The lead guitarist of Indian rock band Parikrama Sonam Sherpa now resides in the Capital, but one thing he misses from home is the food. When there he usually prefers dining at home given that his “sisters and sister-in-law are great cooks”. But for our readers he shares a few places in Kalimpong where you can try some of the local dishes. “Do order rice on the side. It’s a killer combo,” he adds.
Gundruk ko jhol: It is a wrong notion that only the non-vegetarian food in this region tastes good. Though there’s no doubt it is known for its non-vegetarian delicacies, this particular vegetarian dish is made up of dry saag, mostly radish saag, and if not that, then rai saag-that has chopped garlic and onion sautÃ©d with haldi and chopped tomatoes. It is of a soupy consistency, which makes it most apt for any weather.
Fungbi: Staying in a homestay in Kalimpong has a different charm altogether. When you are served good food, it makes it even better. One of my favourite dishes here is Fungbi which is a product of soya that is made from the by-product of rice noodles. The pieces are chopped into small cubes and then fried with crushed garlic in oil along with salt and red chillies.
Sukuti ko achar: Though a traditional dish, this might not suit everyone’s palate. But since the Capital doesn’t offer much of Kalimpong’s local cuisine, I miss eating it a lot. Usually fish is soaked in lukewarm water, dried, cut into small pieces and then deep fried in a wok. It is then mixed with a grounded dallay, salt and strained dry pieces. This a must-try on-the-side dish if you are here.
Roots, Shoots and Bed
Pork Trotter: This particular place is a homestay that serves traditional food and is located just about 10 minutes away from the Kalimpong auto stand. Their pork trotters are delicious. The chopped upper portion of pig trotters is mixed with a good amount of sliced onion sliced ginger, sliced tomatoes, red dry chilly, haldi, salt, mustard oil and one big lemon (squeezed) and mixed nicely and then cooked under pressure for 5 to 8 minutes. It is lip-smacking.
As told to Kanika Sharma