This special video marks the beginning of our food explorations across the North-Eastern states of India, the region that is pleasantly rich and diverse in topography, demography and culture.
Our North Eastern food trail began from Meghalaya’s capital Shillong, whose breathtaking natural beauty has catapulted it into a popular tourist destination for all the nature-loving travellers. Due to the picturesque beauty and pleasant climate, this city was once referred to as the Scotland of the East.
In this culinary expedition of ours, we have until now covered a minuscule of the pristine expanse but we soon intend to discover more.
Shillong is a place that is mostly inhabited by the Khasi tribe, hence the local food scene here is primarily dominated by the Khasi delicacies. So join us on this exciting food tour across Shillong. In this venture, we were joined by two zealous food explorers Lynty and Sayan.
The episode covers the brief street food trail in the Police bazaar and also the traditional Khasi meal at Linty’s place. Our journey began with a lovely drive from Guwahati to Shillong.
On reaching Shillong we directly went to join our hosts Lynty and Sayan who were waiting for us at Police Bazaar. It is a prominent shopping, hangout and food hub in the capital city. The place was crowded yet very lively. We straightaway walked up to the food area lined up with numerous stalls selling local and popular street food fares.
Here Lynti introduced us to the most ubiquitous Khasi delicacy called the Jado. Few minutes into the walk and we realised how much did the locals love the dish. It is basically rice cooked with meat and a few other ingredients. Unlike the usual case here they had cooked the rice separately without meat and while serving it they topped it with a chicken or pork curry. It was simple yet super delicious.
Next, we tried some freshly barbecued chicken which is another local favourite. The neatly defined flavours of pure succulent meat made it an irresistible snack. Further, while ambling down the lanes of the marketplace, we stopped by a pakoda seller to try some hot pakodas. This gentleman from Bihar has been selling these humble fritters for the past 40 plus years. They were quite toothsome.
After that brief street food trail that was interspersed with crazy downpours, we reached Lynti’s house to savour some traditional Khasi dishes for dinner. We were welcomed by her warm and genial family. This was followed by an enlightening conversation about the culture and way of life.
As the clock announced dinnertime, we couldn’t contain our excitement to try the meal. The spread included Jastem, Shriew, Doh sniang Trykhong, Dohneiiong, Tungtap, tamarind pickle etc. No wonder the meal cooked with so much affection and care was scrumptious. We particularly loved the Doh sniang trykhong which was a simple dish made with smoked pork and pumpkin. The best part was of the delicacies were the clean flavours of the major components i.e. the meat or vegetables.
Post-meal it was time to have Kwai. Kwai refers to areca nuts. The tradition of eating areca nuts with or without betel leaves is an integral part of the Khasi tradition. So in Shillong, you will find every other person chewing kwai. People offer it as a mark of friendship, hospitality and honour so refusing the kwai is considered to be an ill etiquette.
Soon it was time to convey our gratitude and bid goodbye to our generous hosts for the yummy food, warm hospitality and useful insights. With the beginning done right, we were hopeful for the thrilling journey ahead.