Dilli Haat: Cuisine from North East India

Dilli Haat is a  permanent, open-air food and handicraft market which is open throughout the day, everyday and is one of the major attractions of the national capital. From a foodie's point of view, the variety of food items available from the local cuisines of different parts of India makes it a food lover's paradise.

Through stalls of almost every state, Dilli Haat brings about a concept of Food Bazaar in which one can roam around and choose the best dishes from every state to fill his/her stomach. From the Kashmiri Wazwaan to the Idlis of Tamil Nadu and Pooranpoli of Maharasthra to Momos of Arunachal, it is all under one big market. Enticed to try everything at once, we started with the North East Indian cuisine.

Other than Tripura and Mizoram, the other states have put up stalls that are functional and overseen by the respective state authorities. Unable to eat every item, we sampled a few which we thought definitely took the cake.

Nagaland Stall
Stall No 19

The Nagaland stall is the biggest and grandest of the North East Indian stalls at Dilli Haat. It is always crowded and the waiters pay little or no heed to the customers if they are seated far off. They serve a variety of dishes with the Raja Mircha chutney, better known as the Ghost Chilli Paste and the Akhuni Chutney which is made of soya and garlic.

Pork Ribs
Pork Ribs

We tasted their famed Pork Ribs and Chilli Fried Prawns. The Pork Ribs were well done, extremely crispy on the outer layer and fibrous inside. The ribs were cut up nicely into two huge pieces which were sliced with a layer of fat on top and some meat towards the bottom. It was served along with a chilli paste which added some spice to the not so bland smoked ribs.

Chilli Fried Prawns
Chilli Fried Prawns

The Chilli Fried Prawns were de-veined and cleaned and served on sticks. The coating was extremely thin and the marination had seeped in making it pretty tasty.

Meghalaya Stall
Stall No 5

The Meghalaya cuisine here is famous for the Doh Syiar Khleh, a chicken salad and Wak Bijak which is a bamboo shoot pork curry. The Doh Syiar Khleh is a bland salad with boneless chicken pieces, egg white and vegetables with salt and pepper added for taste.

Doh Syiar Khleh
Doh Syiar Khleh

The Wak Bijak was better, cooked in what seemed like pork fat, the pork was made in thick dark gravy with an earthy taste of sesame seed. It tasted wonderfully with the plain rice.

Wak Bijak with Rice
Wak Bijak with Rice

The Meghalaya stall has some sort of feud with the Momo Mia - Arunachal Pradesh stall and though these are right in front of each other they refused to serve food on the other's table.

Assam Stall
Stall No 23

At the Assam stall, one can order a variety of thalis and beverages. Known for its famous tea, we ordered the Assam tea to go along with Pabda Curry and rice. Pabda, a river fish from the Ganges is cleaned and made into a semi spicy thick gravy. The Assamese preparation of fish curry is not entirely different from that of West Bengal with excess of turmeric, jeera and onion paste being used to make thick curries.

Assam Tea
Assam Tea

Pabda Curry with Rice
Pabda Curry with Rice


Sikkim Stall
Stall No 11

The Sikkimese stall served authentic Sikkimese Noodles, which sparked our interest. However, we soon found out that other than an extra pinch of turmeric, these noodles tasted pretty much same as compared to the Noodles served in other places.

Sikkimese Chicken Noodles
Sikkimese Chicken Noodles


Arunachal Pradesh Stall
Stall No 6

The Arunachal Pradesh stall, also known as Momo Mia is right opposite the Meghalaya stall and makes fantastic non-alcoholic fruit and lime beers. They sell both steamed and fried varieties of momos, served with a vegetable broth to enhance the taste. The momo skins are a bit too thick but the meat juice had seeped in extremely well making it a delight for everyone. Their thukpa is another dish worth trying. A spicy meat broth with noodles and other vegetables, the thukpa is primarily a tibetan noodle soup.

Fruit Beers
Fruit Beers

Steamed Momos at Momo Mia
Steamed Momos at Momo Mia

Fried Momos at Momo Mia
Fried Momos at Momo Mia

Pork Thukpa at Momo Mia
Pork Thukpa at Momo Mia

Manipur Stall
Stall No 12

The Manipur stall was a bit of a disappointment. We had heard about their famous snail curry, Tarai Thong, which is very popular among the people of Manipur but unfortunately neither that nor Ngou Thong, which is a spicy fish curry, was available. The restaurant manager informed us that since these dishes aren't frequently eaten, they prepare it only by order.

Eromba
Eromba

They do prepare Eromba, which is a mixture of bamboo shoots and dried fish. The dish lets out a bad odour owing to the dried fish, but tastes extremely good when had with rice. The Pork Momos of the Manipur stall weren't very good, the meat had let out oil which tasted horribly with every bite of the steamed momos.

Steamed Pork Momos
Steamed Pork Momos

Address : Sri Aurobindo Marg,
West Kidwai Nagar, Next to INA Metro Station
Delhi


20 comments:

  1. This is one of the most insightful commentaries on Dilli Haat that I've read so far. Almost transported me to the cosy corner of this wonderful place, to where the North Eastern stalls are and from where, one also had the ubiquitous wafting of Bengal delicacies, courtesy Bijoli Grill. Thank you Sabby'da...this is truly a reader's treat. Keep writing...keep sharing!

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    1. This post is by Soumabha, our Foodaholix based in Delhi.

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    2. Thanks! Then my last line should read ... Thank you Sabby'da (for sharing)...this is truly a reader's treat. Keep writing Soumabha ...keep sharing! :-)

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    3. Thank you Mr. Ganguli for your wonderful comments :)

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  2. Great writeup and photos! Ill try the Meghalaya stall when I'm in the area next. Somehow, I skip everything and head for the Nagaland stall every time. Also check out Rosang at NCC gate (Green Park metro, Gurudwara exit) for some great, home-style Manipuri and Mizo dishes). Cheers.

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    1. Thanks FGFH, I'll be sure to checkout Rosang for the Manipuri and Mizo dishes :)

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  3. Thanks for bringing back so many happy memories of this place!

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    1. Yes, Dilli Haat is quite special in terms of the variety of food, which come from all over India.

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  4. Whoa! Mouth watering varieties!
    Wish we had something similar in Bangalore.

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    1. I heard there is a good North East Indian joint opposite Jyoti Nivas College in Koramangla. They have a nicely homely atmosphere and the food is pretty good.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, the pictures were taken by my friend and fellow foodie Naman Varshney.

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  6. Lovely pictures! It is one of my favorites places in Delhi.

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    1. Yes, Dilli Haat is definitely one of the places I would recommend north east indian food lovers to go to.

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  7. mouth watering !! I really miss being in the North East after reading this

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    1. Thanks, the pictures were taken by my friend and fellow foodie Naman Varshney.

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  8. Nice write up... and pictures... Never went to Dilli Hut when I was at Noida... definitely shall visit this place next time. Though I am lucky enough to try some of this in Assam. Really miss those days ....

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  9. Very well written. Delhi Haat always remains my favourite. Masor tenga paired with khorisa chutney at Assam Stall is a must try! However, one cannot ignore the luci an alu bhaji either!

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    1. The stalls seem to have cut short on some of their items. I had read about some delicacies like Tarai Thong (Snail meat) served in the Manipur stall but was disappointed when they told that they have been discontinued due to drop in sales.

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