Food & Cuisine in Darjeeling
Darjeeling offers plenty of food options for hungry travellers. Even if you aren't one of those people with a gargantuan appetite, the sight of so much natural beauty does tend to have a strangely appetizing effect! Thankfully, Darjeeling restaurants can be found in every street corner and you'll find yourself spoilt for choice.
The food of Darjeeling is a delightful blend of Tibetan, Nepali and Bengali cuisine. Darjeeling also offers quite a number of multi-cuisine restaurants.
After you've spent hours touring or shopping in Darjeeling, check out our Darjeeling Restaurant Guide below to find the best places for eating out in Darjeeling We also have general information for finding out about the local food found throughout India.
Food & Cuisine in Darjeeling
What to Eat in Darjeeling
Darjeeling's local fare is not just delicious but different from the rest of India, thanks to its Tibetan and Nepalese influence. Head down the Gandhi Road or Chowrasta to sample the local fare. Some of the most popular local foods include:
Tibetan momos or dumplings are extremely popular in Darjeeling and you'll find them at every street corner. They consist of an outer covering of dough; the stuffing is usually chicken, mutton, pork, cabbage or cheese.
The dumplings are steamed in a three-tiered vessel with bone or tomato in the lowest compartment. It is served alongside an achar (local red chilly sauce) or a hot watery soup.
Thupka is a type of Tibetan noodle that is served with vegetables in a soup form. It is easily available at the local restaurants in Darjeeling.
This is also a hot noodle-based dish that is served dry or with soup. It is readily found in packaged form.
Churpees are cheese made from cow or yak's milk. A nutritious and highly popular mini-snack, they are either hard or of a delectable chewing-gum like consistency.
Originating in Nepal, sael roti is a rice preparation that is served at parties. Rice and water are ground into a paste, which is then deep-fried before being served with potato curry.
Other foods that are not widely available but nevertheless popular are the phagshapa (strips of pork fat which is stewed with dried chillies and radishes), niguru (local fern served with cheese), gundruk (dried leaves of the mustard oil plant, served with tomatoes and onions), tsampa (roasted barley) served with cheese, butter and milk, and shabalay.
Darjeeling is famous for its tea. An afternoon tea with ‘tiffin' (usually a variety of cakes) proves to be an enjoyable affair.
Compared to the strongly flavoured tea in the rest of India, Darjeeling tea is a mild brew. In recent years, Darjeeling's organic teas have found acceptance worldwide.
This is a local beer that is supposedly 100% alcohol free. It is a very popular drink among tourists.
Chhaang is served in a bamboo receptacle and is drunk with a bamboo pipe. It is made by fermenting millet with yeast. It is sometimes very strong and can be intoxicating.