Sikkimese Cuisine

Thukpa

Hot steamed flour dumplings filled with minced meat, cheese or vegetable, accompanied by home made chilli sauce and piping hot soup. Yes, we are talking about the Momo, the most commonly available food in Sikkim. From roadside shacks to the most expensive restaurants, you will find Momos on every menu. Another popular and easily available item is the Thukpa or Gya-thuk, a typical Tibetan style noodles in soup, based with vegetables or meat.

Momo

But Sikkimese cuisine is much more than just Momos and Thukpa, with every community having their own special way of cooking, using ingredients typical to them. This results in a wide variety of dishes, each with a unique taste and flavour.

 

The Nepalese prepare a special kind of bread, mostly during festivals called the Saelroti. This is prepared from fermented rice batter which is deep fried in a ring shape and eaten with potato curry or meat or simply by itself.

Fermented food, in fact, is an important element of many Sikkimese dishes. Chhurpi

Chhurpi, a fermented dairy product prepared from cow milk with a mild sour taste is used for making soups and Achar. It is often used with Ningro, a wild fern to make a most exotic combination.

Gungruk

Kinema, a fermented soybean food, rich in protein and with a unique flavour is eaten with rice while Gundruk and Sinki are two traditional fermented vegetable products which are sun dried after fermentation and stored for consumption. These are later used for soups, curries and pickles.

Bamboo shoot is another commonly used ingredient in local food. This can vary from fresh bamboo shoot called Tama, which is often used with pork to make an irresistible curry to Mesu, a traditional fermented bamboo shoot product used to make pickles.

But the most exotic local dish is surely Sishnu Soup, prepared from leaves of edible wild varieties of nettle.

Accompanying the food often is Chaang, a fermented cereal-based alcoholic beverage. It is sipped from a bamboo receptacle using a thin bamboo pipe. The receptacle which has millet in it is topped with warm water a few times until the millet loses its flavour. No visit to Sikkim is complete till you try this atleast once.