One of the most vibrant siblings among the seven sisters in the Northeast is the state of Meghalaya. Blessed with natural beauty and tribal culture, this is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your friends or family members. After the year we have all had, having a vacation in this Himalayan state is something that will rejuvenate your body and mind in the best way possible. While you are exploring the city of Shillong or drenching yourself in Cherrapunji, trying out the local delicacies is highly recommended. The food of Meghalaya is so distinctive that you will be in awe of every dish you devour in any part of this beautiful state. As there are three main tribes in Meghalaya, the food eaten in villages and cities can differ depending on where you are located. For instance, people belonging to the Khasi and Jaintia tribes will have a lot of bamboo shoots in their food preparations. On the other hand, Garos prefer eating a lot of pork-based dishes among other proteins from animals. And yes, there is a lot more than momos! Mentioned below are 10 famous food items of Meghalaya that you must try on your next vacation:
Jadoh happens to be one of the most popular Khasi street food items in the state of Meghalaya. You will rarely find someone who does not like eating this dish. It is such a popular delicacy that there is a restaurant called Jadoh in Shillong which is very popular among the locals. The dish can seem a little daunting to those who are scared of space but in reality, this red rice and pork preparation is mouth-meltingly yummy! Spice lovers can get an extra helping of green chillies in their Jadoh and drench is with some chutney to make their palette sing and dance.
Meghalayan cuisine celebrates pork in all its glory. Be it steamed, boiled, fried or grilled, pork plays a key role in most of the dishes eaten by the local population. One such is Doh-Khleih, which is essentially a salad prepared with minced up pork, green chillies, and onions. Now, this might seem like a pretty simple dish to you but the wow factor is a servicing of pig brains, curry, and bread along with this local delicacy. The sheer magic of this traditional Meghalayan food item is an experience that you need to have on your next trip. While exploring the Police Bazar in Shillong, you can try this pork salad at Trattoria, which is literally a hole in the wall food joint that prepares the most outstanding Khasi dishes in the city.
3. Nakham Bitchi
Pescatarians or people who eat fish but no other form of animal meat can have the time of their lives in Meghalaya. There are a lot of dishes prepared by curing small fish and drying them out completely. Nakham is a type of dried fish that can be either fried or boiled to prepare a soup or Bitchi. The idea of this dish is to soothe your nerves on a chilly winter night in Shillong. Devouring this homely soup with a group of friends is the ultimate Meghalayan way of life. Don’t go to commercial places for this particular as the one prepared at small shacks would taste much better.
Pumaloi is a staple food of Meghalaya during festivals and family gatherings. So, it would be a shame to miss out on this delicacy when you are vacationing in this state during Shad Suk Mynsiem, Shad Sukra or Wangala festival. The main ingredients of a traditional Pumaloi consist of powdered rice steamed in a special pot known as Khiew Ranei. If a friendly Khasi aunty allows you inside her kitchen, then make sure to learn the recipe of this dish from her.
For pork lovers, an upgraded version of Pumaloi is Pudoh. The preparation is done in the exact same manner with powdered rice steam in a Khiew Ranei but the additional pork chunks with curry brings this dish to a whole new level! The chances of getting your mouth stuffed with platefuls of Pudoh in a village carnival are so high that it’s not even funny. Every bite of this delicacy will make you appreciate the simplicity of the culture and traditions followed in Meghalaya. Food of this kind is the most satisfying, isn’t it?
6. Minil Songa
Meghalaya tour packages that include food joints and hole-in-the-wall type of places to eat local delicacies is the right choice for people who live for food. So, when you are planning your vacation to this state, it would be wise to do your homework on the most popular shacks, restaurants, and even home chefs who will happily deliver food to your doorstep. Mini Songa is another famous food item in Meghalaya that you need to appreciate on your trip. Prepared by Garo tribals, this is a sticky rice delicacy that exudes nuttiness in the most aromatic fashion.
7. Sakin Gata
A fascinating aspect of food in this state is its delicate balance between tribal and Asian influences. Travellers who have visited other parts of Southeast Asia will notice that there are certain dishes found in the cuisine of Meghalaya that are very similar to theirs. Sakin Gata is a rice cake that will make you happy the moment you put it inside your mouth. This sweet dish will have several layers of rice and roasted sesame seeds making such a great combination of nutty flavour that a single bite just won’t be enough for you. Celebrated as one of the main food items in a Meghalayan thali, Sakin Gata is a treasure that you need to find at a local sweet shop as soon as possible.
When we talk about the famous food items of Meghalaya, the mention of a local beverage is essential. Kyat is fermented rice beer that has a reputation for livening up even the dullest of parties! It’s a unique alcoholic beverage that people from all walks of life enjoy in this state. Mingling with the locals with a big glass of Kyat will surely help you become a part of the locals in no time.
By now, you can understand the extraordinary nature of food in Meghalaya. However, this does not mean that local people do not eat everyday food. You will find a lot of families enjoying rice and dal along with pork curry. Dohneiiong is yet another food item in Meghalaya relished across all cities and towns. It is prepared with fried pork mixed with green chillies, peppers, red onions, and thick gravy that is best enjoyed with a piping hot plate of rice. Since it is a filling dish, you can have a bowl of it right before your Meghalaya sightseeing expeditions begin. You will be energetic throughout your day tour.
The cuisine of Meghalaya is known for its wholesome characteristic and Tungrymbai is the most befitting example of it. A dish that makes you feel warm and happy, it is a traditional food item of Meghalaya that needs to be tried out at least once. You will practically get everything in it, from soya beans, onions, carrots, ginger, spices to boiled or fried pork. For vegetarians, you can skip on the pork and get an extra portion of soybeans. After all the places to visit in Meghalaya have been explored, you will absolutely love hogging this local dish.
If you aren’t salivating by now, your palate needs a literal shake-up! The delectable food of Meghalaya along with its enhancing tourist attractions are just waiting for your arrival. Plan your vacation and treat yourself to unique delicacies in this state.