8 Traditional Dishes From Nagaland To Try On Your Next Visit
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Most of us only talk about the scenic beauty of the Northeast Indian region and always miss out on the indigenous delicacies. Northeast India is a region where many states, many cultures and many cuisines have developed over centuries, and immersing yourself in these is a must.And when it comes to the Northeast, missing out on the state of Nagaland and the delicacies it has to offer would be a great pity indeed.

An amalgamation of many indigenous tribes and their centuries old cuisines, Nagaland has a vibrant and rich food culture. Though the terrain here is mostly hilly and the availability of spices that are accessible in the rest of India negligible, there are plenty of indigenous plants, spices and produce that are used in the food here. From fermented foods and drinks to pungent ingredients and meat, Naga cuisine has a lot to offer and not a bit should be missed.

From Akibeye to Fish in bamboo, here are some of the eight popular Naga dishes that you ought to try out on your next visit to the Northeast or Nagaland specifically. 

1. Aikibeye

Aiki is a simple dish hailing from the hills of Nagaland. We can understand the importance and soothing effect of simplicity once we try a simple yet soul filling dish like Aikibeye. This dish has primarily three ingredients and these ingredients are used in everyday cooking by the locals.  The ingredients are mustard leaves, colocasia roots and water for the stew and other common spices. Aikibeye is so light on the stomach that it is chose by most of the travellers as a meal.

Video Credit: Youtube/ SCERT Nagaland Heritage Films

2. Samathu

Nagaland without smoked pork seems incomplete. There are various versions of it that are prepared in different tribes of the region. This dish is mainly for the winter season as in the northeast the temperature drops abruptly during the winters, making it difficult to grow any vegetables of crop. Samathu is a spicy curry which is made by using smoked the pork, fermented soybean, bamboo shoot flavoured vinegar, pepper, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger and other aromatic ingredients for flavouring. This dish is native to the Sema family tribe, where this dish is extremely prevalent. 

3. Zutho

Zutho is not a dish but an alcoholic drink that they drink along with their meals. It is a rice beer that they make from fermented rice and has a fruity taste to it. Despite being an alcoholic beverage, it is served to both young and adults. This drink is prepared by the women of the  Angami tribe and it is mostly enjoyed during Naga festivals. Just like Feni from Goa, Zutho from Nagaland is a must-have for those with an interest in spirits.

4. Hinkejvu

Most of us think there isn’t much variety of vegetarian dishes in the northeast. But to our shock, there are some of the delicious veg dishes that won’t disappoint. For example, one of them is Hinkejvu, it is a stew that is prepared by using colocasia roots, cabbage leaves, mustard leaves and beans. Even if you are vegan you can enjoy this dish without any hesitation.

5. Fish in Bamboo

As we have already talked before, the Northeast has a different kind of intertwined relationship with bamboo in their cuisine. In this dish, the people cooked the fish in the bamboo hollows to infuse the light flavours of bamboo into the fish while it was roasted in the fire. The same way the bamboo chicken is prepared too. In such kinds of dishes, marination plays an important role.

6. Rosep Aon

Image: Shuttestock

Rosep Aon is again one of the simple yet wholesome foods of the Naga Plater. This dish is prepared by making a curry of boiled vegetables and dry fish. People accompany this with Naga rice, spicy chutneys and salad. The ingredients that go in his dish are very local and seasonal like eggplants, mustard leaves, beans etc.

7. Galho

This is one of the famous and widely eaten naga dishes in the northeast. The ingredients of this are very simple, its just meat, rice and green. It's basically a whole meal with carbs, proteins and nutrients with fibre. The other name of Galho is Zawo and has a similar side profile to that of a good ol’ khichdi.

8. Akini Chokibo

Akini Cokibo is an exotic naga food  that is prepared with perilla seeds and snails. Yes, the idea of snails might freak you out but it is a delicious dish that melts in your mouth, with no bad feeling. Pork lard is also added to this this to make it more tasty. If you are open to being an adventurous foodie then this is a must try.