So, you have landed in Ladakh. You have gone around the mountains and feasted your eyes. You had your share of lovely sights of Himalayas. How about satisfying your taste buds now?
Leh is the best place to explore. Traditional Tibetan fare is now offered along with international cuisine in this small mountain town. Leh seems to moving in the direction of a Gourmet's paradise in years to come.
We are gourmets and look for opportunities to explore local cuisine. These are the ten places you should feast while in Ladakh. Some we have eaten in. Thanks to some of our friends who have shared their favourite places in Leh.
Here is the list. Like Ladakhis say "Shelak nye po nang ko!"
For a quick authentic Ladakhi breakfast of khambir (leavened bread) with homemade khakla (butter) and fresh apricot preserve, jo labuk or tang tur, a sort of raita with veggies, smoky tsampa with apricot or Leh berry juice and gur gur cha or butter tea (free) head to this small place on Fort road. The other branches in town do not serve breakfast.
Open Hand Cafe
If you have been to their outlets in Varanasi and Kochi, you know where to go in Ladakh. This is a typically "chilled out" place in a large garden where you can actually see vegetables being grown. Check out for piece of chocolate cake. Try their pancakes filled generously with chocolate, banana, apricot cream or apple crumble or any of their breakfast selections, from yoghurt muesli to toast, sausages and eggs.
If you are looking for a Kashmiri meal in Ladakh, search no further. Being Veggies, we had to be content with Dum Aloo and Rotis. But our Non Veg freinds say you get best Roghan Josh here in Leh.
You go here for sheer ambience and snacks. Beautifully restored Ladakhi house, you are greeted by a nine foot statue of Maitreya. Behind the cafe, you can see Leh palace. Feast on Gur Gur cha while munching on local Ladakhi dishes or Italian pastas.
The fine dining choice of Leh. This one is in Changspa. It is quite hidden. But once you get to it, you will like its minimalist Ladakhi architecture. It has a nice view of mountains. Our friends recommend Cashew Chicken in Pesto sauce. We loved chocolate Momos and Jungle tea!
You cannot come out of Leh without tasting the best Tibetan cuisine in town. Go for "Tibetan Hot pot" or "Gyakko". A traditional Tibetan barbeque, this has to be pre ordered a day before and make sure there are four hungry souls to share this! Gyakko can be either vegetarian or Non Vegetarian. If you are not lucky to eat Gyakko, then you have wide variety of Tibetan cuisine to choose from.
Tenzin Dickey Tibetan Restaurant
A vegetarian Tibetan hub. Unpretentious. Another nice place to enjoy Tibetan cuisine in town. Savour the steaming cheese and potato fried momos.
Possibly the best Chinese and Thai fare in town so much so that you need to go there early to get a table. Try depenadale chilli Garlic Noodles with their fries - Veg or chicken or Mutton - with Thai red curry.
At the tail end of Changspa road is this vegetarian establishment. A small alcove with popular fiction and books left over by tourists is inviting to turn a page or two while soaking the view of Shanti Stupa. The place has best pizza in town apart from regular Indian, Continental fare.
We did not want to leave this out. You go here for its chilled out atmosphere. This is a local institution. Come here for breakfast or just to munch on Cinnamon rolls, Apple Pie and wash it Coffee.
This was our list. What has been your experience? Please do share and let us know if you have discovered any new place to eat in Leh.
You may also be interested to read the following interesting posts on Ladakh in this blog. Please click on links below.
10 things to do in Ladakh you haven't done before!
Ladakh Diaries 1 - Manali to Leh, Day One
If you are looking for all posts on Ladakh, you may click here.
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