North-East Indian Cuisine is represented by a striking mélange of various vibrant and culturally diverse tribes, who follows a food culture which differs from the rest of the country. The flavours incorporated in their dishes mostly reflect their varied and colourful way of life. Simple yet flavorful ingredients like Bamboo Shoot, Bhoot Jolokia and local greens are extensively used and could also be called their main USP. North-eastern people are fond of meat like poultry, beef, pork and freshwater fish and it is quite fascinating to note a wonderful change of taste to our average jaded palette. These hot, pungent and aromatic dishes are however incomplete without a searing bowl of rice.
Here are some of the must-try dishes from this region.
Fish and Rice constitute the standard diet of the Assamese community. Masor Tenga (Tangy fish curry) is another staple dish which is widely popular among the locals. The other delicacies include Khar – a type of pulse which is prepared with raw papaya. Assamese people are known for preparing different types of sweet or savoury snacks called Pitha mostly during the Bihu festivals. These snacks are served along with Doi (curd) and Gur (Jaggery)
Arunachal Pradesh Cuisine:
Arunachalis are known to be hard-core carnivores and their cuisine includes a handful of non-vegetarian dishes. Lukter (smoked Beef) served with a chutney of chillies and fermented soybeans is a top favourite. The tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh are also known to indulge in the making of Apong, a local wine which is delicious and widely popular among the locals here.
The Manipuri people have a long-standing tradition of serving their authentic food on banana leaves. The food scene here features rice as a popular staple diet. A regional speciality called Iromba, prepared with fermented fish and blazing red chillies creates a symphony of fantastic and pungent flavours.
The Mizo tribe also prefers non-vegetarian dishes like Bai-bai (pork dish) and Arsa Buhchiar (chicken dish) cooked along with plenty of steamed vegetables, bamboo shoot and a very limited amount of spice. The extensive use of local herbs in most of their dishes reflects their simple yet delicious food. These communities also drink their local wines like the rest of the lot.
Northeast India is no short of unique non-vegetarian dishes be it Pork, fish or Duck and Nagaland is an excellent example of this tradition. Nagaland’s pork delicacies excel among the iconic North-eastern dishes. The smoking and fermenting process are generally followed to cook meat here which adds a unique flavour to their dishes. Smoked pork and Steamed Fish with Bamboo shoot are the highlights of the menu and go perfectly well with a bowl of rice.
A luscious pork and rice-based Khasi delicacy called Jadoh is one of Meghalaya’s prized dishes. This region has some interesting range of pork dishes be it a simple pork salad called Dohkhlieh or an exotic pork dish called Doh jem. The Chinese cuisine like Noodles and Momos also occupy a distinctive place in the meals of the tribal communities.
Sikkim is popular as the land of Momos and Tibetan Thukpas like Gyathuk, an appetizing noodle-based steamy soup. Apart from the Tibetan influenced delicacies, Phagshapa is an authentic Sikkimese dish made with pork and lots of radishes which has gained many admirers. The Sikkimese people are seen chugging their locally made ‘Tchang’ beer from a bamboo mug
Tripura has literally a ‘sit-down’ affair with Fish delicacies which occupies the top spot in their Bengali influenced menu. As Tripura consist of a large Bengali community, hence every household here is seen serving authentic Bengali dishes.