The first question every travelers asked before visiting Ladakh is what food they will get there to eat, since all the travelers believe that there will be nothing more than Maggie or momo available to satisfy their hunger. Especially the vegetarians thinks that they will not get any options for food to survive there, but both the suspicions are not correct.
When I visited Ladakh I found that most of the restaurants serve vegetarian food and they do have various options available to choose from.
From Leh to Tso Morori you will get all types of option available to satisfy your taste. From Lasagnas to Daal Chawal,from burger to Dosa, From Salads to Thukpa everything is available in Leh.
But I prefer you eat Ladakhi Food since it’s always good to have a light and healthy diet when you are travelling, and Ladakhi cuisines are very light and yet healthy and delicious. Wo bolte haina Jaisa desh waisa besh, here it should be Jaisa desh, waisa khana.
I am going to mention few of the famous Ladakhi cuisines here so that when next time you are going to visit Ladakh or any other Tibetan restaurant, you will know which yummilicious food to order.
Thukpa is a very common dish in Ladakh. This is not only famous as a Tibetans food here but also you can get Thukpa in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. It’s a soup based dish with homemade noodles, very light in texture and good in taste.
The exception the Tibetans add in Thukpa is Yak meet, but it is also available without meat. If you are vegetarian you can always opt for a Veg Thukpa, which will be overloaded with vegetables like Bok choi, cabbage, tomato etc. All together a hot bowl of Thukpa can fulfil your heart and appetite at the same time.
Similar to Thukpa, again it’s a soup based dish with meat and vegetables but the only difference is you will not get it with noodles, in thenthuk small pieces of wheat flour dough will be added. The preparation of Thenthuk is almost same as Thukpa but Thenthuk has little more thick gravy with little more spices.
MokMok is the synonym of our favorite mouthwatering food momo. Whether filled with Veggies or meat this is always taste yummy. In Leh I saw most of the restaurants have hot Mokmok in their menu, and I couldn’t resist myself to try the same out.
Mokthuk is the soupy version of Mokmok. If you love momo and also loves soup then this is the perfect dish for you, light yet satisfying.
A traditional dish of Ladakh. A preparation of thumb sized wheat flour dough boiled in water served with meat or vegetables. This is not a soup based food. This will have a little gravy with mix of local spices.
Incredibly delicious Shabhaley or Shaphaley is a staple food of Ladakh. It’s generally a meat pie or bread stuffed with marinated meats, if you love non-veg you must give it try. It is one of my favorite Ladakhi dish.
Saptha is semi gravy preparation of meat and vegetable with little spice. It’s just like meat-n-gravy with a Tibetan twist.
Tingmo is soft white twisted round bread, made of flour, it can be enjoyed with any gravy like Saptha or skyu or can be eaten as it is.
Like Kashmiris, in Ladakh also butter tea is very popular. Tibetan Butter tea or Po cha– is salty tea made with Yuk butter milk and tea leafs. Unlike Kashmir butter tea the texture of the tea is very light. If you are travelling to Leh, I urge you to try this tea as you will not only taste an unexpected flavor but also it will keep you warm in cold weather. It is really helps you required fluid balance in your body at high altitude.
It doesn’t matter from which part of world you belong if you haven’t tried Tibetan cuisine, sorry you are missing out a lot.
Bottom line- If you are looking for traditional Ladakhi food go for home stays, a bit away from Leh town, there are many more waiting to hit your taste buds…….be a grand gastronome.