My date with Naga food.

In Nagaland the sheer diversity is mind boggling with 16 recognised Naga tribes and over 150 which are not.. Each tribe speaks a different dialect and cooks its food in a different way.

Naga food is simple as they use only 4 spices or ingredients such as salt, tumeric, black pepper and garlic. Bamboo shoots are extensively used together with various local beans.

The vegetables are generally boiled and Nagas are rice eaters. Their rice, called the sticky rice is different both in looks and taste than what we are used to in north of India.

There are no restaurants which serve Naga food though all along the highway you find Rice Hotels which offer pork and rice. When a Naga wants to eat out he will often call on a friend as each tribe has a different way of cooking pork and other meats. They are excellent hosts and guests are offered everything from frog legs, Mithun meat, steamed bees and fried bats to barrels of rice beer and wine.

A traditional Naga home has its kitchen outdoors because fire is one of the most essential components of cooking. Above the kitchen fire there are pieces of meat (both pork and beef) hanging to smoke the meat which dries out slowly. Roughly it takes weeks or sometimes much longer for the meat to be ready.

I tried two items in the Hornbill Festival and instantly fell in love with the Naga food, specially the smoked pork which was crispy on the outside and real soft inside.

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For starters I tried Wokoso Rarahum (skewered pork flavoured with Naga basil) and in the mainr course I tried Wokoso Rhujak (port with sun dried bamboo shoots gathered from Yamkha jungle).
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I also visited Mao town which is border of Manipur and Nagaland and tried fried fish curry with rice and Naga dal, which was also yum.

rdmathur

rdmathur

Retired banker high on life, who loves to travel and share his travel tales.
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