Food in Manali
Chandra passMany things move a destination from being a good place to visit to a great place to go to time and time again. From a comfortable stay, whether your prefer a budget hotel in Manali or a luxury resort, to sightseeing in Manali everything should come under your golden memories. I never tire of Manali because of the culinary delight it is. Great Food in Manali is a given and trying to list down a few here will be going a grave injustice to so many others but what the H#LL! The reader needs to be aware that this list is order agnostic and random and it comes with a statutory warning “NON VEG”.
First on my list is a small box made of planks of wood loosely nailed together, this box represents a family business. You need to get on a local bus from Manali to Kullu, and get off at Patlikul. At the Patlikul crossing you need to head on to the Naggar road. 50 meters down the road on your right is the above mentioned box. Step inside and sit on the bench, the inner wall are soot blackened and the place has a wonderful ambience and fragrance. It’s a momo/thupka place run by a Tibetan family. The key thing to great Momos in Manali is that they should be fresh and they should be hot. Only if these two conditions are fulfilled do you get a truly great momo. A great momo envelopes within it the melted fat of the meat that it’s made with. Chicken, Mutton and the glorious Pork momo should drip the melted fat as you bite into it. Similarly the small and large dots of fat float in the thupka and add their fragrance to the environment. This smell of melting fat with the garlic in water bottles on the table and the other herbs used make this place favourite for momos and thupka in the entire Manali valley.
For the less adventurous I would strongly recommend a visit to Chopsticks on the main Manali Mall, Chandra passopposite the entry to the bus stand. The Chinese and Tibetan food in Manali and specificly in Chopsticks comes with the statutory warning “Beware of the Huge Portions”. My hot favourite here is the America Chopsuoy, they don’t make in taste like crispy noodles smothered with tomato ketchup. It’s a more delicate affair where you can taste the different vegetables and the meat is juicy and fresh. Yummm! Another of my favourite here are the Khotey momos. Now the absolute worst thing you can do to a momo is fry it. That’s the death of a momo. But if you do like your momos fried then the Khotey momo is a pan seared version. Large juicy momo are shallow fried on a pan. Rather than fried I would describe them as browned on one side. While retaining the juicy nature of the momo the pan sear gives the outer shell a mild crispiness and that what makes Khotey momos a unique must have food in Manali.
During my Stay in Manali at The Strawberry Garden Cottages, which is one the budget hotels in Manali, I always like to go for a proper sit down meal with silver at The Johnson Hotel and Cafe is where I like to sit down with Silverware and Silver Fish. Actually it’s Himalayan Brown Trout but I could not resist the word play. Now the food in Johnson cafe is superb, the pizza here needs a special mention but I love to eat Trout here. They do a Garlic and Pepper Trout that simply melts in the mouth. And then they have a desert set to die for. I am always walking out of this place in a state of bliss. So always remember to try the Trout in Manali, its special. Old Manali has a great Cafe scene, eat and drink in the Hip and Hippy cafes to enjoy the best health food, Israeli food and fast food in Manali. There are a large number of great Indian food places in Manali and most of them are on the mall, the Sher-E-Punjab being a favourite of mine and the best way to end it is desert from one of the German bakeries or even better, A Softy cone on the mall.
By Rajesh Baruah
Best SeasonSep - June
LANGUAGESPahari, Hindi, English