Thukpa In Darjeeling: History, Types, And 5 Must-Visit Spots
Image Credit: Thukpa in Darjeeling is a must-try | Shutterstock

Thukpa, the soul-warming noodle soup, has a rich history rooted in the highlands of Tibet and has since spread its comforting embrace across the Himalayan region. This beloved dish is not only a staple but also a symbol of sustenance for the people living in the cold and rugged terrain. It is really popular in many cold, hilly parts of India, like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and North-Eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam, and West Bengal’s Darjeeling.

If we talk specifically about Darjeeling, the two most popular dishes among the tourists flocking to this beautiful place are momo and thukpa. The juicy, delicious Darjeeling-style momos are good, but the warm, comforting thukpa that you find in the humblest, hole-in-the-wall joints in the city is simply the best that you can find anywhere. So, if you are visiting Darjeeling anytime soon, here is a little history about the dish, the types of thukpa you can try, and the top 5 spots to enjoy it in the city.

Recipe - Get Curried

The Origins And History Of Thukpa

Thukpa traces its origins to Tibet, where it served as a hearty and warming meal for nomads and travellers traversing the challenging Himalayan terrain. The word "thukpa" itself translates to "noodle soup" in Tibetan, reflecting the dish's fundamental components. 

Over time, as trade routes crisscrossed the region, thukpa's popularity spread to neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, India, and parts of Southeast Asia. Thukpa's evolution has been influenced by the diverse cultures and ingredients found along these trade routes.  

The Thukpa's introduction to India is connected with the story of the Dalai Lama's exile in 1959. As he and his entourage sought refuge in India, surviving only on limited supplies, thukpa became a sustaining meal during the tough journey. It was the Dalai Lama's mother who introduced thukpa to the refugee community, and now it is popular across the country.

Here are four types of thukpa that you can enjoy:

Thentuk (Hand-Pulled Noodles):

Thentuk is a traditional Tibetan thukpa that features hand-pulled wheat noodles, creating a chewy and substantial texture. The broth is typically seasoned with garlic, ginger, and green chilies, often with mutton or chicken. Thentuk is known for its hearty and filling nature, making it a comforting meal, especially in the cold of the mountains.


Influenced by Chinese culinary traditions, Gyathuk uses thinner wheat noodles and a clear broth. It often includes vegetables, meat (such as chicken, beef, or buff), and a combination of soy sauce and spices for added depth. This variation showcases the fusion of Tibetan and Chinese flavours, resulting in the best possible combination. 

Pathug (Hand-Rolled Pinched Noodle):

Also known as pinched noodle thukpa, it is a unique Tibetan variation. The noodles are hand-rolled and pinched, resulting in irregularly shaped pasta that adds character and texture to the dish. These noodles are typically served in a hearty broth, often with mutton or lamb meat.


This is a lesser-known Tibetan thukpa that features distinctive flat, ribbon-like noodles. These noodles are typically wider than traditional thukpa noodles and provide a different texture to the dish. Drethug is often prepared with beef or yak meat and a light broth seasoned with spices.

Top 5 Spots To Enjoy Thukpa In Darjeeling

Recipe - Kamal Kitchen

Kunga Restaurant

Run by a Tibetan family, this place has the most delicious and comforting thukpa. The warm, comforting noodle soup is good for a light lunch and great for a nice, hearty dinner. Located on Gandhi Road, visit for a wholesome experience.

Penang Restaurant

If you want to try the Nepali-style thukpa, Kunga is your best bet. This place serves authentic Nepali thukpa, and you will be amazed by how comforting and light yet flavourful the dish tastes. Along with thukpa, you can also try the noodles and coriander fried rice.

Shangri La

A family-run business, Shangri La is a great, cosy place to try a nice, hot bowl of chicken or mutton thukpa. The place is best known for its pork dishes. Along with that, you can opt for their steamed momos, which are pretty popular and rightly so.


A multi-cuisine restaurant, along with thukpa, this little place located on Gandhi Road also serves sandwiches, burgers, and soups, and you can enjoy a hearty, filling meal here. Do try the thukpa, but also try everything else the Tibetan family-run restaurant offers.

Chopstix Restaurant and Bar

With quick service and great quality, this restaurant is known for serving amazing thukpa with fresh ingredients. Enjoy your evening in Darjeeling in this cute little place with a bowl full of chicken thukpa.