8 Foods In Leh Ladakh That You Must Try!

If you're a foodie and a traveler and haven't visited Leh, it's time you do some serious thinking! If not for the snow-capped mountains, the cool breeze, lakes, and temples, you must visit this place at least once in your life for all the delicious foods they have to offer. And everyone who has tried the food here has a love story to share. The unique food items are the best part of the culture here and you'll notice the Tibetan influence the Ladakhi cuisine has. The food is not going to be the typically spicy Indian food, the flavors are more muted and the food is tasty and healthy.

Doesn't matter when you visit the place, here are some of the foods in Leh Ladakh that you must try. Don’t blame us if you keep drooling throughout!

8 Foods In Leh Ladakh That You Must Try

  • Thukpa
  • Ladakhi Mutton Sausage
  • Butter Tea (Gur-Gur Chai)
  • Momos
  • Ladakhi Skew or Sku
  • Yak Cheese (Chhurpi)
  • Tingmo With Shapta
  • Apricot Jam
  1. Thukpa

If you're going to try the local food in Leh, the first name that probably pops into your head is thukpa. And that's precisely why it has made it to number one on our list. This dish has its origin in eastern parts of Tibet and is also a staple food in Leh Ladakh. You’ll find it almost in every corner of the city and it's the best comfort food you'll try here. Thukpa is essentially a noodle soup which is arguably the best-known dish here. It's made two ways, the first where you have the noodles, the soup and you also have assorted vegetables and the second where you have the meat. So, if you're a vegetarian, you can try the one with vegetables while the meat lovers can try out the one with meat.

The broth is what makes this dish one of the most outstanding of the lot. It's flavorful and spicy and some even have dumplings or momos in it. The local shops serve different varieties of thukpa, but what remains constant is the flavor. The broth, noodles, and vegetables all combine to make the perfect dish to try out amidst the cold weather of Ladakh. Eating thukpa amidst the snow-clad mountains is a whole experience and you'll thoroughly enjoy it as well.

Also read: 9 Things To Do In Leh Ladakh For A Thrilling Holiday

best food in ladakh

Ladakhi Mutton Sausage

If you know anything about the people of Ladakh is that they love their meats and a dish that you must not forget to try out is the Ladakhi mutton sausage. It's mostly a staple during the winters among the locals and also a delicacy that's loved by all. This sausage is very different from your normal sausage as it’s made of tender mutton and packed with flavor and spices. Once cooked, the Ladakhi mutton sausage just melts in your mouth and you can actually taste each of its flavorful elements explode in your mouth.

The mutton used is tender and minced finely, packed with local spices and herbs, and then rolled in the skin. Pepper is the spice that's added to give this sausage a good spicy kick. You can have Ladakhi mutton sausage just by itself or with any kind of bread. You can enjoy this delicacy at any time of the day and it will make for a wholesome meal or snack. For all meat lovers, this Ladakhi mutton sausage is a must-try for sure.

  1. Butter Tea (Gur-Gur Chai)

You must be thinking, what is this butter tea? And does it taste as weird as it sounds? The answer to that question is you need to have an acquired taste for it. It's not your usual or cutting chai as it’s a traditional beverage that is served in Leh and other Himalayan regions. Butter tea is also locally known as “gur-gur chai” and you’ll find a lot of locals enjoying this at the tea stalls. Plus, if you visit any local's house, they will greet you with a cup of butter tea and will refill your cup as soon as you're halfway there to finish the drink.

Butter tea is a bit pink in color and is made with Yak butter, salt, water, and a tiny amount of sugar infused with tea leaves. This is one of the things you’ll find everywhere in Ladakh and is a must try to get rid of the breeding cold weather. The locals have this tea on a daily basis. The weird combination of ingredients that this drink contains should not stop you from trying this delicacy that’s refreshing and filled with calories. Butter tea is a drink that is also served during weddings and other special occasions that take place here in Leh Ladakh.

Momos

Imagine having visited Ladakh in the cold winters and you’re served with freshly made steamed momos. It's a whole vibe and we know it. Momos originated in Tibet and are generally made of minced meat or vegetables like onions, spinach, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. All these ingredients combine to add a great aroma and a very distinct flavor to the dish. You can get steam momos or even fried momos depending on what you prefer. The ingredients used to make these momos have a very textured feel that adds to the whole experience of eating them.

A plate of momos is served with chili sauce and even soup which makes this dish very warm and wholesome. They work well as a side dish, a whole meal for breakfast, or just something to snack on. Basically, it's a staple food that can be enjoyed anytime during the day. The spice is just the right amount and the tender meat or the vegetables just add to the flavor and texture of the momos. It basically sounds like something that you should not miss out on trying, especially when you’ll get to taste different flavors of traditional momos in Ladakh.

Also read: 7 Unusual Foods In India

Ladakhi Skew Or Sku

For anyone who's a fan (or not) of one-pot meals, you'd love to try the Ladakhi skew. The Ladakhi skew or sku is one of the most popular one-pot dishes of Ladakh. It's a dish well-loved during the winters and you'll get it served hot on your table. To make this dish, the wheat dough is kneaded into small-sized dumpling balls which are then boiled with meat and/or vegetables to be served as a hot one-pot meal. You’ll basically get two kinds of these skews, one with meat and one without. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to have whichever one you like.

The soup in this dish is what makes it very warm and nutritious. It's a very high-calorie food dish that is best to have from the local stalls that you find on the side roads of Ladakh. In some places, milk is the main ingredient used when making this skew. This dish is also locally yet popularly known as oma-skew whereby, oma stands for milk in their local language. You can try different variations of this dish but Ladakhi skew has to be on your food-to-try list when you visit Leh Ladakh. You can enjoy it the best when you're tired from trekking and need a bowl of some homemade love.

Yak Cheese (Chhurpi)

Yak cheese may not sound so good, but it's definitely something you may want to try when you visit Ladakh. It's also one of those many dishes that requires acquired taste but is worth the try anyway. This is locally called chhurpi and you'll find it in most of the local stores in and around Leh Ladakh. You get this item in two kinds, the soft one and the hard one and they both have the same taste. The hard one takes a bit of time to melt in your mouth but the aftertaste is something you'd enjoy.

This cheese is locally made from domesticated yaks and is white in color with a mild taste. These yaks are a hybrid between a yak and a cow and they produce a lot of milk which is useful in producing many dairy products. Locals use this cheese in many of their dishes. You'll be having it in momo, thukpa, skew, soups, and any other dishes that are locally made.

Also read: Experiencing The Food In Dharamshala

Tingmo With Shapta

Warm and comforting food never fails to surprise you and make you feel calm and relaxed. If you want to find such a dish in Leh, the combination of tingmo and shapta is exactly that. It's one of those comfort food dishes that you have when you want to feel at home. Both these items can be eaten individually, but they complement each other very well and are best served together. You have to give this combination a try to tickle your taste buds as you bite into the soft tingmo and then hit the spicy mutton.

To talk a little more about what these dishes are, tingmo is the local bread of Ladakh that is made out of wheat and is very different from the ones you get in your local stores. It’s an altered version of bao or a bun, but only in a pleated form. Tingmo bread is soft, fluffy, and contains no filling. It's one of their staples during big functions and celebrations and is had with dals, vegetables, gravies, and other curries. Mutton shapta on the other hand is essentially a mutton stir fry with spicy gravy. The mutton is cut into small thin pieces and cooked with local spices. It's truly one of the best dishes that you could try in Leh Ladakh.

Apricot Jam

Once you're done with your lunch or dinner and are craving something sweet and tasty to have as dessert, that's when apricot jam comes into the picture. Since apricot is a locally grown fruit in Ladakh, apricot jam is locally made in Ladakh and is very commonly found in local stores as well. Almost every house here has at least one apricot tree where you'll find freshly grown organic apricots. There are many delicacies that are made from this fruit but the apricot jam is one of the most loved ones. There's also apricot syrup, seeds, jam, dried apricots, and oil made out of the apricots locally. You'll find all of these items being sold in the local grocery stores and shops across the streets in Leh Ladakh.

This apricot culture was introduced with the influence of China and parts of Central Asia on the city in the 20th century. It soon became a part of the Leh Ladakh culture and you now find apricots being used on a regular basis here. If you love jam, you must try the apricot jam for breakfast with bread and butter tea. It's a great combo for breakfast among the locals as well and isn't one that you must miss. Besides, it's also a nutritious and delicious dessert to have after your meals.

Also read: 6 Best Places For Street Food In India

food in leh ladakh you must try

Summing Up

From rich culture to delicious food and breathtaking views, Leh Ladakh has a little bit of everything for you to just soak in and enjoy. And as you’ve seen here, food is definitely something that stands out of the lot. The strong Tibetan influence and the mild flavors are something you can savor and enjoy amidst the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains. Now that you have an idea of all the best and most delicious foods that Leh Ladakh offers, you must make it a point to visit this place and try all the food out for yourself.

FAQs

Which Food Is Famous In Leh Ladakh?

Leh Ladakh is known for its delicious food that you must not skip when you visit. Thukpa, skew, tingmo, butter tea, apricot jam, and Yak cheese are some of its best dishes. The people of Leh also love their meats a lot and so, all of these dishes have incorporated meat in some way or another. But, vegetarians may not worry as all of these dishes are also made with vegetables as alternative ingredients.

What Can We Eat In Ladakh In Summer?

Ladakh has an array of popular dishes that you can try all year long, but one of the main dishes you must try during the summers is their momos. They come in various flavors and two main kinds- steamed and fried. You can enjoy them as you like, but the soup that is served with the momos gives you a power pack flavor burst.

Which Fruit Is Famous In Ladakh?

Apricot is a popular fruit found in Ladakh. This fruit is used in many dishes that the locals of Ladakh enjoy. Apricot jam is a very famous dish to enjoy with bread over breakfast or snacks. It's locally called ‘chuli’ and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, and amino acids.

What Should We Drink In Leh Ladakh?

When you visit Leh Ladakh, chaang, sea buckthorn juice, and butter tea are some of the many must-have drinks that you must give a try. Out of all these, their very loved butter tea is the drink that the locals enjoy on an everyday basis. It's made from yak milk butter and salt and doesn't taste anything like normal tea that you must be used to. But, it's a delicious drink that you must try at least once.

What Is The Famous Sweet Dish Of Ladakh?

Tsampa is one of the most popular and tasty sweet dishes of Leh Ladakh. It's basically roasted barley flour mixed with roasted nuts. It's one of those dishes that you will want to have again and again while you're there.

Is Vegetarian Food Available In Leh Ladakh?

Yes, you do get vegetarian food in Leh Ladakh. Almost all the foods that you get in Leh have a vegetarian version available for you to have. So, from momos to skew, you do have vegetarian options available in all of these items.

What Is Ladakh Famous For?

Ladakh is most famous for its breathtaking views that you can experience from some of the highest mountain passes in the world. Moreover, there are Buddhist Monasteries, exciting adventure activities, and colorful cultural festivals that you can experience.

How Many Days Are Enough For Visiting Ladakh?

In order to experience this beautiful place to its best, you will need to stay here for seven to ten days.