Sikkim cuisine is an eclectic mix of Nepalese, Tibetan and indigenous ingredients. The people of Sikkim rely heavily on maize as their main food.
Momos and thukpa are to Sikkim what idli and dosa are to Tamil Nadu. Despite the state’s rich culinary diversity, its two signature foods are usually the first that come to mind when discussing the state. As such, our goal here is to dispel some common myths. Sikkimese cuisine is known for its exquisite meat and various vegetable dishes, which take significant inspiration from Nepali and Tibetan flavors. So except momos, what other dishes can you find in the state?
Everything you want to know about this well-known Sikkim dish can be summed up in one description: Sha Phaley bread, loaded with minced meat and cabbage, formed into semi-circles and then fried. Grilled golden wontons are crispy on the outside with a tender, succulent interior. Many adjustments have been made to the original recipe to accommodate the different dietary needs of modern diners. Versions of the meal with cheddar cheese and tofu are among the most popular variations. Head to Gangtok’s Roll House to see the best example of this in the city.
Phagshapa is a pork-based rice dish often eaten in the warmer months. Sikkim cuisine has a reputation for being quite spicy, but this food, while still tasty, is milder than the norm. The pork is the main attraction, and it is simply prepared with a little oil, chili and radish. The natural fat of the pork is what gives this food its characteristic flavor.
Gundruk, with its roots in Nepal, is one of the most consumed dishes in Sikkim. Vegan and prepared with mustard greens, cabbage or radish, Gundruk is a meal that is a great addition to any vegetarian or vegan diet. In the countryside, only Gundruk made by locals can be trusted. Its high forage content helps keep the body’s metabolic rate stable. This Sikkim cuisine is traditionally cooked inside a clay pot, although various methods have been used in recent years. This is a meal that seems to have changed very little over the centuries.
Like other traditional Sikkim dishes, Sinki’s ingredients and preparation method have not changed much over time. It is prepared using radish taproots instead of rice, but is otherwise extremely similar to Gundruk. Radish roots are cut, placed in bamboo, and then shredded with straw. This bamboo is fermented for more than a month while covered with a mixture of mud and plants. Sinki, after a month of preparation, can be kept for a year and can be used in soups and stews. You can consume it as a pickle with your parathas or any other Indian food.
Sikkim cuisine is an eclectic mix of Nepalese, Tibetan and indigenous ingredients. The people of Sikkim rely heavily on maize as their main food. Sikkim cuisine is predominantly meat based, however it uses vegetables such as fermented vegetables which can be stored longer.