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How Is Himalayan Food Different From Indian Food?

Many people must have heard about the Himalayas, but not all of us know what exactly countries are included in this mountainous region, as well as Himalayan cuisine.

In this article, we are going to compare Himalayan food with Indian food to see how they differ from each other and which cuisine is superior to the other.

Let’s get started!

What is special about Himalayan food?

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Ayla: A Feast of Nepali Dishes from Terai, Hills and Himalayas
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  • Shah, Santosh (Author)
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The Himalayan food is a cuisine that has mostly originated from Tibet and Nepal, but it can also be found in Bhutan or northeast India.

It mainly consists of the use of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic, and tomatoes to make different types of curries or soups.

One thing we noticed about this cuisine is how they tend to prefer using butter over oil when cooking their dishes, and meats are usually cooked on skewers rather than grilled directly on the grill with spices like most other cuisines.

Their diet is based on grains, dried vegetables, and dairy products which have a long shelf life and can act as sustenance to their families during harsh winters where fresh produce is difficult to come by.

They eat a lot of pork, beef, and especially wild meat like yak and its milk production.

In general, Himalayan food is considered healthier than many other cuisines in this continent or all over the world because it is lower in fat and made from a lot of vegetables.

What is special about Indian food?

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Thali: A Joyful Celebration of Indian Home Cooking
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Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines across the world.

It is special because of the spices.

There are many flavors that are tantalizing and rich, ranging from mild to very spicy.

Some popular condiments that can be found in any Indian kitchen are cinnamon, turmeric, curry powder, chili pepper, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and garam masala.

There are different regional styles of Indian cooking, varying from the north to the south, or the east to the west.

The inland diet is also different from the coastal areas, which consume a lot of seafood compared to meat-based meals in the central.

Rice, naan bread, and lentil soups are widely eaten throughout the country.

What are the differences between Indian food and Himalayan food?

Although northeast Indian cuisine is a part of Himalayan cuisine, there are still some key differences between Indian food in general and Himalayan food:

Indian food is spicier than Himalayan food

Indian food is reputed for being spicy due to its use of many hot spices like chili pepper, cinnamon, garlic, cardamom, cumin, or garam masala to name a few.

They also use these spices to add vibrant color to their dishes.

Himalayan food is also flavorful with various spices used in their cooking, but it is less likely to burn your mouth.

Indian cuisine uses more butter and sugar whereas Himalayan food nearly doesn’t include these ingredients

Another difference between Indian cuisine and Himalayan cuisine is that Indian food is creamy and sweeter because people here use more butter and sugar in their dishes.

This also makes Indian food heavier in texture and flavor, and less healthy than its Himalayan counterpart.

Himalayan people consume more momo than Indians

Momo is a kind of filled dumplings (usually meaty filling) that are native to the Himalayas region.

This dish can be served steamed or fried with some dipping sauce on the side.

On the other hand, Indian food is usually served with naan and rice more than dumplings.

Himalayans eat pork, beef, and yak, while Indians eat more chicken and lamb

Their meat options also differ from each other.

While pork and beef are forbidden in most parts of India due to their religious diet restrictions, these types of red meat are popular in Himalayan cuisine.

Himalayan people also consume a lot of yak meat, and Indians prefer chicken and lamb.

Himalayan food contains more pickled vegetables than Indians

Himalaya is well-known for its harsh winter.

The very cold weather is one of the crucial factors that affect their cuisine.

Himalayan people prefer to have a lot of pickles from different kinds of vegetables which last long and are great all year long.

Indian food is more popular than Himalayan food

In general, Indian food is more well-known in the world than Himalayan food.

You are likely to find Indian restaurants that serve authentic Indian food in many parts of the world outside India or even Asia.

Meanwhile, Himalayan food is often overlooked.

What are the similarities between Indian food and Himalayan food?

Indian food and Himalayan food also share several similarities besides being different from each other.

Below are what we find the two cuisines have in common:

Rice and flatbread are staples in both cuisines

Indian food and Himalayan food are often served with rice and flatbread.

These two dishes are popular in both regions because rice and wheat are the main crops in India and the Himalayas.

Rice is typically steamed, while flatbread is made by baking in the tandoori oven.

Their food is packed with many flavors from various spices

Both cuisines are popular for their use of spices.

There are a variety of spices used in Indian and Himalayan cooking, making their dishes very flavorful and a bit spicy than other cuisines.

Which one is better?

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Which cuisine is better? It’s hard to say definitively, but the two cuisines are vastly different from each other but also share many similarities because of a part of India and the surrounding countries like Nepal and Bhutan.

There is no clear winner here because both cuisines offer something unique in terms of their cooking methods, ingredients, and tastes.

It really comes down to personal preference on what you would like to eat more of when visiting the Himalayas or India.

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