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Travel guide


When we travel, food and local cuisines form a part of our bucket list. Ladakh is one of the most sought-out destinations in the country and if you haven’t ticked off every item in the ‘local foods to try in Ladakh’ list, what have you done? However, the place is known for its innumerous exceptional dishes, quite enjoyable in the heart of the mountains. We have made a list of what you should eat in Ladakh, for your convenience.

Ladakhi Pulao:
While you may not find this delicacy in every other restaurants, it is a special dish served as lunch or dinner in traditional Ladakhi households. The subtle, yet aromatic flavour soaked is a treat to the nostrils. A modified version of Kashmiri pulao, the dish is made with various seasonings and mutton stock, layered with caramelized onions, carrots and nuts to bring out its own uniqueness. This is one of the must-try local food in Ladakh.

Pronounced as ‘teemo’ the dish is a form of soft, fluffy, fermented and steamed bread, served hot with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian stew. The stew is spicy and sour, acting as a relief in the mountainous, chilly weather. Although traditionally vegetarian, the stew has evolved with time and can be eaten both as a light meal or a snack. The food is a household dish of the region, sold almost everywhere in Ladakh.

A specialty of North India, saag is a vegetarian dish made of spinach, red chillies, garlic, tomatoes, cloves, and is cooked in mustard oil. Usually it is a semi-dry curry served with rice or roti. Being spicy, it tastes amazing for dinner in the mountains, amidst bonfire.

Butter Tea:
Locally known as gur gur, the Ladakhi Butter Tea is a special beverage of the region made with tea leaves which are boiled for half a day, salt, water and the key ingredient-yak butter which is churned using a wooden equipment. Unlike any other, the tea has a pink hue with a sour, tangy taste with a unique aroma. Be sure to try it from a local shop or a Ladakhi household to not lose out on the authenticity.

An everyday meal in Ladakhi households, skew is a side dish made of wheat flour, root veggies and water and served with meat or vegetables. The flour, roughly moulded into the size of a thumb, in a pasta-like shape, is added to stew, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian or even attached to momos. It is often made using turnips, carrots and potatoes, and often works as a relief against the snow. Skew is also the staple dish of Ladakh,

Khambir is one of the famous local foods you should try in Leh-Ladakh. It is a traditional, brownish bread paired best with with qahwa or butter tea and acts as a snack. It is often taken with fruit jam too. The pan shape and crispy nature makes it a perfect compliment to Ladakhi broths and brews.

Kulcha Bun:
Just like we have biscuits for tea, the mountainous people have their own variant of a snack, the kulcha bun to compliment their special qahwa or butter tea. It is round in shape with a salty flavour, often prepared in tandoors, with ghee, wheat and baking powder. Like many Kashmiri food which have been introduced from Central Asia, the Kulcha bun has its origins in Tashkent and is known to be a favourite of Timur.

Thenktuk is a variant of thukpa, but only less spicy. It derives its name from ‘then’ meaning ‘pull’ and ‘thuk’ referring to ‘noodles’ with roots in Tibet. These are fragments of flour dough in the soup along with noodles, mutton, chicken, onion, tomatoes, ginger garlic, radish, potato spinach, cilantro and even yak meat. If you are a food connoisseur, you would definitely not want to miss this.

One animal you will notice in abundance in Ladakh is yak and hence, dairy products of yak is a must-try food in Ladakh. Chhurpi or plainly, yak cheese is used to make momos, or served simply as a side dish with rice. It is made by churning yak milk and adding lime to it. You will often find three versions of yak cheese: sweet, plain and salty, which tastes like Italian ricotta cheese.

Sea Buckthorn Juice:
This is a unique beverage prepared only in Ladakh. The Sea Buckthorn berries are found in the Himalayan region and are used for improving sight, preventing infection and slowing the aging process. Also known as Leh Berries, the Sea Buckthorn berries are high in Omega 3 and used to prepare the delicious juice as well as jams.

Ladakh is not just picturesque mountains and adventurous treks. The food, the culture, the climate and everything else makes it a perfect vacation spot. And you can never know a place unless you know its people. And of course, what is better than striking up conversation with the locals over their best meals? So go on, and get treat your tummy to the fullest!

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