Mizoram is a mysterious land with hidden wonders, a treasure that needs to be acknowledged and preserved. The first-hand accounts of the state of Mizoram are rare. A world of contradictions, it is unpretentious, remote, and yet—modern and ‘accessible’. Cramped with hills that roll across for hundreds of miles, covered mostly with lush forests and dominated by thick bamboo groves, green paddy fields, admirable vineyards, teeming vibrant wildlife, sheer cliffs and serene lakes and waterfalls, Mizoram is the home to nearly two million people, many of whom remain cut off from the rest of the world, this largely inaccessible and overlooked state is sandwiched between the mighty Himalayan foothills and the plateau of Meghalaya in the far north-eastern corner of India. If you’re looking for a quite, carefree holiday, getting up-close-and-personal with unique folklores or experiencing a dramatic sea of morning mists unfold, it is a destination worth your while.
For non-vegetarians visiting Mizoram, food can be a big attraction as Mizo cuisine offers mainly non-vegetarian delicacies. Rice is the staple food of Mizos and the main non-vegetarian item is fish and pork. Mizo chawmeh, meaning Mizoram food, is tinted with the influence of Chinese and North Indian cuisines. Creating a perfect blend of subtle flavours and pungent ingredients, Mizo food casts its net over widespread tastes. Since the Mizo population make extensive use of boiling and steaming techniques in preparation, their food is characteristically healthy. They make little or no use of oil and if there’s any oil used at all, it is always mustard. A staple Mizo diet always contains fish and rice in it. Mizos are so skewed towards non-vegetarian ways that they add meat to most vegetarian dishes as well. They have their own versions of salads and chutneys. Mizos make extensive use of bamboo shoots and avocados in their food. The food is served in banana leaves maintaining their age-old traditions. Mizo food is reflective of the inventive and original lifestyle of its people. Filled with sapidity and allure, it is not only enticing but highly rich and imaginative.
Due to its location between Bangladesh and Burma, the locals cook with jungle produce – leaves, roots, nuts and mushrooms. This gives their cuisine a unique identity. Locals also grow edible plants in small kitchen gardens, giving a absolute new concept of farm-to-table concept. Sa-um (fermented pork fat) is frequently added to vegetable dishes. Locals dry and smoke their meat and vegetable produces dawlrep (dried taro plant), bamboo shoot, lengser, khanghu rep, dried Yam leaves to ensure easy availability regardless of any season.
Typical food habit, dance forms, attires, and local music add zing to the overall cultural panorama of Mizoram and tend to be a great deal for any travel enthusiast who would love to taste off beaten. The food of Mizoram can be seen as a mixture of North Indian and Chinese elements. This blend gives it a unique taste and will make you remember your meal long after you’ve eaten it. Mostly, the food preparations here are non-vegetarian. However, they also consume their fair share of fresh vegetables along with their meals. Here are some of the famous exotic culinary dishes of Mizoram which you must not miss on your voyage to this beautiful state.
Sanpiau: If you are a street food fan, then you cannot miss out on this Mizo snack. It’s cooked with rice porridge and is plated up with fresh coriander paste, spring onions, crushed black pepper, fish sauce and finely powdered rice.
Bai: This popular Mizo dish is made of steamed vegetables along with pork, spinach and bamboo shoot, and spiced with local herbs. Though it’s mostly prepared with pork sauce (made out of pork and mustard), its vegetarian version has cauliflower stalks, florets, potatoes, beans, chillies and cooked rice. Bai is one of the most easily available dishes in Mizoram.
This is another mouth watering dish where the main component is the chicken. Chicken is at first taken in whole and then roasted in an open fire. After that it is taken out of the fire and then mixed with local herbs and sticky rice and made into a delicious meal.
Vawksa Rep: Looking for soft, tender meat that falls off the bone? Your search will end at Vawksa Rep, Mizoram’s favorite smoked pork dish. Every North Eastern state has a different way of cooking pork, but this Mizo dish will blow you away with its earthy flavors of chilies, local herbs and fresh leafy greens that complement the pork.
Chhum Han: It is a popular vegetarian dish which is made with mixed steam vegetables. It tastes the best when paired with rice. The nutritional dish is made with broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and ginger. This dish will surely make for a healthy treat!
Bamboo Shoot Fry: It is no secret that North-Eastern food makes adamant use of bamboo in their food. Mizo Bamboo Shoot Fry is only yet another evidence of north east’s affinity with bamboo. It is a light vegetarian snack that is extremely popular in Mizoram. It is made with fried bamboo tossed in herbs and spices. Sometimes it is added with shitake mushrooms and other vegetables. This one’s for all vegetarian lovers out there and is generally enjoyed in the evening along with tea.
Apart from these amazing dishes, Zu, the Mizo beer is made from fermented rice, millet or maize is of the three main grades- rakzu, zufang, zupui and zulawm- brewed by different groups of people for different occasions. The ‘Laphetauh’ or Burmese salad, which is prepared using green herbs, nuts, vegetables, is the most popular among the visitors. People also savour ‘Rotuai Bai’, a stew dish, part of a traditional Mizo Meal
The beverages make an important part of every meal in Mizoram. Another is the famous Zawlaidi grape wine that is a favorite among locals. If you are planning to visit Mizoram, do try these special delicacies that make an integral part of the state. The zesty flavors and fragrances of the unique herbs and other ingredients, and the usage of local vegetables in other traditional cuisines of Mizoram have already carved out a niche for themselves with its contrasting tastes, and have become popular among people from all across the globe; a destination worth your while carrying its flavorful ethnic taste and culture.