Leh Ladakh with all its natural beauty is a feast for the eyes and the soul alright; but it is also a feast for your taste buds.
For vegetarians it is an opportunity to savour fresh farm produced vegetables – potatoes, pumpkins, beetroot and beans in never before cooked styles while non-vegetarians can have their fill of mutton and chicken dishes.
Here are some absolutely must-try delicacies of Ladakh that will leave you asking for more:
Butter Tea with Khambir
If you are visiting a local in Ladakh, the one delicacy you are bound to experience is butter tea. Made of tea leaves, salt and yak butter its taste simply grows on you. Relish it with Khambir, the whole wheat local bread! The traditional way to drink the tea is to wait until it cools and then to blow the surface oil away and sip the tea. If you would like a refill remember not to drain the bowl as that is construed to be a sign that you have had enough. Instead leave some tea in the bowl and enjoy the local hospitality as your cup gets filled again miraculously.
Steaming Thumpka & Thenthuk
Originated in Tibet, Thumpka or the Noodle Soup is a staple fare in Ladakh. Another common Noodle Soup prepared with wheat flour dough, vegetables and meat is the Thenthuk. Have it for lunch or dinner and you will hardly have place for anything else. A great place to relish it is at the Thiksey Monastery restaurant. The sheer experience will be unforgettable!
Once again a Ladakhi staple food, it is prepared with wheat flour. Eaten with vegetable or meat stew it makes for a daily meal in Ladakh.
If you are a cheese lover, do try the local cheese made of Yak Milk. Referred to as Chhupri you will find it in street shops in different flavours- sweet, salty and plain. Yak Cheese Pizza at Gesmo Restaurant at Fort Road, is a must try.
Made from roasted flour of wheat, barley, buckwheat, peas and black beans, this once again is a staple food of people in Ladakh.
For someone who loves momos, Ladakh is the place to be in. You could also try the Mokthuk, the perfect blend of warm soup with the goodness of momos. You can relish deep fried Mutton Momos at the Summer Harvest Restaurant Tucked in a corner of Fort Road in the centre of Leh town.
Ladakh clearly is the mutton lover’s haven. Bite into the Gustaba, a mutton delicacy made of mutton minced with spices, shaped into balls. The yogurt gravy gives it an added appeal.
If you have a sweet tooth, you couldn’t be in a better place. The apricot jam particularly is drool worthy and not to be missed. Ladag Apricot Store situated along the Old Fort Road in Town Centre, near LBA Shopping Complex in Leh is a popular place to pick up this delicacy.
This local beer, is made by fermenting miller with yeast. Drunk with Tsampa, which is made by lightly roasting barley, it makes for a delicious combination. Great to keep you warm in the chilly weather, there is just one word of caution. High altitude and alcohol don’t mix well, so remember to have it in not too large quantities!
With such a wide range of delicacies to choose from, Ladakh clearly is the food lover’s haven. Ensure that you get to taste the authentic fare Need we say, Bon Appetit!