Sassy South Indian

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10 best foods to try if you are a vegetarian travelling North East – Sikkim

Apart from the experience of exploring places ,  Food has always been an integral part of each one of our travels.

Not to be judgmental but, the thought of food while I traveled to North – Eastern part of India as a vegetarian always made me wonder/worry how I would manage the long cold days inspite of being a small eater. Well, I was so totally in for a surprise as I traveled through these places and although the ‘maggi’ and ‘momos’ made its way through most parts of my days diet – I still managed  to try a lot of local vegetarian  delicacies with some understanding of what goes into these foods as flavors in such extreme temperatures !

Nothing elaborate – But, here are some of the dishes I got to try during my recent travel to Sikkim.

Thukpa 

A noodle-soup like dish with a tangy broth – this is best served hot with some fried onions and boy! The quantity is definitely plenty for a small eater like me.

Thukpa – a soup variety at North-East

Sel Roti 

A sweet doughnut shaped dish that is typically made with rice flour is easily available in most of the places across Sikkim and areas surrounding it. Typically made during festivities, these rotis can be quite a mouthful. A must try !

Sel Roti

Alu chuda 

Not specifically limited only to the North – East realm of cuisines but this one surely had me asking for more!

A simple potato based dish – sautéed with some spices and topped with chuda (mixture) and just a dash of katta-meeta chutney and darn it was just the perfect dish for the evening.

 

Chhurpi

Is a type of traditional cheese made out of buttermilk (most common is the yak milk/mountain goat milk) and traditionally used to make side curry dishes that goes well with roti and rice. There is a soft and hard variety of chhurpi available where, the hard ones are generally very chewy rubber like. This cheese is made and consumed mostly in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet.

Chhurpi – cheese variety in North East

Roti – Alu sabji 

There is something mystical about the Buddha Park and as the chants engrossed me in its rhythm , my tour guide reminded that I have a taste of the local food at the park premises itself. This simple roti and sabji at the small café on the insides served a humble platter and menu. The Rotis are freshly made,comparatively thick and slightly layered and is best eaten with a spicy potato curry served hot – both simple yet extremely filling along with the butter tea.

Roti – spicy potato curry

The lady also was sweet enough to serve a special custard as complimentary.

Drinks on the menu 

Although my search for Cchhang and Tongba ended in disappointment – I was really pepped about the non-alcohoic beverages and the one drink that lures me to the tiniest restos and cafes is TEA and forms of it.

Ginseng tonic 

This was one refreshing drink I got to try on the very first evening at Gangtok – It was sheer blend of local tea with ginger, lemon and a few local herbs and was absolutely enjoyable on the cold evenings by the mountains.

Ginseng Tonic – Tea speciality at cafes and Bakery

Butter chai 

This was definitely on my list – The lady in the café coarsely explained how they make this drink. It starts with breing tea leaves in milk, mixed with a heap of local sourced butter and flavored with a pinch of salt ! – I wasn’t sure if this was going to work for my palette by funnily so – I liked it ! (maybe not exactly something I would hunt down for again.. but no hard feelings either 😉 )

Butter Tea

 

While in the North East – Try these instead of the usual options:

Wai wai instead of Maggi 

Absolutely no difference – maybe slightly shorter noodle strings and a hint of difference in flavor. If you request – make your wai wai experience better with some added vegetables.

Wai Wai – Instant packet noodles with vegetables

Momos 

Ah ! you will end up having more than your usual share of these – but, try the dryfruit and the dates flavors too if it is available in your hotel

Rice dumplings

Rolls

Don’t forget to visit ‘Roll House’ at MG Marg ! just an amazing variety of hot and freshly made rolls – absolutely hygienic and mouth watering !

Rolls with varied vegetarian stuffing

Have you tried some of these ?  Tell me more about vegetarian dishes/options you got to try while your visit at North-East?

 

Images courtesy :google

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