Come October 23-24, the scenic hills of Shillong will rev up for another edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender music festival. While in the city to enjoy performances by some of India’s finest music talent, you might want to savour the adventurous local delicacies found in lesser-known nondescript spots that are sinful to miss by all codes of gluttony.
"Hangne ngi die Sha bad Ja — watch out for this sign board if you are hoping to catch local delicacies in and around Shillong city and places in the Khasi Hills, Meghalaya," says Raisa Daimary, senior communications associate, North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) in Shillong. "It translates to ‘Here we sell tea and rice.’ People of Meghalaya belong to a rice-eating culture and rice here |is synonymous with food," she informs.
Food stalls in and around Shillong that serve Garo and Khasi (indigenous tribes) food are aplenty. "By lunch time, you will only have to follow your nose to find one," she says.
Jadohsnam. Pics courtesy/Nesfas
The food is always laid out buffet style. Prices are very low, and in most cases you will walk out with a full stomach for under Rs 100.
Jadoh and Jastem
The guide’s favourite picks
Safe to eat:
>> Ja Stem (Yello Rice) : This local rice cooked with turmeric, onion and ginger juice.
>> Doh Khleh Syiar (Chicken Salad) : Chicken pieces mixed with raw onion (or spring onions) and ginger pieces, boiled eggs (optional). This dish is served cold.
>> Doh Thad Kylla (Smoked meat) This dish is fried with onion and chili over a traditional kitchen fire, which gives the meat a typical smokey flavour and helps preserve it.
For the brave who don’t visualise
>> Ja Doh snam (Meat rice with blood): Rice with pork or chicken stock, meat pieces, ginger juice, onion and the blood of either pig or chicken.
>> Doh Khleh Sniang (Pig head salad): Parts of pig’s head (boiled overnight) mixed with raw onion (or chives) and ginger pieces (served cold). Many places use regular pork meat instead of the head so ask before you eat.
>> Tungrungbai (Fermented soybean): This dish is similar to the pungent akhuni of Nagaland. The soyabean is cooked slowly over wood fire/charcoal, with garlic, chilli, black sesame paste and pork fat. (Vegetarian versions are available as well).
If you don’t fancy these spots, a few reputed options
>> Jadoh: Don Bosco Square, Laitumkhrah, Shillong-3, Meghalaya.
>>Little Chef: Laitumkhrah Main Road, Shillong 3, Meghalaya (continental restaurant that serves local specials).
On: October 23-24, 2015
At: Shillong, Meghalaya
For details long on to: www.nh7.in/weekender/shillong
TIP: We suggest some of the "safe-to-eat dishes" and some adventurous ones, which are common to both Garos and Khasis.
Did you know
Most tribes in Meghalaya follow the matrilineal system. According to this system, social power is with women and they are the primary inheritors of property.
The beautiful town of Sohra, just over 50 km away from Shillong, has the record of receiving the maximum rainfall in a year and is considered one of the wettest places on earth.
How to reach Shillong?
A view of Police Bazar in Shillong. Pic courtesy/Aparajita
There are direct flights from Mumbai to the scenic Shillong airport covering a distance of 2,770 km.
On NH7 Weekender Shillong’s playlist
Watch out for these bands Imphal Talkies, Papon, Lou Majaw and friends Streetstories
Log on to: www.bookmyshow.com