Top 20 Special Food of Darjeeling

Special Food of Darjeeling

Whenever we plan a trip to a place, one major thing that enters our mind is what might be special about the food/drinks of that place. Darjeeling in itself is one of its kind. From enthralling scenic beauty to mouth savoring food, you name it, and these beautiful hills have it all. When you plan to visit the beautiful city situated amidst the Tiger hills, these following foods/drinks are a must try. Without them, your stay in Darjeeling can never be complete

1. Momos

One of the most popular wholesome foods found in the local areas of Darjeeling is Momo. Served with a hot soup on the side, momos are undoubtedly one of the best snack foods. Generally, 6 to 7 pieces of momos and a bowl of soup are served on one plate. Momos are one of the classic foods of Tibetan cuisine. The Momo dumplings are made of flour dough which is stuffed with vegetables in case of vegetarian ones and pork or chicken in case of non-vegetarian ones.

The best places in Darjeeling to have Momos – there is an ample number of shacks and local shops in Darjeeling that serve momos. However, a good place to have momos in Darjeeling is the Kunga restaurant situated centrally on Gandhi road. It is a run by a Tibetan family, and that says something. They serve 7 to 8 pieces of Momo dumplings which comes in both veg as well as non-veg along with a bowl of noodle soup, and the non-vegetarian dish is popularly known as chicken wanton soup. Another place to have some delicious mouthwatering non-veg momos is Devekas which is located just adjacent to the Kunga restaurant. It is also a pocket-friendly Tibetan restaurant. However, the best place to have veg momos in Darjeeling is Hot Stimulating Café which is a small roadside shack run by a localite named Lily.


2. Thukpa

Thukpa is also a talked about dish of the Tibetan cuisine widely available in many restaurants and roadside shacks of Darjeeling. This is actually a kind of starter, but for an average eater, it is no less than a wholesome meal. It is hot noodle soup with vegetables, light spices, meat and Hakka noodles.

The best places in Darjeeling to have Thukpa- the restaurants or shacks that top the list of serving the best Thukpa in this hilly town are Devekas and Kunga located on Gandhi Road.


3. Aloo Dum

This street food found in Darjeeling can definitely bring a smile on the face of a foodie. This is a typical dish of the Nepali as well as the Bengali cuisine which has now become a popular snack of the localites and is now closely associated with Darjeeling’s specialties. It is prepared by boiling pieces of potatoes in thick gravy which is prepared using some spices, onion slices, garlic, ginger cloves and red chili powder which is a must in this dish. It is garnished and served with coriander leaves and potato wafers popularly known as ‘bhujia’.

The best places in Darjeeling to have Aloo Dum- while there are local food vendors selling aloo dum in and around Mall Road, the best place to have aloo dum is Hasty Tasty on Nehru Road.


4. Traditional Nepali Thali

Traditionally a plate or a platter means thali. The traditional Nepali Thali is probably one of the most staple food combinations for the local people. The thali consists of ‘daal’ (cooked lentils), ‘bhaat’ (boiled rice), ‘tarkari’ (assorted vegetables cooked with spices), ‘achaar’ or ‘chutney’ (pickles) and a sweet dish. Although Nepali thali, is quite similar to the Bengali thali the herbs and spices used in Nepali cuisine are different.

The best places in Darjeeling to have Nepali thali- Revolver restaurant on Gandhi road is undoubtedly the best.


5. Dalle (The Darjeeling Hills Pickles)

If you are fond of the taste and flavor of red hot chili, then this pickle is something you will want to savor. Made with red chili, mustard oil spices, and salt, Dalle is a very spicy pickle and is eaten with meals. It is stored and sold in small glass bottles.

Places in Darjeeling where you can get Dalle- you can get Dalle in Keventer’s which is a shop located on Nehru road. You can also get Dalle in various shops in Chowk Bazaar.


6. Kakra Ko Achaar And Kinema

These are essentially pickles of the Nepali cuisine. ‘Kakra ko Achaar’ is made out of julienne cucumbers with salt, spices and mustard oil. It is eaten along with meals on a daily basis as a part of the staple diet. ‘kinema’ is also a kind of pickle made with fermented soybeans.

Places in Darjeeling where you can get them- there are ample shops on Mall road where you can get these pickles.


7. Naga Cuisine

Another unique variety in food that Darjeeling has is the Naga cuisine which is available in few restaurants here. There is a small population of the Nagas living in Darjeeling, so Naga cuisine has gradually become popular here. The grand thali contains various delicacies such as rice, fermented or dried bamboo shoots served with chicken, fish or pork, some pickles, ghee and a sweet dish.

Places where you can get Naga cuisine in Darjeeling- Revolver restaurant serves the best Naga platter in Darjeeling


8. Churpee

Churpee is a milk-based item which is served with ‘niguru’ (tendrils or soft stems of a fern). Churpee is quite similar to cheese. It is prepared from cow’s or yak’s milk and comes in both soft as well as hard forms.

Places in Darjeeling where you can get churpee- you can get churpee in Keventer’s located on Nehru Road.


9. Shaphalay

Shaphalay is a Tibetan bread stuffed with meat, pork or chicken. Usually served with chutney, assorted vegetables or curry but the best thing to serve this with is ‘tsampa’ (roasted barley) and cheese or butter.

Places where you can get Shaphalay- it is available in almost all the Tibetan restaurants of Darjeeling.


10. Sael Roti

Sael Roti is an item of the Nepali cuisine which is not usually available in any restaurant. If you happen to make an acquaintance or get friendly with any local, then you might get a fair chance of being invited to their house for having this food item. They are prepared in the Nepali homes during special occasions and taste delicious. They are made of rice paste and then deep fried. It is served with chutneys or pickles and sometimes cheese or butter.


11. Gundruk

Gundruk again is not available commercially. If you happen to be friends with a localite, then you can get the opportunity to enjoy this ancient Nepali dish. It isn’t typically a dish. Leaves of cauliflower and radish are left to ferment naturally and then again dried under the sun till it becomes Gundruk (dried leaves with strong acidic smell). These leaves are tossed and assorted with onions and other vegetables to prepare a dish. It has typical strong flavors and smell.


12. Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea is known as ‘the master of teas.’ If you want to actually savor the taste or delicacy of original tea, then trying the authentic Darjeeling tea is a must. More than its taste, the aroma will attract you. Genuine tea lovers will fall in love with Darjeeling tea in the first sip. Now, this is something you definitely would not think of missing.

Best places in Darjeeling to get Darjeeling tea- there is a shop named ‘house of tea’ on Nehru Road which an exclusive outlet of ‘Goodricke tea.’ Nathmull’s tea and sunset lounge on Mall road is a good place too.


13. Tibetian Tea

Tibetan tea is salted prepared using tea bags by adding butter to enhance and stir your taste buds. Another type of a Tibetan tea is prepared by adding lemons and honey and without adding any milk.

The best places to drink Tibetan tea- it is available in all the Tibetan restaurants. However, the best place is Kunga restaurant on Gandhi road and Sonam’s kitchen on Zakir Hussain Road.


14. Tongba

It is a local brew quite similar to the beer which is made by fermenting millets. It is served in a bamboo made up of glass with a bamboo pipe. The drink is topped with warm water and is refilled till the millet loses its potency.

The best place in Darjeeling to have Tongba- while there are some places serving tongba, the best place is a small tin shack named Hot Stimulating Café which is run by an elderly lady named Lily. Tourists and travelers on their way to sightseeing or on their way back to the town often stop here to have veg momos and tongba.


15. Darjeeling Oranges

Darjeeling oranges are a treat for fruit lovers. They are so pulpy and juicy that you would want to have and relish more and more. There are orange orchards in Darjeeling which are two centuries old, and they are unique when it comes to its variety. Darjeeling oranges have a thick skin and are pale in colour, but no other variety of orange can beat its taste.


16. Chaang

It is a local beverage made from fermenting millets. Compared to Tongba, this is quite strong. It is advisable not to have this in large quantities. Places to have Chaang in Darjeeling- one of the best places is the small shack named Hasty Tasty on Nehru road.


17. Jnaard

Quite similar to Chaang and Tongba, this is a typical local beverage made from fermenting finger millets and yeast. Places to have Jnaard in Darjeeling- one of the best places is the small shack named Hasty Tasty on Nehru road.


18. Traditional Bengali Thali

Being a part of the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling has adapted traditional Bengali thali as a part of its food specialty. Traditional Bengali platter will include a Daal, aloo bhaja, fish or prawn curry, assorted vegetables and a sweet dish (mainly ‘rosogolla’ or ‘mishti doi’) or sometimes the platter might include the famous ‘khichuri’ and ‘ilish maach bhaja’

Places where you can get Bengali food in Darjeeling- some of the best places in Darjeeling to have Bengali food are Mahakal restaurant which is a minute from the Gandhi road traffic point and Broadway hotel which is located near to the BSNL office building, off Gandhi road


19. Cakes From Glenary’s Café

You might be thinking that cakes are available all over India, so what is so special about the cakes in Darjeeling! Well, the cakes in Glenary’s Café are one of its kind and one of the best. It is run by the Edwards family and is there since the British colonial days. Located on Nehru road, Glenary provides the best cakes and pastries to its guests. It would be once in a lifetime experience for the tourists to taste the confectionaries of British times. They are worth the price and you will relish it.


20. Hot Chocolate At Glenary’s Café

Another speciality of Glenary’s is its hot chocolate which everyone must try, especially the chocolate lovers. The hot melting chocolate syrup over the cup of steaming hol chocolate milk is worth a try in the chilling winters of Darjeeling.