Cuisines and food habits of 7 Sisters of North-East

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Know the Food Habits of 7 Sisters of North-East

If you are a foodie and love to taste the local food of different places then do take a trip to the north eastern region of India that offers a gamut of cuisines with varied flavors. The north eastern states have a different and distinct food habit from rest of the Indian states. The staple food of the northeastern region is rice. The cuisines of north eastern regions are rarely known to other parts of India as they have a unique food habits and a very different way of preparing them.

Let’s have a look at what the people of North-Eastern India eat.

Nagaland Cuisines

Nagaland Pork DishNaga people are fond of non-veg food and include lots of meat and fish in their diet in these forms- smoked, dried or fermented. The Naga cuisines include a variety of pork preparations. The cooking process and variety differs from tribe to tribe in Nagaland. They use smoked, fermented or dried meat and fish to prepare dishes. The Naga cuisines include prawns, dried fish, colocasia leaves and ghost chilli along with meat cooked with appetizing ingredients.

A classic Naga meal comprises of rice, a meat item, a dish of boiled vegetable and chutney or Tathu. Nagas prefer boiled edible natural leaves. “Fermented bamboo shoot” dishes with fish and pork are popular among the Nagas. Axone which is prepared by using boiled or fermented soyabean, smoked or dried in sun along with smoked pork and beef.

The Nagas produce smoked meat by hanging for two weeks meat on the wall of their kitchen or above the fire. They make patties of Anishiis or fermented yam leaves and allow them to smoke over the fire or sun dried. Variety of chillies can be found in Nagaland and so the Nagas are fond of spicy food.

The most popular food items among different tribes of Nagas are Rice Beer, Akhuni, Naga’s Crab Cakes Recipe and Pumpkin Oambal Recipe

Meghalaya Cuisines

Meghalaya CuisineCuisines of Meghalaya are different from the other States of northeastern region of India. Rice is the staple food of this state served with spicy meat and fish recipes. They bring up pigs, goats, ducks, fowl and cows and enjoy their meat later. Jadoh, Tung-rymbai, Ki Kpu and pickled bamboo shoots are the popular dishes of Khasi and Jaintia tribes. The favorite foods among Garos are bamboo shoots and rice with kapa. Garos prefer wild animals. They eat a sticky rice preparation called minil, sakkin gata and steamed food like dumplings or momo. They also consume nakam or dried fish and gran or smoked meats. Being one of the states of northeast India, they also prepare fermented rice beer, which is a traditional drink. Rice beer is consumed during ceremonies, celebrations and religious rites.

Assamese Cuisines

Assamese CuisinesAssamese cuisines are cooked with the blended cooking form of the hills, which include fermentation and drying or preservation and the plains including fresh vegetables and fish from rivers and ponds served with rice. A variety of rice (joha, indica and japonica) is included in their diet, cooked (roasted, grounded, boiled or just soaked) and consumed in various ways. Using little amount of spices, cooking less over fire and adding strong flavors are the cooking habits of Assamese. Besides vegetables and fruits, fish, duck, squab and pork is mostly consumed by the Assamese. The popular item in Assam is Khar or Alkaline. The Assamese people love to consume Tengamach or sour fish with boiled rice.

Soaked rice or kumal saul with milk make a wonderful breakfast for the Assamese. Chira or rice flakes mixed with jiggery and yogurt is a traditional breakfast in Assam. Pithas or sweet meats are prepared during Bihu.

A traditional Assamese thali includes Kosu Xaak aru Madhuxuleng (a recipe of Colocasia with Polygonum microcephalum). The meal begins with khar and ends with a sour preparation known as tenga. In between the Assamese take a class of dishes. After the meal they offer Tamul or betel nut in raw form and paan (betel leaves) as a mouth freshener.

Pitikas are the side dishes of Assam made from roasted or steamed vegetables. Aloo pitika or mashed potato and Eri polu (the pupa of eri silkworm cooked with fermented bamboo shoot) is widely consumed.

Manipuri Cuisines

Manipuri cuisines are simple, relishing, organic and healthy. Manipuri recipes are prepared using chili pepper not garam masalas. They also avoid oil. The staple food of the state includes rice, fish and leafy vegetables. Manipuris add various herbs and roots to their recipe that makes the taste differ from other Indian cuisines.

When we talk about popular Manipuri cuisine Ngari (fish), Iromba, chamfoot and morok starts haunting our mind. A healthy Manipuri thali includes plain rice, Iromba, Hawai, Kanghou and chamfoot. Singju is popular among the Manipuris, which is a spicy salad prepared with veggies and sesame seeds. They conclude with desserts like Chahou kheer, madhur jaan, khamen ashinba athoomba, angouna and many more.

The Manipuris also enjoy a list of lip-smacking snacks named as Kelli channa, Alu Kangmet (a delicious Manipuri mashed potato) and others.

Some of the popular and simple Manipuri Cuisines/Dishes are:

Eromba, prepared with boiled or steamed vegetables with King chillies (Umorok), fermented fish (Ngari), smoked or roasted fish and mashed together.

Singju, a salad prepared with assorted vegetables mixed with fermented fish (Ngari).


The Tripuris are non-vegetarians. Their main courses are prepared using meat and vegetables. Mui Borok is the traditional food of Tripura. Tripuri cuisines are prepared using Berma (dried and fermented fish) a key ingredient. Bangui rice and fish stews, meat roasts, local herbs along with bamboo shoots and fermented fish are very popular. Chakhwi, Mwkhwi and Muitru are the major food items of Tripura. Muya Awandru (made of bamboo shoot, rice flour and Berma), The Kosoi Bwtwi (is prepared with Beans and Berma), Muya bai Wahan (preparation include jackfruit, bamboo shoots, papaya, and pork), a pork dish called Wahan and Mosdeng serma, which is a chutney (made of berma, tomato, red chilli and garlic are some of the common dishes of Tripura. The cultural diversity of the ‘Queen of Eastern hills’-Tripura is reflected through its food habits.

The rice beer prepared from fermented rice is a traditional Chuak, which is served during occasions and ceremonies. A local drink made from millet rice is called Apong.


Now it’s time to know about the cuisines of Mizoram (Mizo chawmeh). The cuisines of Mizoram are considered to be a mixture of Chinese and North Indian cuisines. The Mizo food varies from each tribal community. Mizo cuisines include lots of non veg recipes. The Mizo people add meat even in veg preparations. The Mizoram food is prepared using less oil or without oil. The food is similar to that of other states of North East. Their meal includes fish dish and the popular fish dishes are Misa mach poora, Grilled shrimps.

A traditional Mizo meal includes a soup called Samtawk Bai (soup), smoked pork known as Vawksa, Hmarcha Rawt or Chilli chutney and a Chhum or Salad. Like other northeastern states, the Mizos also prepare Koat pitha. The Mizo people have steamed bread with jiggery or Mizo gur during tea time. This special bread is called Chhangban leh Kurtai which is made of rice flour and is covered with leaf before steaming.

The Mizo people also love bamboo shoots and add them for preparing duck meat. A special rice with is chicken is prepared and is called Arsa Buhchiar. Also traditional rice called sawchiar is made with either chicken or pork in Mizoram.

They prepare a popular drink with rice called “ZU”. Other popular drinks include Lunrusca Grape wine and also black tea.

After a meal the Mizo people prefers to have fruits, lumps of jaggery and black tea than sweet.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh has more than twenty tribes with different food preferences. Alike other northeastern state, rice is the staple food of Arunachal Pradesh is rice. The people here also prefer fish, meat and leaf vegetables. Different kinds of rice are prepared. Lettuce boiled with ginger, coriander and green chillies is consumed widely by the people of Arunachal Pradesh. Boiled rice cakes enfolded in leaves makes a popular snack. A noodle soup called Thukpa is a favorite of Monpa tribe of this region. The natives of Arunachal eat fish, eggs, chicken, beef, pork and mutton preparations. Momos are also consumed in large quantity.

Rice beer made by fermenting rice called Apong and a refreshing drink made of millet is very popular in Arunachal Pradesh.

This is how the north eastern food differs from the rest of the county! Plan a trip with Indian tour operator to experience the unique flavors of food of northeastern region in India and Take an Insight of North India Tour.


A self-described travel enthusiast...


  1. Sony Marak

    January 2, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    This is just great! I knew a few of them already, but this is the encyclopedia of NE dishes.

  2. Dil

    June 22, 2020 at 9:49 am

    All the cuisines looks great and delicious

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