The Himalayan state of Sikkim is undoubtedly an underrated travel destination in India. But even more underrated is Sikkim’s local cuisine. Sikkim is the pure amalgam of the colourful culture, rich heritage and lip-smacking food. One can never get too much of anything in Sikkim. People here live in such harmony and peace, that one will only find bliss and contentment here. While exploring a destination as beautiful as Sikkim, it would be a cardinal sin to miss out on its unique food. The food of Sikkim is something that will amaze you with its simple yet relishing flavours. The food of Sikkim is a rich mixture of Nepalese, Tibetan and homemade Sikkimese food. This blend of the three cultures is very soothing on the taste buds and leaves you craving as soon as you drop your plate.
Popularly known as the Chimney Soup, Gya Kho is a hearty meat stew served with an assortment of vegetables and meats. Originally a Tibetan delicacy, Gya Kho is now very much a part of Sikkimese cuisine. Its name comes from the bowl it is typically served in which resembles a coal chimney. In fact, traditional Gya Kho serving bowls come with a place for holding coals that keep the stew warm and gives it a unique taste.
Sikkimese people are known for their fermented dishes and Sinki is one of the most popular ones. This pickled dish of finely sliced radishes makes for a wonderful side to momos, steamed rice or any vegetable/meat dish. The pickled delicacy may take as long as a month for it to reach the fermentation stage and stays good for up to a year! Sinki is also used as a flavor enhancer while making soups, stews, and salad dressings.
Another tempting accompaniment, Eromba is made with potatoes, bamboo shoots, and fermented fish.The dish comes together with the addition of seasonings and a whole lot of chili. Eromba is commonly served with lunch and dinner but can also be enjoyed with a piece of bread for a simple snack.
Smoked pork with bamboo shoots
Pork is both commonly available and is a key ingredient in many Sikkimese delicacies. This dish is a beautiful amalgamation of delicious local bamboo shoot and pork and is mostly made dry to be enjoyed as an appetizer or a side dish with local bread or sticky rice. This dish is popular not only because it’s delicious but also because it keeps you warm when the temperature dips.
The Sikkimese version of chorizo sausage, Gyuma is made from minced beef, fat, beef blood and spices. Yes, you read that right! Gyuma is a blood sausage with its origins in Tibet. The final product has a dark reddish or black color that may look ominous, but it is known to be very delicious. This is undoubtedly a must-try dish for those who aren’t afraid to try new things!
What better way to end a meal in Sikkim than with a local dessert? The Sael Roti is a close cousin of the usual ring-shaped doughnuts but made of fermented rice batter. They are typically deep fried and then dusted with sugar for sweetness. Sael Roti is a common and popular sweet served during festivals and occasions and is loved by the locals.
Pair these dishes with some Jaanr, Chaang or Tongba, the local fermented alcoholic beverages and get ready for a good time in Sikkim.