Food in Ladakh is heavily influenced by Tibetan cuisine. Hence many of the top dishes here being Tibetan. Nevertheless, if you manage to make it to one of the most beautiful and remotest places on earth, make sure to try these delicious Ladakhi foods!

Thukpa

Thukpa from Gesmo Restuarant Leh. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Thukpa from Gesmo Restuarant Leh. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup. It’s similar to Vietnamese Pho. It’s 25% soup and 75% noodles, tomato, onion, cabbage, and either chicken or mutton. The soup tastes as per the meat you order, then you add soy and chilli sauce according to your liking. It’s winter warmer in a cold climate like Ladakh. Try Thukpa at Gesmo Restaurant, Leh.

Thenthuk

Similar to Thukpa but with chunkier and thicker homemade rice noodles. It’s slightly more filling! Also try Thenthuk at Gesmo Restaurant, Leh.

Sha Phaley

Sha Phaley from The Tibetan Kitchen Leh. Thukpa from Gesmo Restuarant Leh. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Sha Phaley from The Tibetan Kitchen Leh. Thukpa from Gesmo Restuarant Leh. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

Yak Cheese

Yak cheese is a traditional cheese, like ricotta, that’s found mainly in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. It has its own unique taste. It’s not too strong like blue cheese and not too light like Edam. Try an olive, tomato, and Yak cheese omelette or the chicken and Yak cheese pizza at Gesmo Restaurant in Leh. Or go for a Yak Cheese bakery item a Tibet Quality Bakery in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

Yak Lassi

Lassi. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Lassi. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

This is hard to find. Lassi is a sweet, salty, or spicy yoghurt drink usually made from cow or buffalo milk. You need to find a local who owns and Yak and makes it. I stumbled upon this after stopping for tea at the bottom of Chang La pass. If you find it, locals are so helpful they will not ask for payment for it – however, if it’s clear the family isn’t well off you should offer a 10 INR or so per glass (the family we got it from was living in a makeshift tent for example).

Fresh Fruit Juices

Fresh Fruit Juice from Jammu and Kashmir. Lassi. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Fresh Fruit Juice from Jammu and Kashmir. Lassi. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

When in Ladakh you’re spoilt with fresh winter berries and fruit. Don’t forget to wash down the above dishes with fresh apple, apricot, or berry juice. The only two ingredients are real fresh pressed fruit and sugar.

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