The rich diversity of Arunachal Pradesh is reflected in its cuisine, with every tribe contributing their own special dishes to the gastronomical platter of the state. Each dish existing today has been passed down from generations, with the flavours telling stories of native Arunachal Pradesh.
The staple food of Arunachal Pradesh is rice, and the locals mostly eat boiled or smoked food. One of the main ingredients is bamboo shoot and they eat a lot of strictly boiled or steamed leafy vegetables, fish, and meat. Fermented foods are much loved by the locals and many yummy delights are made with them. Fried foods in Arunachal Pradesh are not really popular but are still available. The lovely cuisine of this state is mostly devoid of any spice but nonetheless delicious. The locals are also fond of dairy products and you will be able to find dishes where such products are used.
Here are some of the most delicious foods (traditional and street food) you must try when you visit Arunachal Pradesh.
AUTHENTIC LOCAL SPECIALTIES:
Chura Sabji is one of the popular dishes in Arunachal Pradesh and is loved by all. This food is basically a soup or a curry that is made from fermented cheese of either yak or cow’s milk. To make this dish spicy, some flakes of King Chilly, locally known as bhut jolokia or raja mircha are added to the dish.
Chura Sabji - One of the famous foods of Arunachal Pradesh (courtesy: CrazyMasalaFood)
One of the most widely eaten foods in the whole Northeast region of India is the bamboo shoot dishes. The bamboo shoot has a delicate flavor and is used as a spice in many dishes in Arunachal Pradesh like in boiled vegetables, pickles, chutneys, fish, meat, etc. Apart from being used just as a spice, a bamboo shoot curry is also made and is loved by all in Arunachal Pradesh. Tender bamboos are cooked after marinating them in baking soda and cooked with some ground spices on low flame. It is one of the foods you should definitely try in this state.
Bamboo shoot curry with rice
Wungwut Ngam is a delicious chicken dish of Arunachal Pradesh that is prepared with rice powder. To make this yummy food, the rice is washed and roasted for a while and then ground into fine powder. The chicken pieces are then marinated into local herbs and spices along with the rice powder and then steamed or boiled. If you are a chicken lover then you must try this popular dish of Arunachal Pradesh with a little different twist.
One appetizing side dish delicacy of Arunachal Pradesh is the lovely Pehak. It is a type of chutney made from fermented soybean and chillies. Fermented food is a common delicacy in Northeast India and Arunachal Pradesh is no less. The flavor of Pehak can be experienced with a bowl of rice. You must try this awesome dish in Arunachal Pradesh.
Pehak – Favorite side dish of the locals of Arunachal Pradesh
Lukter is one of the most famous dishes of Arunachal Pradesh and is loved by all who eat beef meat. It is a feast on the plate. Lukter is a combination of delicious cooked flavored dry meat and chilly flakes (Bhut Jolokia). This food is treated as a side dish and served with rice.
Pasa is basically a soup of fresh fish. Fish is taken by the people of Arunachal Pradesh with rice every other day and Pasa is one type of fish food they all love. They prepare the dish by adding many local herbs with ginger, garlic, khumpatt leaves, makat, green chillies and also add some minced meat paste. Just a taste of Pasa can blow your mind, and if you are a fish lover, this is going to be another interesting traditional fish dish you will remember for long.
Pasa – A yummy dish you must try
Another fish dish in Arunachal Pradesh is the delicious Ngatok. It is a fish curry where fishes are sliced and marinated raw in local spices. While preparing this food, a stone is put amidst the fish pieces that are wrapped in banana leaves and covered with charcoal. This process gives the dish a smoky interesting flavor and makes the food finger licking yum. It is a must-try fish dish in Arunachal Pradesh.
Ngatok – A fish curry of Arunachal Pradesh
Pika Pila is a popular pickle of Arunachal Pradesh that is mostly made by the Apatani tribe of Ziro. It is a pickle of bamboo shoots and hot chillies in pork fat. However, it is not very hot but the right amount of spice can be found. Pika Pila is considered as one favorite accompaniment of food of Arunachal Pradesh.
Momos are famous in the whole Northeast part of India and are one of the dishes people of Arunachal Pradesh relish in. Momos are nothing but dumplings that consists of two important components. One is the flour dough and the other is filling. The fillings are made out of meat like chicken, mutton, pork, or beef. If you are a vegetarian, you may also be able to enjoy this delicious food with vegetable filling. The fillings are covered with small flour dough and steamed with some soup in the lowest compartment of the vessel and momos above them. The steam of the soup from the lowest compartment cooks the dumplings above and also adds to the flavor.
Made of rice flour, it is shaped into a circle and steamed. Sesame seeds are sprinkled in between to give it a unique taste.
Mala roti is a famous snack in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a ring-shaped sweet rice bread that is deep-fried. It can be flavoured with cardamom and cloves.
Guguni (matar chaat)
This gravy dish is made of peas with other spices thrown in and topped with chopped onions. Sometimes potatoes are also added with the peas.
These are just a few of the most delicious delights of Arunachal Pradesh cuisine. The minimum use of spice, oil, and the addition of many herbs make the food of Arunachal Pradesh healthy.
While you can try all these delicious dishes in many of the restaurants, for a wholesome experience I recommend that you stay in a homestay instead where you will see how ingredients are freshly sourced and cooked.