As a part of our Ethnic Food Tour series, in today’s episode, we bring you our food explorations from Dibrugarh, Assam. We have arrived at the Dhua Chang Dhaba and Stay at Lahoal, Dibrugarh to discover the simple culinary traditions of the Mishing tribe from Assam. They are reportedly the second largest tribal group in Assam who belong to the Indo Mongoloid group. The Mishings are mostly concentrated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries. They have a distinct socio-cultural system, tribal traditions, beliefs and customs. Their main livelihood source is agriculture and forest-based activities. So let’s discover more about their simple and wholesome culinary world. This delectable world is full of rustic flavours obtained from the natural surroundings.
Dhua Chang Dhaba and Stay is a quaint Indian dhaba where one can experience different facets of the Assamese culture which is the conglomeration of numerous ethnic communities. On reaching there we along with our host Monalee Hazarika, were welcomed by the sight of the Mishing Changhar or the typical Mishing houses sitting prettily in a lush green field. These unique stilt houses are built with bamboo and thatch. We were excited to learn about the socio-cultural background of the Mishing tribe from a native. Here we met the genial proprietor Paul Chetia, who led us into a cosy Changhar that housed a kitchen with an open fireplace. We were there to prepare some traditional Assamese or specifically Mishing dishes. For this, we were joined by Lenin Doley, who was there to cook all the delicacies for us. With great eagerness, he familiarised us with the Mishing food traditions that were quite similar to many other tribal cuisines from the state.
We first started with barbequing the pork. The marinated pork pieces pierced on the skewers were placed over the fireplace in such a way that they got cooked with the heat and smoke of the fire below. Next, he prepared some bamboo pork.
By the time the bamboo pork got ready, we sat down to try the stir-fried silkworms with the traditional rice beer of the Mishing community. It tasted like fried scrambled eggs. Made from fermented Bora Saul, the rice beer called Rohi was sharp, sweet and sour in taste. We also tried the Naga tenga, local sour fruit and the Til pitha or sesame rice cakes.
Next, we went on prepare two traditional Mishing dishes, boiled chicken with bamboo shoots and pork with mesaki tenga or mesaki leaves. Just like the previous dishes, these two ones too were prepared with no spices at all. Once everything was done we sat down to savour the delicious spread. The dishes were served with Tupula Bhat or a special kind of rice. The simple meal impressed us with its distinctly warm and gratifying flavours and textures. Check out the video to know more about the whole experience.
We are super grateful to our amazing hosts Monalee Hazarika, Paul Chetia and Lenin for their enthusiasm, support and cooperation. Thank you for taking us through this enriching journey.