Take A Look At The Best Food In Gangtok
Image Credit: Dum Aloo and Puri

Gangtok, the charming capital of Sikkim, nestled in the Himalayas, is a must-visit for all Indians. The friendly, gentle people, the beautiful weather, and the lovely food make for a great vacation. Add the stunning natural beauty that abounds in Sikkim, and you have the perfect holiday destination. Sikkim is a crossroads of sorts, in terms of culture and food. It sits at a junction of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese spheres of influence, and the cuisine reflects that.  

MG Marg in Gangtok is the place to check out the best street food the city has to offer. This is, easily, one of the prettiest streets in the country. Clean, welcoming, and colorful, MG Marg is the heart of this city, the place Gangtok’s youngsters throng when they want to grab some great food with friends. While the vibe is casual, you’ll want to be dressed in something snazzier than trackpants when visiting MG Marg. Vehicles are not allowed in this street, making it, for all purposes, a paved walkway with stores, cafes, and restaurants on either side. The shops are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and you’ll find more than one cozy corner where you can sit back with your favorite book and watch the world go by. Make sure you take the Gangtok Ropeway to get a fabulous view of the city and the valley. That’s Gangtok for you—laid back but never low energy.  

1)    Dum aloo, Puri & Sel roti 

Agarwal’s is one of the popular eating joints on MG Marg. They have a large menu (and no seating), but you can start the day off with one of their most popular combinations: dum aloo with puri. Yes, it’s not "Sikkimese" food per se, but it’s one the people here like, so you’ll be having a popular breakfast. Also, they open earlier than most other places on MG Marg. Back the dum aloo and puri up with Sel roti, a sweet-tasting, fried Nepali roti that looks like a jalebi but is a form of bread made from rice. It goes particularly well with the dum aloo, so give this a go before heading out on your day in Gangtok. This breakfast (dum aloo, puri, and sel roti) will cost you around Rs 250.  

2)    Momos 

Can’t go to Gangtok and not have momos. Can’t do momos in Gangtok without checking out Shuffle Momos on MG Marg. This place is famous for its momos, and the reviews online are testament to its growing legend. The restaurant opens at 11:30 am, so you’re better off visiting for lunch. You can just order your favorite vegetarian or non-vegetarian style momos, and you won’t be disappointed. But if you're feeling adventurous, try the 12-piece vegetarian or non-vegetarian momo platter. The veg platter (Rs 199) has aloo cheese, spicy beans, mushrooms, aloo butter, and other flavors. The non-vegetarian platter (Rs 249) has chicken, mutton, beef, pork, and buff momos. Talk about a filling native lunch with modern flavors. You’ll be back at Shuffle once more for the momos before you leave town. For a variation, you can also try the ting momo in any of the smaller eateries nearby.


3)    Rolls 

‘Roll House’ on MG Marg is a great place for, well, rolls. Serving vegetarian rolls for over 20 years in Gangtok, Roll House is a regular haunt for the locals, who love the rolls and momos made here, especially the cooked cheese rolls and cabbage rolls. The paneer cheese roll and the corn-cheese pan-fried momos are quite a hit as well. The food is a blend of North Indian preparations and Chinese-style sauces. The majority of the food here costs between Rs 90 and Rs 120. If you’re vegetarian, this place is a must-visit when you’re in Gangtok.  

4)    Thukpa 

Thukpa is a noodle soup common to Tibetan and Nepali cuisines. The name "thukpa" comes from the Nepali language, but the dish is believed to have come from eastern Tibet. Amdo Thukpa is a style of thukpa more popular in Sikkim, as well as Ladakh, Nepal, and Tibet. Several places on MG Marg, or elsewhere in Gangtok, serve great thukpa. For just around Rs 100, you get a large bowl filled with chicken/veg broth with noodles and vegetables. The thukpa in Sikkim tends to have stronger flavors (especially ginger and garlic) than, say, the thukpa you get in Dharamshala. The thukpa is definitely flavorful but never spicy, so try not to get addicted.  

5)    Chicken Sadeko 

Sadeko is a type of dish in Nepali cuisine where the chicken (or other meat) is marinated. The restaurants on MG Marg serve a chicken sadeko that’s essentially a salad. The ingredients—shredded chicken, onions, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, and chilies—are marinated, so the salad is rich in flavor, perhaps even spicy. This salad costs between Rs 250 and Rs 300.

6)    Bread Omelet + Maggi 

Once you're out of the city and traveling around Sikkim, you'll come across street vendors selling fresh omelets with bread, momos, chow mein for breakfast, dal-rice for lunch, and so on. There’s something to be said for having piping-hot omelets in the cool mornings of Sikkim. It’s the quintessential road trip experience, and if you have the stomach for it, you won’t regret this choice. Round off your breakfast with a hot bowl of Maggi noodles, steaming in your face and pushing the cold away from your cool skin. This simplest of street food combinations will cost you as little as Rs 150.  

7)    Shapaley 

This is the Sikkimese version of the Shabaklab found in Dharamshala. A fried pie with rich stuffing inside (minced chicken or any other minced meat, onions, cabbage) that is had with chili sauce. The garlic flavor in Shapaley stands out. This is a great evening snack that’s filling enough to last you all the way to dinner without being too heavy. This dish costs around Rs 250 in Gangtok.  

8)    Chili Mushroom (or any Chinese starter dish/appetizer) 

Sikkim is one of the better places in India to have Chinese food. The taste feels more authentic, the flavors from the sauces seem more natural, and the stir-fried vegetables are done just right—not too crisp, not too soggy. Most such dishes cost around Rs 250 in any of the restaurants on MG Marg. 

9)    Aloo Chura 

Chacha ko Aloo Chura is a nondescript shack on Tibet Road in Gangtok that’s popular with the locals. As an outsider, you’ll struggle to find it—it has no board or even a name on the wall or door. (Even the address just reads 8JH7+C6X, Tibet Rd, Gangtok.) Ask your local friend to take you to Chacha ko Aloo Chura for the famous spicy aloo curry with chura (beaten rice) that people in Gangtok adore. And when we say spicy, we mean spicy. This is for the adventurous tourist/visitor who doesn't mind going off the beaten track. 

10)     Laphing 

Laphing is a spicy, cold mug bean noodle dish with soy sauce. A bit salty, a tad sour, and very spicy, Laphing is unlike most other foods in Gangtok that tend to be more forgiving (read bland). I cannot emphasize this enough – people who cannot handle spice should skip this weapons-grade dish. It costs just around 100 rupees, but it is only for the most intrepid.