Sikkimese are essentially rice-eaters. Alcoholic drinks are popular both amongst men and women. Beef eating is common amongst the Bhutias. It is not uncommon to see Marwari plainsmen gulping down Momos and Thukpa and Bhutias partaking to Indian dishes like Puris and Dosas – a true sign of national integration. A typical diet of a working Sikkimese consists of dal bhat (lentils and rice) with meat for breakfast; a light lunch of momos; and an early dinner consisting of noodles. Some of the local cuisines are:
Momo is a very popular Tibetan delicacy in Sikkim. It is prepared by stuffing minced meat, vegetables or cheese in flour dough and then moulding them in the form of dumplings. These are then steamed for about half an hour in a three tiered utensil that has bone or tomato soup in the lowest compartment. Steam from the boiling soup rises through the perforations in the containers above and cooks the dumplings. Momos are taken alongwith soup and home madechilly sauce. It is available in most of the local restaurants.
It is noodle soup with vegetables. Thukpa is readily available in most of the local restaurants.
Phagshapa is strips of pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chillies.
This Nepali cuisine is prepared by grinding a mixture of rice and water into a paste. The paste is then poured into hot oil and deep fried. It is normally eaten with potato curry. Normally not available in restaurants but is widely prepared during parties.
Niguru with Churpi
Niguru is a local fiddlehead fern and its tendrils when light fried with churpi (cheese) forms an irresistible dish. Normally not available in restaurants but is prepared as a household dish.
Gundruk are leaves of the mustard oil plant that have been allowed to decay for some days and then dried in the sun. These dried leaves are then cooked alongwith onions and tomatos and forms a tasty dish.
Chang is a local beer which is made by fermenting millet using yeast. It is sipped from a bamboo receptacle using a bamboo pipe. The receptacle which has millet in it is topped with warm water a couple of times until the millet loses its potency. Chang can sometimes be strong and very intoxicating indeed.
It is fermented soya beans. Quite popular in villages.