January 24th, 2019 by Abhijit Chakraborty admin

There is much more to explore in terms of food in Leh than the quintessential instant noodles. Below you can find the most popular foods of Leh Ladakh. New place new cuisines, if you are a big foodie or you are great traveller you will explore the foods of that place.

And in this place, you will find a variety of new dishes to try and to explore. We have listed for you some of the most popular foods which you can try on your trip to Leh.

35 Foods To Try In Leh Ladakh (2019)

  1. Sea Buckthorn Juice
  2. Saag
  3. Cholak
  4. Phirni
  5. Holkur
  6. Cheese from Yak’s milk (Chhupri)
  7. Tigmo
  8. Butter Tea
  9. Momos
  10. Thukpa
  11. Thenktuk
  12. Mokthuk
  13. Qahwa
  14. Kulcha
  15. Langar
  16. Khambir
  17. Cashew Crusted chicken
  18. Yarkhandi Pulao
  19. Hargow
  20. Nasi Goreng
  21. Yak Cheese Pizza
  22. Kashmiri Dum Aloo
  23. Kothey
  24. Pad Thai
  25. Skyu
  26. Paba
  27. Tangtur
  28. Chhang
  29. Tabak Maaz
  30. Yakhni
  31. Skieu
  32. Rogan Josh
  33. Gushtaba
  34. Tsamik
  35. Hummus

Sea Buckthorn Juice

This drink you can’t find anywhere in India except Ladakh. This drink is made from the berries which are found in Ladakh only. This Sea buckthorn is known as Leh Berries. It contains Omega3 fatty acid and is really great in taste. When you are visiting this place you really can’t miss this juice as it will really give you another level taste. With these berries, Jams are also made in Ladakh.

Saag

Saag is made of spinach and in most part of north-India, this food is prepared. This food is cooked in every household in Ladakh. It is vegetarian food, and is made of cloves, butter, spices and of course spinach. It is really delicious food and can be paired with paratha, chapatti or anything.

Cholak

Cholak is another different dish in this area, it comprises of 3 elements- Tsampa, Chang and buttermilk. You can really go through a lot of different cuisines in this beautiful place. Tsampa is a major food of the Ladakhis which is made of barley, roasted grain and saltwater. It is taken along with the local beer Chang or Buttermilk known as Cholak.

Phirni

Phirni is served in the place of Kheer, It is a delicious sweet dish to have in Ladakh. It is given in a kulhaad i.e a pot made of mud, which will make it taste tastier. It is a rice pudding of the Iranian origin, it comprises of boiled rice, vermicelli, milk and sugar. It consists of dry fruits and pistachios as well.

Holkur

Holkur is a biscuit or cookie of the Ladakhis. It is a homemade thing which everyone offers when the tourists are visiting the places. It’s really good to taste and you can have it with butter tea or Qahwa, as you wish. You can take this snack in breakfast as well.

Cheese from Yak’s milk (Chhupri)

While traveling to parts of Ladakh, you will come across Yaks, you will click pictures and probably take rides on them.

But have you ever thought of trying cheese made of Yak milk?

Weird?

Well, probably for some people, but when in Leh please do not miss on trying out “Chhupri”.

Locals do not understand it when you say Yak cheese, they understand the local term for it “Chhupri”.

Preparation of Yak Cheese from Yak Milk- Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh
Preparation of Yak Cheese from Yak Milk Image Source

Chhupri is one of the best food items in Leh Ladakh and this marvellous food is easily available in the main market area, where vendors even sell it on the roadside street shops. They are available in three flavours: Sweet, salty and plain. The cheese is pretty hard and looks like calcium deposits. It is difficult to bite down on bigger pieces of the cheese, so better buy a pack of smaller pieces.

Do note that some places feel that the cheese smells a bit Yak-ish, though I did not feel it. But when in Leh, you just cannot afford to miss this!

Tigmo (pronounced Teemo)

We did not go looking for this dish, unlike the Chhupri. We just went into a local restaurant in Leh main market, asked for a local dish and were offered the “Tigmo”. It is a form of fermented and steamed bread, served with a veg/non-veg stew.

Tigmo or Teemo Image Source

The bread itself is very soft and fluffy and goes very well with the lightly flavoured stew. Although we went in for a snack, repeat orders of the delicious Tigmo converted it to a full dinner.

Butter Tea

Since the day we started planning a trip to Leh, I had decided on trying Butter Tea in Leh. But on reaching Leh, I couldn’t find it anywhere!

I tried hard until the last day but had to give up. Then the last night our hotel owner told us he was serving us special home-made tea and I realised that it was the butter tea I was so desperately looking for

Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh- Food that you should not miss
Butter Tea Image Source

Our host then explained to us that this tea is generally made at home and not served in restaurants. The tea looks pink and tastes salty. He explained why the tea is made with butter and salt. The butter helps keep lips from getting chapped in the harsh cold weather and the salt helps to stay away from altitude sickness.

He also showed us the special wooden apparatus that is used to churn butter for the tea and is available in all Leh homes.

Momos

It is a crime to not taste momos while you are in Leh. The momos are available in various shapes, one of which according to our driver is shaped like a rat.

Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh- Food that you should not miss
Momos Image Source

Thukpa

It is Tibetan soup. Due to the Tibetan influence in Leh, Thukpa is quite popular in Leh. It is a clear soup with lots of vegetables. Comfort food for cold temperatures of Leh.

Thukpa at a cafe in Leh-Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh- Food that you should not miss
Thukpa at a cafe in Leh Image Source

Thenktuk

This a version of the Thukpa. In addition to the vegetables this soup consists of noodles as well. In cold temperatures, you would love to gorge on hot soups and this variation is quite good.

Mokthuk

Looking for some momo as well as soup? Mokthuk is for you. It is a Tibetan soup consisting of momos and vegetables. The goodness of momos and warm soup covered in one.

Qahwa

Although we hear of Qahwa more in the Kashmir region, it is in fact, an essential drink in Leh. The day we landed in Leh, we were asked by our host to drink Qahwa throughout the day in small quantities.

Qahwa
Qahwa

It contains saffron and cinnamon that help keep the body warm. If you are planning to buy Qahwa to take back home, the local grocery shops stock only two brands: King’s and Kanwal. These are ready to make Qahwa powder brands.

Kulcha

This is a kind of bun, which is very unlike what we know as Kulcha in North India. It is a hard bun that the locals eat with qahwa or tea.

Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh- Food that you should not miss
Kulcha

Image Source

Langar

The langar served at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is food for the soul. I have never had such tasty rajma in my life. The most amazing thing is that the Gurudwara cooks in such huge volumes and still manages to keep it so homely.

We saw numerous army trucks lined up outside the Gurudwara and army men kept pouring in during lunch hour. It looked as if they routinely came here for lunch.

The langar area at Gurudawara Pathar Sahib, Leh: Bests food to try in Leh Ladakh- Food that you should not miss
The langar area at Gurudawara Pathar Sahib, Leh Image Source

Mouth-watering eh? As said above, Leh has some amazing stay options too, in case you are eager to pay a visit and try the Ladakhi cuisine yourself. Do plan a trip soon. Life, as we know it, is very short, and the more you travel, the better.

Khambir

This is a traditional food in Ladakh, which is usually served with butter tea or Qahwa. This pan-shaped bread is thicker than the bread we eat. Also, its texture is different from the usual bread. It has a crispy texture. This is why it goes well with tea. One can also take it with fruit jam, butter, boiled egg, etc. much like the bread we eat. However, it is more versatile compared to bread since you can take it as a side dish to a variety of soups as well.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get this bread in almost all local cafes like Gesmo Restaurant, Old Ford Road, Leh.

Cashew Crusted Chicken

Cashew Crusted Chicken

If you are thinking about what to eat in Leh apart from local dishes, you can go for some continental dish. Cashew crusted chicken is a continental dish that you can get only in European-themed restaurants. It is a sumptuous and tasty chicken recipe containing chicken breasts, egg, a host of spices, and topped with cashew crumbs. It is a tasty treat in the biting cold of Ladakh, which can be had with some tomato sauce.

Best Restaurant to Try

The Bon Appetit restaurant in Leh is the go-to place for items like Cashew Crusted Chicken. This is a European-themed restaurant frequented by foreigners.

Yarkhandi Pulao

This is a very popular food in Leh Ladakh, but it is not local to this place. In fact, it was introduced to the local people by the Yarkhandi traders who used to come along the ancient silk route and later settled in Leh. However, now it is one of the most preferred local delicacies. It is made using chicken, rice, and a lot of spices. In fact, it is one of the most tempting items available in Ladakh.

Best Restaurant to Try

Namza restaurant located Zangsti road, Leh serves excellent Yarkhandi Pulao.

Har Gow

Har Gow

This is a traditional Tibetan dish but has found its way into the traditional landscape of food in Ladakh. It is actually a kind of steamed dumpling containing various stuffing like shrimp, chicken, pork, etc. but the wrapping is made of wheat and tapioca flour. This makes the wrapping very thin and snow white in colour. It is also very translucent. There is a prominent influence of Tibetan food in Ladakh and Har Gow is one of these. You can have vegetable Har Gow too. The dumplings are pretty delicate and prone to breaking. The taste too is delicate.

Best restaurant to Try

Again, Namza is one of the best restaurants in Leh to have Har Gow.

Nasi Goreng

For the gourmets who love to taste different cuisines and are thinking about what to eat in Leh apart from traditional dishes, Nasi Goreng can be a good one. It is actually a kind of fried rice that originated in Indonesia. This is prepared by stir-frying rice and adding to it a seasoning paste of shrimp, chilies, and sugar. This gives rise to a richly flavoured and delicious dish. On top of it, a fried egg is also given. You cannot find this food in any restaurant. Only a pan Asian themed restaurant can cater to such nuanced food pangs.

Best Restaurant to Try

Blue Lotus is a pan Asian themed restaurant in Leh where you can get Malaysian, Thai, and Indonesian cuisine. You can get a platter of delicious Nasi Goreng here.

Yak Cheese Pizza

Yak Cheese Pizza

This is a special cheese pizza available in Ladakh. Yak cheese is somewhat saltier than the cheese we have. However, it tastes great. It is also quite hard, but it is said to have a number of health benefits. This is definitely worth trying in Ladakh.

Best Restaurant to Try

Yak cheese is widely available in Ladakh, but you can get good yak cheese pizza in places like Gesmo restaurant and La Pizzeria in Leh.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Dum aloo is a favourite dish in many parts of India. It is also a popular food in Ladakh. However, Kashmiri dum aloo is somewhat different from what we have. In Leh, you can get Kashmiri dum aloo platters in restaurants and cafes. It is made with baby potatoes and yogurt and fennel are used to prepare this dish. It is a superbly delicious dish that you need to try out while in Leh.

Best Restaurant to Try

The Badshah Inn Restaurant on Fort Road, Leh, serves great Kashmiri dum aloo. It is around the corner from the main post office at Leh.

Kothey

kothey

Kothey is actually a variety of momo that is common to places like Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, as well as Ladakh. It contains a filling of pork and ginger and is pan-fried. This gives it a crusty skin. It is actually quite a delicious dish and tastes somewhat different from the usual momo.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can have a sumptuous dish of Kothey at Sunbeam Café located on Old Fort Road in Leh.

Pad Thai

It is a rice noodle dish common to Thailand, but this is also a popular food in Leh Ladakh. Soaked and dried rice noodles are stir-fried along with chopped tofu, eggs, and a number of condiments like tamarind pulpdried shrimpfish sauce, red chili, garlic, palm sugar, etc.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get this in local restaurants like Lamayuru Restaurant on Old Ford Road, Leh.

Skyu

Skyu is a traditional and staple food in Ladakh. It is a kind of soup, which also contains small balls made of wheat flour. The balls are cooked in water along with vegetable or meat. It also contains vegetables like carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc. to add flavour and taste to the soup. It is said to offer protection against the harsh climate of Ladakh.

Best Restaurant to Try

Since it is a staple Ladakhi food you can get it in various restaurants such as Gesmo restaurant in Leh.

Paba

Paba is a kind of bread, and it is extremely nutritious since it is made of barley, peas, buckwheat, wheat, and local black beans. All these are mixed and made into a dough. It is a staple food in Leh Ladakh, and you can get it in most local restaurants.

            Best Restaurant to Try

Local restaurants like Gesmo and Sunbeam Café in Leh serve excellent Paba.

Tangtur

Tangtur is a kind of buttermilk that is filed with local vegetables grown widely in Ladakh. It is a traditional food in Ladakh. One can have lettuce, spinach, sugar beet leaves, cabbage, etc. in buttermilk. This is one of the tastiest traditional dishes of Ladakh, and you need to try this delicacy while touring Ladakh.

Best Restaurant to Try

The Tibetan Kitchen in Leh is one of the best places to try Tangtur since it serves all the local delicacies in the most exquisite way.

Chhang

Chhang is not a dish; it is more a brew than anything else. It is made by fermenting miller with yeast. Hot water is added to the fermented stuff until it is sufficiently mild in tone. It is a local brew, but it is intoxicating even at mild strength. The brew is usually made in wooden drums and poured from brass kettles. Once the brew is sufficiently distilled, it is known as arak.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can have this local beer in several local restaurants such as Lehchen Bar And Restaurant located on Zangsti road in Leh.

Tabak Maaz

This is another local Ladakhi dish that you must try out while in Leh. Tabak Maaz is actually fried ribs of lamb. Primarily it is a Persian dish and a number of different spices are used in preparing this dish. Your quest for what to eat in Leh to pamper the taste buds can end with this dish. After marinating the ribs, they are cooked till dry and then deep-fried. They are also cooked for long so that the ribs become soft. To enhance the taste, saffron, and milk are also added to the preparation. The crispy texture of lamb meat and the soft bones doused in a mouth-watering spicy combination enhanced by the addition of ghee make for a great slurping enjoyment.

Best Restaurant to Try

Badshah Inn in Leh is one of the best restaurants to enjoy this local delicacy.

Yakhni

Yakhni is a Kashmiri delicacy introduced during the Mughal rule. A number of spices are used to make this dish and is usually served along with pulao. It contains meat and yogurt in significant proportions and is tempered with saffron. While saffron imparts the inviting colour and yogurt provides a unique texture. It also contains tomatoes. In Leh, you can get Yakhni made of lamb meat. If you are a vegetarian, you can also try Paneer Yakhni.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get fine Yakhni in Gesmo restaurant and Namza restaurant in Leh.

Skieu

It is a traditional food in Ladakh made of wheat flour and water. You can eat this dish with vegetables or meat. The locals eat this stuff regularly since it keeps the body warm. To prepare this dish, wheat flour is kneaded with water and made into thumb-sized balls. These balls are then added to meat stew or vegetable stew. A number of vegetables like turnip, potatoes, carrots, etc. are used to prepare the dish.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get this local stuff at local cuisine restaurants like Gesmo or Namza restaurant in Leh.

Rogan Josh

This indeed is a lip-smacking delicacy that you can discover in the landscape of food in Leh Ladakh. However, it is not an original local dish. It has Persian roots and can be found in several restaurants in Kashmir. This rich meat preparation can help you keep warm in the biting cold of Leh. Rogan is the Persian name of ghee and Josh refers to stew. If you translate the literal meanings, it means something stewed in ghee. The Ladakhi preparation of Rogan Josh usually contains lamb meat. Lamb meat is cooked in a rich gravy containing yogurt, garlic, ginger, garlic, and several spices. Kashmiri chili is added to impart a red colour to the preparation. You can also get Rogan Josh made of goat and beef.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get this delicious and mouth-watering stuff in Lha Ri Sa Multicuisine restaurant in Skara in Leh, Ladakh.

Gushtaba

It is a minced-meat delicacy prepared in curd. It has originated in Kashmir and contains a number of spices like fennel seeds, dry ginger, mustard oil, red chilies, curd, etc. It is usually referred to as the dish that the kings love. It contains large meatballs of lamb or goat and is usually served as the last dish of the main course. After Gushtaba, guests are usually served with desserts. In the biting winter cold of Leh, it can be followed by a hot sweet dish, but in summer, you can get a cold dessert.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get this stuff in Mughali restaurants in Leh such as Lha Ri Sa Multicuisine restaurant or Wonderland Restaurant & Coffee house in Leh, Ladakh

Tsamik

It is a traditional sauce made from coriander and mint leaves that usually accompanies traditional food in Leh Ladakh. To prepare the dish, all the ingredients are first ground. Chili powder is added to it along with some buttermilk or curd and salt is added to taste. It results in a thick batter. Locals usually take it as a dip for Paba.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can have this in Gesmo restaurant or Namza restaurant in Leh, Ladakh.

Hummus

This is actually a Middle-Eastern dish, but you can get it in some good restaurants in Leh. It is a kind of dip made from mashed chickpeas. If chickpea is not available, other peas can also be used. The mashed peas is mixed with olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste. It is a popular dish in the Mediterranean and the Middle East region.

Best Restaurant to Try

You can get Hummus at Lamayuru restaurant on Fort Road near hotel Yaktail in Leh, Ladakh.

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