AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Sikkim is really famous for its scenic beauty and peace, but another thing that Sikkim has a beautiful grasp on is its street food! Its local food is comparatively unique and different from the one found in North India. Sikkimese cuisine mainly constitutes rice and maize.
Sikkimese cuisines are big on flavourful spices, but don’t constitute much of a spicy hot food. Use of onions, cumin, garlic, chillies and turmeric is very common. Due to cold weather and high altitude, fermented foods are very common in Sikkim. To explore Sikkimese cuisine, you should understand that it is influenced by its neighbouring countries of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, but the basic aura of Indian food and rice is staple.
Sael Roti – It is made using fermented rice and is cooked in the shape of rings, resultantly it looks like a South Asian version of a pretzel. It is a part of Sikkimese cuisine and can be eaten with various dishes, as it is a mildly sweet bread. It is a very popular bread in Sikkim due to influence of Nepali cuisine in Sikkim’s culture.
Image by Spice your Life!
Chhurpi-Ningro Curry – Chhupri Cheese is a Sikkimese product made from Yak’s milk. The Chhurpi-Ningro Curry is a Sikkimese dish which is very commonly consumed by the locals! The locals love to eat varieties of mountain ferns, and Ningro curry is a combination of alpine fiddle head ferns sauteed and blended with a chhurpi cheese.
Image by traavelwhistle (left) and Image by epersianfood.com (right)
Chhupri Nigron Curry and Chhupri cheese
Sikkim Tea – It is served in traditionally designed tea cups. It is made by boiling raw tea leaves cultivated in Sikkim only. The tea’s has gained recognition over recent times due to high demand for organic products. The tea has a unique aroma, a mild sweet taste, and a golden colour.
Image by Temi Tea
Bamboo Shoot Curry – It is made from fermented bamboo and is a staple dish of Sikkimese cuisine which is consumed with steamed rice.. This dish is also called Tama curry; to remove the bitter taste of bamboo this dish has a substantial amount of turmeric in it.
Image by PepperOnPizza
Dhindo – It is famously eaten with millet stick and vegetable soup. It is a vegetarian dishmade of cornflour, buckwheat and ground millet. It has a pudding (or halwa) like texture and acts as a staple dish in Sikkimese cuisine.
Image by DesiDakaar
Gundruk – It is a Sikkimese main course dish which is usually enjoyed with soups and curries. It is made using fermented radish and cauliflower leaves. It is said to be one of the national dishes of Nepal.
Image by NorthEast Guide
Sinki- It is another popular fermented food of Sikkim, very similar to Gundruk. It is made with fermented bamboo or radish root tap, which goes through a long process for a few days. Sinki is consumed as a pickle. Both Gundruk and Sinki can also be consumed as a soup with noodles or as a flavourful addition to steamed rice.
Image by Bamboo Retreat
Kodo ki roti – It is a bread of Nepali origination made with Kodo or Ragi flour. The batter is spread on banana leaf is then baked on a tawa. It is traditionally eaten with tomato pickle. It is like a breakfast pancake made with kodo or ragi.
Image by @Enveetu Kitchen
Kinema Curry – It is a Nepal cuisine dish that made its way to Sikkim. It is a curry which is made of fermented Soya beans, a very popular one in Sikkim. Soya increases the nutrition quotient of this dish. The curry is served with rice, and is a very protein filled dish for vegetarian eating individuals.
Image by Indianetzone
Chaang – It is an alcoholic beverage that keeps you warm, which goes perfectly with the cold winters of Sikkim. It is made with fermented cereals, consumed in bamboo vessels and drank through straws made out of bamboo. The beverage is topped with millets for flavour. It is a Tibetan beverage which was later adopted by Sikkim in their own cuisine.
Image by Bamboo Retreat
Thupka – A Sikkimese egg noodle dish influenced by Tibetan cuisine is Thukpa or Gya-thuk. It is a broth based noodle soup that can either be vegetable based or meat-based.
Image by Ashok George at Pinterest
Gya Thuk (Thukpa)