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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which local food dishes is Alchi famous for?

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All that walking around and sightseeing is bound to wake up the sleeping rats in your tummy. Plus the fresh mountain air does its fair bit to increase your appetite. The food made and consumed by the locals is highly nutritious and generally eaten for survival, not taste. Still, with Alchi recently coming into the limelight as a tourist destination, you will find a variety of different cuisines available from Chinese and Italian to Punjabi. However, if authentic Ladakhi food is what you are after, here’s what you should try.


  • Thukpa

    For a quick wholesome and healthy meal, try this staple food of the mountain people. Thukpa is essentially a thick noodle soup with vegetables, chunks of meat and obviously noodles, cooked in a flavourful stock with salt as the only seasoning. A sprinkle of caraway seeds (
    kurnyot) for garnishing is optional. A bowl of this mild medley of tastes and textures, makes a very filling harmonious dish which is a treat to the palate.

  • Ruchotse or Momo or Mok-moks

    These steamed dumplings are quite a hit all over India. You may have had momos in loads of places and had different experiences, but wait till you try the momos prepared in an authentic Ladakhi style! Momos are an intrinsic part of any Ladakhi cuisine, which is a good enough reason for you to try these white succulent bites of steaming pure heaven, filled with minced meat or vegetables. Served with a spicy red hot sauce, which does a great job in heating you up inside out, it is the perfect dish to have on a chilly day out.

  • Yak milk products

    From cheeses to butter teas to curries made with the rich and thick yak milk, you will get loads of options to try out yak milk products in different recipes. This milk is quite rich, thick and fatty with a very high nutritional value, which helps to keep the locals warm during the harsh winters. Try the yak cheese, called chhurpi and the gur-gur cha, which is a special Tibetan butter tea, consisting of green tea, yak butter and salt, churned together to make a thick concoction. This is frequently consumed by the locals throughout the day and is a customary drink offered to all the visitors. It takes a while to acquire a taste for this tea.

  • Breads

    Khambir is the traditional local bread best complimented with apple or apricot preserves, or smoked yak meat. It is a flat wheat flour bread, quite similar to the naan bread. Have this combination along with a cup of the butter tea, for a filling breakfast. The bakeries here, sell a lot of other kinds of breads, buns and pastries. Take your time in checking out all their displayed wares and indulge. The pizzas made with Yak cheese is a must try. You will never forget the taste. Paba is another kind of local bread worth trying.

  • Skyu

    This is another type of dumplings made from Tsampa, a nutritious powder, and wheat flour cooked with vegetables. The Ladakhis make use of a yellow chilly (thangyar) which is fried and coarsely powdered to increase the spiciness and flavour.

  • Chhang

    With the local staple diet being barley, the locals have also found a way to use this grain as a source of an alcoholic beverage. In the absence of any bars and pubs, Chhang is the local substitute for beer in these parts, which is locally brewed and distilled from barley. A sure shot way to keep one in warm happy spirits. But remember, to go easy and slow. Hangovers tend to be particularly tenacious if your are not used to the climate and altitude.

Seabuckthorn berry juice is hugely popular in these parts, which are usually accompanied with sweetmeats and candies.


Apart from these delicacies, you can try different vegetable and meat curries. The Ladakhi people use a lot of beans, carrots , potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots in their dishes (try the potato manchurian with a steaming cup of sorig tea). Mutton and chicken (sometimes yak meat, which tastes like beef) are the main types of meat consumed here. Ladakhi dishes are usually mildly flavoured and extremely nutritious. If you feel like experimenting more, ask the locals for some more suggestions.

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