Food Tourism 101: Himachal Pradesh Food Guide

  • By: Nikita
  • Date: April 15, 2021
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Himachali food boasts the confluence of local Pahadi, Tibetan, Nepali cuisines along with flavours from the surrounding regions of Punjab and Kashmir. This Himachal Pradesh Food Guide is a guided journey into the world of cuisines that carry the aroma of distinct ingredients and techniques. Its association with specific cultures &  geographical regions, and traditions & customs that go into the preparation of the dish. 

The contemporary essence of Food Tourism deviates into food culture & world-cuisine experiences such as cooking classes, immersive buffets, meeting chefs, modern preparation methods, kitchen tours, themed cafes, etc. 

In this article, you will find the traditional cuisines, must-eats and must-visits, all compiled together into a savoury bundle of flavours, tastes and places. Keep reading if you want to know more about Himachali Food culture, with a practical guide to top restaurants, cafes and diners. 

Traditional Cuisines of Himachal Pradesh

  1. Dham

Dham is a traditional delicacy for all Himachali festivities. Traditionally served on leaf plates, the platter consists of kidney beans, green beans, and rice in curd. It is ladled with flavourful mash dal, boor ki kari and a sweet & sour tamarind sauce. 

  1. Mittha 

Mittha is a dessert dish made with sweetened rice and refined butter (Ghee). Its rich taste comes from the plentiful roasted cashews, almonds and raisins, giving it a subtle and enriching sweet taste. 

  1. Babru 

A variation of the north-Indian Kachori, Babru is made with dough patties stuffed with black gram dal paste and then deep-fried in mustard oil. 

  1. Chana Madra 

This dish is made with Madra (a type of yoghurt) and Kabuli Chana (white chickpeas). Cooked in gravy, the recipe is complete with assorted seasoning of spices, ginger, garlic and onions. 

  1. Tudkiya Bhath 

A sibling of pulao, Tudkiya Bhath is made with rice, lentils, veggies and yoghurt. The secret of its savoury taste lies in its piquant spices such as cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, red chillis and turmeric. 

  1. Bhey 

Bhey is a very succulent dish made with lotus stems. The stems are finely sliced, boiled and stir-fried with onions, pepper, ginger-garlic paste and other spices, giving it a distinct texture and taste. 

  1. Aktori 

Aktori is a type of cake made with a mix of buckwheat and wheat. 

  1. Kullu Trout 

Shallow fried in minimal spices and marinated trout, the famous Kullu Trout brings your taste buds to life. 

  1. Gahat ka shobra 

Gahat ka Shobra is a soup made with local grains. This nutritious soup has sapid flavours of coriander and garlic. 

  1. Aloo Palda 

One of the lip-smacking dishes of North India, Aloo Palda is a curd based curry with potatoes. This unique potato curry is served with bread or rice. 

  1. Pahadi Chicken 

Pahadi Chicken is a distinctive curry made with whole spices in the traditional Himachali style. 

  1. Chha Gosht 

 Chha Gosht is a typical Himachali recipe made with marinated lamb. The lamb is slow-cooked in curd and gram flour, with Indian spices. 

  1. Auriya Kaddoo

Auriya Kaddoo is a spicy seasonal recipe. A sumptuous pumpkin delicacy cooked in madra gravy, raw mango powder (amchur) and other spices. 

  1. Siddu 

A local homemade bread made from wheat flour. The dough is kneaded and set aside for a few hours and cooked on direct flame. It’s enjoyed with ghee/ butter or eaten with mutton and dal. 

  1. Mash Dal 

Mash Dal is a homely dish made with split black lentils. The pre-soaked and pressure-cooked lentils are shallow-fired in mustard oil with onions, garlic, ginger and spices. 

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Top 6 must-visit places on Food Tour in Himachal Pradesh 

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Kasol 

  1. Buddha Cafe 

Located on the banks of the Parvati River, Buddha Cafe welcomes travellers with artistic ambience and piquant dishes.  

What to eat: Nutella Banana Crepe, Momos, and Paneer Makhani 

Address: Manikaran Rd, Kasol, Himachal Pradesh 175105

Cost for two: 600 INR ($8)

  1. Shambu Momo Corner 

A small street stall serving the best momos in town, Shambhu Momo Corner is very popular among travellers. 

What to eat: Chicken/Veg momos with spicy peanut chutney 

Address: Kasol, Himachal Pradesh 175105

Cost for two: 300 INR ($4)

  1. Moon Dance Cafe 

With rustic and quaint interiors, Moon Dance Cafe features snug hilly vibes with a bar and flavourful cuisines options. 

What to eat: Fresh bread sandwiches, waffles, cakes and Israeli food 

Address: near Bridge, Kasol, Himachal Pradesh 175105

Cost for two: 700 INR ($9.30)

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Mcleodganj 

  1. Lung Ta Japanese Restaurant 

A quiet little place on Jogiwara road, Lung-Ta serves authentic Japanese cuisine. With simple interiors and elements of Japan in the decor, Lung Ta is undoubtedly one of the best vegan options in Mcleodganj. 

What to eat: Daily specials, vegan special, Sushi 

Address: McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219

Cost for two: 500 INR ($6.60)

  1. Common Ground Cafe 

With cosy interiors and a low sitting, Common Ground is an Asian Fusion restaurant with a big and affordable menu. 

What to eat: Szechuan Hotpot, Pork Gravy, Sha Tag, and Healthy Vegan Food

Address: Sewarg Ashram Rd, Tushita Road, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219

Cost for two: 500 INR ($6.60)

  1. Tibet Kitchen 

Tibet Kitchen is an all-day, multi-cuisine restaurant with warm hosts and capacious indoor seating. 

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What to eat: Sweet honey chilli potato/chicken, Tibetan cuisine, and Thai curry 

Address: Jogiwara Road, House #1 Main Square, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219

Cost for two: 600 INR ($8)

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Manali 

  1. Johnson’s Cafe 

Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Himalayas, Johnson’s cafe has thoughtfully designed interiors with an old rustic vibe.  

What to eat: Trout Fish 

Address: Circuit House Road, Siyal, Kullu, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131

Cost for two: 800 INR ($10.60)

  1. Chopsticks 

A cosy food-joint right on the bustling mall road of Manali, Chopsticks offers the best of Tibetan, Japanese and Chinese cuisines. 

What to eat: Gyoza, Chopsticks Noodles, Pan Fried Rice 

Address: Model Town, Siyal, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131

Cost for two: 800 INR ($10.60)

  1. Rasta Cafe

 

A laid-back and relaxed vibe makes Rasta Cafe the perfect place to spend a day lounging and binge-eating. 

What to eat: Greek Salad, Pizza 

Address: Near Vashisht Temple, Manali, Kullu District, Vashist, Himachal Pradesh 175103

Cost for two: 500 INR ($6.60)

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Bir  

  1. Ara Cafe  

A breezy rooftop seating, overlooking the mighty Dhauladhar range, Ara cafe is perfect for sunsets, hearty meals and soulful vibes. 

What to eat: Sandwiches, Fresh tomato basil soup, Biryani 

Address: House Number 1393, Village And Post Office, Bir, Himachal Pradesh 176077

Cost for two: 500 INR ($6.60)

  1. Musafir- A Traveller’s Cafe 

A zero-plastic cafe and a great hangout place for travellers, Musafir is a pocket-friendly cafe with welcoming hosts. 

What to eat: Chicken Curry, Mint ice tea, Sandwiches 

Address: Suja, Himachal Pradesh 176077

Cost for two: 200INR- 400 INR ($2.50- $5.30)

  1. Silver Linings 

An all-day cafe with mouth-watering desserts and beautiful indoor & outdoor seating, Silver Linings serves delicious breakfasts and good vibes. 

What to eat: White-sauce pasta, Cake, Hash potatoes with herbs, Banoffee pie  

Address: Bir Colony Rd, Suja, Himachal Pradesh 176077

Cost for two: 300 INR ($4)

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Dalhousie 

  1. Cafe Dalhousie 

One of the oldest cafes in Dalhousie, Cafe Dalhousie offers the most scenic views, rustic charm of the olden times and savoury dishes. 

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What to eat: Dosa, Filter coffee, Pancakes

Address: MDR49, Moti Tiba, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh 176304

Cost for two: 100 INR ($1.30)

  1. Tiffins Restaurant 

One of the best fine-dines in Dalhousie, Tiffins Restaurant offers a buffet, a well-stocked bar and a gastronomic delight. 

What to eat:  Freshly brewed coffee, Indian, Breakfast Buffet 

Address: Major District Road, 49, Moti Tiba, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh 176304 

Cost for two: 2000 INR ($26.60)

  1. The Kettle House  

Featuring unique decor, The Kettle House serves great food, a pleasing ambience and a fulfilling dining experience. 

What to eat: Shahi Tukda, Puri Bhaji, Upma, Italian Food 

Address: Moti Tiba, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh 176304

Cost for two: 2000 INR ($26.60)

Must-visit restaurants/cafes in Shimla 

  1. Himachali Rasoi 

The only restaurant in Shimla that serves the true taste of Himachal. The traditional dishes are served ornately while preserving their authenticity and rich taste. 

What to eat: Himachali Dham, Kangri Thali, Siddu 

Address: 54, Mall Rd, Middle Bazar, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001

Cost for two: 500 INR ($6.60)

  1. Cafe Simla Times 

Cafe Simla Times features an open terrace with a bar and a bakery. Accented with vibrant decor, the cafe boasts a big menu. 

What to eat: Wood-fired pizzas, Humus, Burrito 

Address: Hotel Willow Banks, Mall Rd, near Tourism lift, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001

Cost for two: 350 INR ($4.65)

  1. Ashiana & Goofa 

One of the most craftily designed spaces, Ashiana & Goofa is a mix of traditional and contemporary taste in its interior and menu. 

What to eat: Sepu Vadi, Chana Madra, Anardana Chicken 

Address: Rivoli To, Ridge, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001

Cost for two: 1000 INR ($13.30)

 

All the major tourist cities in Himachal Pradesh are crammed with cafes, diners and restaurants. The multi-cultural influence is reflected in traditional Himachali delicacies along with the plethora of world-cuisine options. 

It is impossible to enlist all the best eateries in Himachal Pradesh in one article, there are hundreds of unexplored hidden gems in the streets of Himachal Pradesh. You will find some of the most authentic food joints hidden in a corner, serving the best food. 

A food tour to Himachal Pradesh is incomplete without tasting its street food, traditional dishes and multi-cuisine fusion cafes.