North East India is one of the most stunning regions of India. And planning a trip there can leave you with many confusions- not just in terms of where all you can visit in order to enjoy the maximum beauty, but also when deciding what all to relish. The cuisine of north east is equally diverse and vibrant as their culture. It has an extensive use of tantalising spices, local herbs, tossed in together with unique cooking techniques. The people of north east India depend largely on cultivation, with rice being quite a staple across delicacies. No wonder that the inhabitants love to indulge in rice-based heritage brews as well. Yes, beverages too are a huge part of north eastern cuisine, and while you can always enjoy a bowl of Laksa, Thukpa or a bite of Shapale, do not miss out on some of the local beverages that the region offers. I mean, wouldn’t you like to sample a variety of rice beer which each state brews differently?

Here we have 5 traditional drinks from the north east that you must try on your next visit.


1. Sekhmai Yu

An indigenous rice beer from Manipur, Sekhmai is a specialty of the Meiti community of the state. It is named after a local Manipuri village ‘Sekmai’ in Imphal. The drink has two major ingredients- flattened, dry disks called hamei, which are made up of a chopped and powdered wild creeper known as yangli and rice.


2. Apong

Another rice beer traditionally made by the Mising community in Assam and the Adi people from Arunachal Pradesh. Typically, there are two kinds of Apong – Poro Apong and Nogin Apong. While the former is prepared with fermented rice and rice straw which lends a dark brown colour to the drink, Nogin Apong is white in colour and subtle in taste. Poro Apong is also used for medicinal purposes due to its high mineral content too.

 


3. Chhaang

The Chhaang or Tongba, is a traditional drink in Sikkim wherein the Lepcha community offers the drink in many religious ceremonies and is prepared from either barley, rice or millet. To prepare this, the whole grain millet is cooked and then fermented and is left to dry for a long time before serving. This drink is stored in bamboo tumbler, in which boiled water is added later.  What makes this drink unique is the fact that it is stored in a bamboo tumbler and at a later stage, boiled water is added to it when serving.

4. Zutho

A drink of the Angami Nagas from Nagaland, Zutho is commonly consumed by all Naga tribes in the rural regions of the state. It is basically a fermented drink obtained from rice and contains around 5% ethanol. With a distinct sour flavour, Zutho has a fruity aroma and the overall flavour depends on the depth of the fermentation process. Sprouted rice grain by the Nagami and Mao tribe of Nagaland is primarily used to make this white-coloured drink brewed in the city of Kohima.

  


5. Kiad

This rice beer from Meghalaya is just the perfect drink to relish with the picturesque view of the hills of Meghalaya. Also known as Chu, Kiad is Meghalaya’s version of rice beer served in bamboo tumbler. What makes it unique is the use of charcoal piece by the locals, in order to balance the desired flavour of alcohol with the tarty and sweetness of the drink. The drink holds quite a cultural significance in the region as no celebration or festivity is complete without it.