Enjoy the distinct food trail of the North-Eastern states of India at these restaurants
The North-Eastern states of the country, lovingly called the Seven Sisters — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura – along with Sikkim churn out a whole variety of food that incorporate a diversity of ingredients and flavours. While for a large number of us North-Eastern cuisine is only about momos and thukpa, there is actually a lot more. Also while the cuisine is definitely more adventurous with meats, there are some amazing dishes for vegetarians too. Fresh herbs, vegetables and spices local to the region, all go together to make North-Eastern cuisine special. Here’s our pick of five restaurants in Delhi perfect for a meal.
Bamboo lamps, wooden masks, and framed portraits of Naga locals welcome you to Nagaland Kitchen. Their vast menu features a wide range of options from chicken to pork to fish. However, it is their pork dishes that are a must-try. The pork ribs just melt in your mouth, while the pork chilli will have you coming back for seconds. Vegetarians should try Rosep Aon, a signature dish of the Ao Naga tribe. It’s basically steamed vegetables with Naga herbs. Traditionally it has dried fish, but at Nagaland Kitchen they make it without the fish. Also, try the chef’s special Naga veg soup.
Insider’s tip: Try out their signature Raja Mircha Vodka Shot and the Naga Chilli Bloody Mary but only if you are prepared for your tongue to be numbed for a while.
Where: S-2, Uphaar Cinema Complex, Green Park Extension Market, Green Park, New Delhi
Cost for Two: Rs 1,500 (without alcohol)
Serving both Naga and Chinese cuisine, Hornbill is obviously known for its Naga food. And as expected, it is their pork dishes that shine. However, their thalis – chicken, fish, and pork – are also very popular as they make for a complete meal with a portion of rice, dal, boiled vegetables, and chutney. Try their chef’s special called Chef’s Pork that is pork accompanied with kidney beans and mustard leaf and smoked pork with axon and yam. Unfortunately, there isn’t much for vegetarians except for rice, dal, and boiled vegetables.
Insider tip: Try Zutho or rice beer commonly consumed by the Angami Naga tribes. It is fermented and has a sour taste and fruity aroma, a bit-like Japanese sake.
Where: 104-A, Near NCC Gate, Safdurjung, New Delhi
Cost for Two: Rs 800
The Categorical Eat Pham
Looking for a place that serves homey North-Eastern food, especially Manipuri, then the quaintly named The Categorical Eat Pham is the place to go. Their Manipuri fish curry with steamed rice is a must try. If you have a big appetite, try their chicken, pork or fish thali that comes with nine dishes including Manipuri dal, karela chutney, steamed pumpkin and rice. Eromba, an ethnic cuisine of the Meitei community is something you can experiment with, though be warned that it is spicy. For veg lovers there is the veg thali, but if that seems too much, try the pakora thongba-aloo kanghou- rice bowl. It is a portion of rice served with Manipur pakoda curry and pan-fried potato.
Insider’s tip: On weekends they serve a Manipuri lunch buffet with 14 items.
Where: 168, ground floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi
Cost for two: Rs 600
This lovely restaurant known for its Sikkimese and Nepali cuisine that used to be in Greater Kailash I has now become a delivery-only restaurant. Do order in as the food makes you feel good. The pork ribs – four pieces of ribs roasted in a hot and spicy sauce – are a must-try. As are the chicken and mutton thakali thalis –a Nepali special. They come with rice, dal, saag, seasonal veggies, three traditional Nepali pickles, and a Nepali sweet.
Delhi-based gastronome, Sameer Bawa who goes with the Instagram-handle spiceitupwithsam and loves all-things food recommends Nimtho’s pork momos, buckwheat chicken momos, chicken jhol momos – momos in a sesame and peanut gravy, chicken choila – chargrilled chicken tossed with ginger garlic and green coriander and pork with saag – roasted pork cooked with spices and mustard greens.
Where: Delivery only
Cost: Rs 1000 for two
Yeti – The Himalayan Kitchen
Yeti has five outlets in Delhi-NCR and offers classic Nepali and Tibetan fare. Do try the Shabalay – a meat-filled deep-fried pie. You can choose between chicken, mutton and pork as its stuffing. Thentuk, which is a Tibetan-style hand-pulled noodle soup is also done really well at Yeti. But it is their pork thukpa which is an institution – perfectly cooked spices of pork in a spicy stock. Order a tingmo to go with it.
Vegetarians should try the piro aloo – spicy potatoes with cumin, garlic and turmeric and the bhuteko chana – stir-fried chickpeas in Nepali spices, suggests Bawa.
Insider’s tip: Try the Tibetan yak butter tea and the Baktsa marku – a Tibetan dessert of tiny dough balls mixed with sugar and dry cheese. They take around 15-20 minutes to cook so order along with the main course.
Where: Colonnade, B41, B Block, Inner Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Cost for two: Rs 2000