where the dishes vary within the region according to tribal influence. Arunachal Pradesh is considered one of the richest botanical regions in India, where people depend much on shifting cultivation and forest based food products for their food and nutritional security. The state is rich in traditional foods and beverages and methods of processing various forest and agricultural products by the tribal communities with their rich experiences.

Traditional Arunachal Pradesh food includes

● Rice that is prepared in two different styles Dung Po and Kholam,

● Nou kai noo som (a chicken preparation with tender fermented bamboo shoots),

● Nou moo phan (pork blended with local herbs),

● Nou moo shen (fried pork prepared with bamboo shoots),

● Paa nung (fish blended with local herbs and wrapped in tong/ekkam and steamed),

● Pasa (a fish soup prepared from fresh raw fish),

● Pika Pila is a type of a pickle that is made by using bamboo shoot and pork fat with a little addition of King Chilly.

● Lukter is a combination of cooked dry meat and chilli flakes from the King chilly or Bhut Jolokia.

● Thukpa, is a noodle soup dish that is made with boiled rice noodles, chicken or vegetables. It is a traditional dish of ‘Monpa’, a tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

● Momos, Momo is a dumpling stuffed with various vegetables like cabbage, potato, carrot etc in case of Veg- Momo and Chicken, mutton, beef etc.

● Apong, beer is homemade, free of any chemicals and is also light on the buds if you’re a light drinker.

For vegetarians too, there are a plethora of choices. Noo phan – boiled fresh tender bamboo shoots flavoured with ginger leaves – and the phak kho – seasonal green leafy vegetable – tasted just divine. The pi koi tome or banana flower gravy with colocasia is another delicious dish.

Foods of Monpa tribe In these foods, local paneer, dry meat of yak, solu krepu (dried boiled green chilli), blue green algae [(rimom), called chhilap (Chhimeans water) in Tawang Monpa dialect], ghee and Chhurpi (paneer from yak milk) are more popular.


Monpas and Khambas of West Kameng, Tawang, West Siang and upper Siang districts mainly prepare Churapi and Churkham. The main ingredient used for the preparation of Churpi and Churkham is Yak milk. Yak milk is the traditional preference for making this cheese although any other fresh milk may be used.


Whiteboard cheese produced during preparation of Churapi is mixed with pieces of old stored Churpi and a little fresh milk into a smooth paste, shaped with hands and cut into pieces of desired.

Photos of Arunachal Pradesh contributed  Siddhartha Saikia


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If you are a food lover I bet you travel to North East India and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

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