Balancing A Regular Life with Extreme WANDERLUST
Maggi is our unofficial national food and one ought to have some on a chilly Himalayan day camped inside one of many ‘tent restaurants’ in Ladakh.
Thukpa is the quintessential noodle soup for the soul. Traditionally, noodles are boiled with meat and veggies but Thukpa is also delicious in its pure vegetarian incarnation. Don’t forget to spice it up with a dollop of the flavorful chutney that accompanies Thukpa.
Thentuk is a variation of the soup that uses flat noodles and a slightly different set of spices.
When in Leh, please do not miss on trying out ‘Chhurpi’. It is hardened cheese made of yak milk – yes you read that right!
Chhurpi is made by boiling buttermilk. The solid mass that is obtained is separated from the liquid and wrapped and hung in a thin cloth to drain out the water. To harden the cheese, the soft chhurpi is wrapped in a jute bag and pressed hard to get rid of the water. After it dries, it is cut into small cuboidal pieces and hung over fire to harden it further.
A WORD OF CAUTION - some people feel that the cheese smells a little too ‘Yak-ish’, and unpalatable. Also, since chhurpi is pretty hard, better buy a pack of smaller pieces.
Sabagleb is essentially fried flat bread stuffed with meat, cheese or veggies. Its closest parallel is perhaps a kulcha. This is a meal by itself but can also be accompanied with a clear soup.
Brace your teeth for the Chhurpi challenge!
A hearty bowl of Thentuk
The most popular food from Ladakh, these little pockets of joy do not fail to satisfy you every single time. Momos are dumplings stuffed with meat or veggies, and accompanied with a spicy chutney. You could choose to have them steamed and lumpy or fried and crispy.
Momos are now a staple across India but it would be a crime to not have a few plates while staring in to the Himalayan vastness.
Post dinner Kahwah
1) Finding vegetarian options is not a challenge in Ladakh. All of the above options come in vegetarian avatars
2) Apart from traditional ones, 'western' options such as Italian, Israeli, Mexican are in abundance
3) Heads up – there are'nt many wine shops in the area but you can easily drink at bars and restaurants
Situated at a dizzying altitude of over 11000 feet, Ladakh offers a multitude of unique flavors. Food in this region is a carefully crafted blend of Tibetan, Indian and Chinese influences. Most restaurants across Ladakh use local produce and you will definitely sense a distinct freshness in your meals. Here, I list 5 things to eat on your next trip to Ladakh:
Although with origins in the Kashmir region, Kahwah is an essential drink in Ladakh as well. Kahwah is green tea brewed with saffron and cinnamon and served with diced cashews and almonds. Traditionally a post meal beverage, Kahwah helps stay warm and relieves headache.