When embarking on a Leh Ladakh tour, many people wonder about the sort of food they will enjoy during their travels. The food served in this region is unlike anything that you will find in the western cultures of Australia, the United States and Europe. Whilst you can certainly find more mainstream foods, there are seven local dishes that we do recommend you try.
This is the local brew of Ladakh and is made in a cylindrical pot by fermenting miller with yeast. Warm water is added on top, at least a couple of times, until the miller loses a little of its strength. The resulting liquid is a delicious tea that the locals drink.
This dish is comprised of dough (made with white flour and water) that has been stuffed with minced vegetables, meat or cheese to create dumplings. They are steamed or deep-fried and served hot with either soup or chili sauce. If you cannot find it on the menu, keep in mind that the local name for this dish is kothey.
This is the local bread of the region and comes in a pan shape. The crust is thick and brown in colour. It is made with whole wheat, which actually makes it quite filling. This dish is usually served at breakfast with a butter tea (normal tea with added butter and salt).
These are both highly nutritious and are staple foods for the people of Ladakh. Paba is made using peas and wheat. The dough is prepared with roasted flours of wheat, barley, buckwheat, peas and black beans. It is actually quite similar to bread and often accompanies Zathuk and Tangtur (or buttermilk with wild vegetables).
This is a traditional dish that should be enjoyed on any Leh Ladakh tour and is actually a daily meal for many of the locals. It is prepared by kneading wheat flour dough and creating small pieces (about the size of your thumb). These pieces are cooked in water and are sometimes supplemented with vegetables and meat.
This dish is a common noodle soup that is prepared with wheat flour dough, mixed vegetables and pieces of either yak meat or mutton. The noodles are mixed with big, uneven pieces of the dough. It is usually served for lunch or dinner as it is very filling.
This dish actually originated in the eastern parts of Tibet, but has slowly grown in popularity through parts of India (including Ladakh). It is a noodle soup that is prepared by mixing noodles with chicken or vegetables. You may also come across other varieties.
During your Leh Ladakh tour, you will notice that a handful of foods appear regularly in the local cuisine. Vegetables – such as pumpkin, potatoes, beans and beetroot – will often be cooked in ways you aren’t used to. You will also find that chicken and mutton are the most popular types of meat available. No matter the duration of your tour, we hope that you enjoy at least one traditional dish.