When it comes to delicious food and breathtaking scenes of valleys surrounded by mountains, Sikkim is one of the top states in India where tourists flock every month of the year to experience its chill weather and unique traditional food. Its capital, Gangtok, has a lot of places for food lovers that are still unexplored but which offer food at a reasonable price.
Food in Gangtok is so varied that you could find appetizers that start from just Rs 20 to specialty dishes that cost anywhere between Rs 500-700 per dish. There are multiple cuisines to choose from, be it the local traditional food that is cooked to perfection by the locals themselves, or the spicy Indian cuisine that is flavorful and savoury with every bite. There are also restaurants that offer international cuisines such as American, Italian, English, and Korean. In short, there is something for everyone coming from any part of the world.
Meat dishes are highly popular here. Eating meat most of the weekdays is not just a luxury but a necessity due to the high altitude of Sikkim; it’s cold, cloudy, and mostly foggy throughout the whole year. As there is less energy absorption from the sun, consuming meat and food with high protein is a requirement, especially for people who are just here for a couple of days and are not habituated to the environment.
Beef is the most preferred meat, and you will get to eat it in plenty in the northeastern Himalayan regions of India. Here, people have meat in different sorts of ways – as a curry, mixed with vegetables like spinach or potatoes, or dry-fried or chilly fried and garnished with garlic and sauces and served with drinks. The locals even tend to make meat pickles, which are served as an accompaniment with meals. The pickles are made up of chicken, beef, or pork. The meat is first cooked by frying it in low heat and then mixed with spices.
Where to try Nepalese cuisine
If you’ve never been to Gangtok and want to visit, I recommend you try the beef and pork dishes that are unique to this region. Pork curry with spinach is definitely one of the best Nepali dishes. Pork garnished with herbs and garlic with crunchy spinach makes the dish a layered dish full of texture and flavour. It’s usually served with rice and black-eyed peas. You can find these dishes all over the city, with prices and quality varying from place to place. Restaurants that serve the best Nepali tribal cuisine are Thakali, Nimtho, Hamro Bhansa Ghar, and Hotel Gorkha, which are my personal favourite.
Nepali pork dish
Where to try Bhutanese cuisine
While Nepali restaurants serve flavoursome and big-plated dishes, the Bhutanese or the Tibetan community is also not far behind. They serve the best continental and tribal food in town. With dumplings as big as your palm, to bold and never before seen dishes like laphing, thenthuk, gyathuk, amadatse, and thaipo, the variety is huge. These Tibetan and Bhutanese restaurants may be the only place where you can find anything related to beef in Sikkim. And they really do serve the best beef dishes out there. The juicy dumplings from Potala or Taste of Tibet are a treat for beef lovers as they specialise in making steamed beef dumplings. In places like hotel Tashi Delek and Hotel Dynasty, you will find an elegance in both food and the environment. If you’re on a shoe-string budget, you can head to places like Hotel Manish, House of Bamboo, and Momo King for an appetizing treat.
Something for everyone
In recent years, many cafés cum diners are popping up everywhere in Gangtok. From burger and fast-food joints like Selvis Bistro and Meat & Eat, to the newly opened seafood joint Maach & Maacha, and hip cafes such as Local Café and Kelly’s, everyone has someplace suited to their tastes. Some old places like Baker’s Café still have the same style and popularity after so many years as they serve the best coffee and breakfast in town.
Fall in love with food in Gangtok
All these places serve one of the best foods that the capital city has to offer. It makes you crave for more, and the good point is you wouldn’t be spending more than 1000 bucks if you’re on your own. Apart from enjoying the views of the valleys and mountains and the peaceful environment, make it a point to look forward to tasting Sikkim’s food as well because I can assure you, you wouldn’t be finding such variety in such a small place for a long long time.