Darjeeling Cuisine

The people of Darjeeling consume a diverse variety of foods. Each ethnic group has its own distinct traditional food. A popular food in Darjeeling is the momo, a steamed dumpling containing chicken, mutton, pork, beef or vegetables cooked in a doughy wrapping served with a watery vegetable soup and spicy tomato sauce/chutney. Indigenous fermented food products such as gundruk (fermented and dried leafy vegetable), kinema (fermented soyabean), and sinki (fermented and dried raddish) are consumed by the people. Wai-Wai is a favorite packaged snack of Darjeeling hills comprising noodles that are eaten either dry or with soup. Hard chhurpi, a type of hard cheese made from cow or yak’s milk, is another popular mini-snack that is both nutritious and masticatory. Soft chhurpi, a traditional soft cheese, is consumed along with green vegetables as savoury dishes, used as filling for momos, ground with tomatoes and chillies for chutney or made into a refreshing soup. A type of noodle called thukpa, served with soup and vegetables/meat, is extremely popular in and around the hills of Darjeeling. There are a number of restaurants offering a variety of traditional Indian, Continental and Indian Chinese cuisine to cater to tourists. Tea is the most popular beverage, procured from the famed Darjeeling tea gardens, as well as coffee. Chhang or jaar is a local alcoholic beverage made from fermented millet, maize or rice.