All You Need To Know About Nagaland Cuisine
The food of Nagaland can be a fascinating proposition, if occasionally a slightly daunting one. Read on as our resident writer Rupert Winchester spills the beans on all that it is about!
Mostly, at Kohima Camp, you’ll get stunning Indian and Western cuisine, cooked by our award-winning team of chefs. But if you want to try some of the local dishes, we can do that too. Last year we got the winner of Nagaland’s Top Chef to come in several times and cook for our guests, and it was very popular.
Because Naga people tend not to eat in restaurants, it can be difficult for outsiders to experience the true Naga cuisine, so having our own chef really adds to the richness of your experience.
One thing that many people know about Naga cooking is that eating man’s best friend, the dog, is very popular in the region. However, you can rest assured that, that won’t be on our menu!
The 16 different Naga tribes all have their own traditional dishes, but there is some overlap. A typical Nagamese meal would involve some sort of animal protein, a couple of different boiled vegetables, some rice and some chutney. Popular vegetable dishes include fermented bamboo shoots and boiled or fermented soya beans, known as axone. Anishi is fermented taro leaves which are made into patties and smoked over a fire or dried in the sun. And everything is liberally seasoned with the ubiquitous Naga chilli, which adds its own particular piquancy.
Traditionally, a Naga kitchen is situated outside, because of the need for access to the fire. And hanging above any Naga kitchen fire will be pieces of meat, both pork and beef, that slowly dry out over time and become smoked high above the flames. After weeks, or months, the meat is pronounced ready: it is often then put into a stew. The meat is crispy on the outside, with a texture rather like jerky, but with an intense, concentrated meaty flavour. Delicious.
Bamboo is everywhere in Nagaland, and is used often in the region’s cuisine, both as an ingredient, and as a utensil. Fish are often stuffed into a hollow tube of bamboo with a few spices, and then put into the ashes of the fire to cook. Afterwards, they’re simply emptied out of the bamboo into a bowl, ready to be served. They can be quite plain, but with the addition of chilli sauce, are really quite delicate and special.
Other typical Naga delicacies, some of which might sound quite challenging, include roasted pig intestines, bitter melon, eel-chili sauce, chicken glutinous rice soup and bean mix. Odd though they may sound, they’re all delicious, and highly recommended. In fact, Nagaland is as distinctive in terms of its cuisine as India itself. Come and try it for yourself.
You can experience all this and more at The Ultimate Travelling Camp!
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