In the final episode of the ongoing Sikkim Food Series, we are at a place called Martam in Hee Bermiok which is situated in the western part of the state, to get a fair idea of the food scenario prevalent in this region. It is a small and beautiful village that is surrounded by a lush green carpet of cardamom plants and other vegetation.
Martam is popular for adventure-based activities like mountain biking, nature walks, hiking, excursions but we were here for a day to discover its food and the cultural scenes.
The winding and mostly rugged road leading to Martam was a dreamy landscape interspersed with small waterfalls and lush green mountain slopes and such other surprises. Since this village and its surroundings have such huge opportunities for nature-based activities quite a few homestays have emerged to cater to the influx of visitors. Our destination in this part of the state was one such beautiful homestay by the name Dhungay Homestay (http://www.dhungayhomestay.com).
Here we met our host Mr. Ganesh Chettri and his family who were so warm and genial. As we were starving after the long commute, without much delay we went straight into the kitchen to see the lunch that was underway. In no time Ganesh and his associate whipped up a humble, wholesome, and surprisingly delicious meal of Gorkha potato rice, Churpi and Mula ko achar, Gundruk ko jhol, and Dhulo Achar. The spread was a slice of Nepali cuisine as the place comprises a substantial Nepali population. The food was served in traditional bell metal utensils.
After the meal, Ganesh took us to a local bar cum eatery to make us try some homemade traditional rice or a millet-based alcoholic drink called Rakshi. The lady who runs the place served us some of this liquor along with fried eggs and Dalle chutney. It was a popular stopover for food and drink in the village mostly for the residents returning from the marketplace. It was quite strong but the eggs complemented the sour taste very well.
After a brief stroll in the neighbourhood we returned to the kitchen to check out the dinner preparation. The menu comprised of stir fried bee, Iskush ko munta, Gorkhe fried chicken and roti. Watching it being prepared with such effortless ease was hugely fascinating. The dishes prepared with less amount of oil and spices were very impressive. The dinner session was also full of anecdotes and insights about the Nepalese culture and cuisine.
The next morning before our departure we relished this traditional breakfast of beaten rice, curd, bananas, and sugar. This is the usual thing that the Nepali community over here partake in almost daily. Soon it was time to bid them goodbye. We proffer our heartfelt thanks to Ganesh and his family for such warm hospitality.