Welcome to a culinary exploration of Nagaland, a land brimming with rich cultural traditions and a vibrant gastronomic heritage.
In this blog, we delve into the famous food of Nagaland, unravelling the flavors and culinary treasures that make this region a paradise for food lovers. From the tangy delights of Axone to the comforting warmth of smoked meats, Nagaland’s cuisine offers a unique and unforgettable culinary experience.
Prepare to tantalize your taste buds and immerse yourself in the world of Nagaland’s famous food.
List of 18 Famous Foods of Nagaland
01. Samathu – Pork Based Nagaland dish
“This is a traditional non-vegetarian dish from Nagaland, where pork meat takes center stage. Originating from the Sema/Sumi district of the Sema tribe in Nagaland, Samathu is a delectable and spicy pork curry with a delightful smoky flavor.
Samathu stands out as one of the unique culinary treasures in Nagaland’s cuisine. The dish features tender smoked pork, slow-cooked with a medley of aromatic spices at a low temperature.
What sets Samathu apart is the distinctive taste imparted by the inclusion of bamboo shoot vinegar. Served alongside rice and ginger chutney, Samathu forms an integral part of a traditional Nagaland meal. For pork enthusiasts seeking a delightful twist in their culinary adventures, Samathu is a must-try dish that promises to tantalize the taste buds.”
02. Hinkejvu- Coclocasis Based Naga Dish
This is a famous vegetarian dish from Nagaland, featuring a flavorful combination of colocasia and beans curry. Known for its health benefits, this veggie delight stands out as one of the healthiest foods in Nagaland’s culinary repertoire.
Prepared with a variety of vegetables, this leafy dish incorporates cabbage leaves, colocasia, mustard leaves, and French beans. Hinkeju, as it is called, is a simple and easy-to-cook dish. The vegetables are boiled together with salt and chillies, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors.
Hinkeju holds immense popularity in Nagaland, finding its place in every household as a staple part of their daily routine. I am confident that this humble dish will gratify your taste buds and leave you craving for more.”
03. Axone- Fermented dish from
Axone, also known as Akhuni, derives its name from the Sumi dialect, which is spoken by the popular Sumi tribe of Nagaland. In the Sumi dialect, ‘Axone’ means ‘strong aroma’ or ‘deep smell’. This ingredient holds significant importance in Nagaland’s cuisine.
Axone is primarily made from soybeans, which are abundantly found in Nagaland and are an excellent source of protein. The preparation of Axone involves fermenting fresh soybeans. The process includes boiling the soybeans and allowing them to ferment for a period of 7-8 days, resulting in a pungent-smelling product.
The uniqueness of Axone lies in its fermented soybean paste, which is widely used to enhance the flavors of various dishes in Nagaland’s cuisine. While Naga cuisine predominantly features meat, pork, and fish dishes, this fermented soybean paste adds a distinct taste and aroma to the preparations.
Not only popular among the Sumi tribe, but Axone is also embraced by other tribes across Nagaland. In addition to its use in various dishes, this paste finds its way into making pickles and chutneys. With its strong and memorable flavors, Axone has become an iconic food of Nagaland and the entire Northeast region
Amrusu, a renowned rice porridge, is a highly nutritious and protein-rich dish that holds a special place in the culinary traditions of local tribes, particularly the AO tribe. Considered their signature dish, Amrusu showcases the unique flavors of the region.
This delectable food is prepared using rice and bamboo shoots. However, bamboo shoots can also be substituted with chicken, dried fish, or prawns to cater to different preferences. In Nagaland’s cuisine, spices are used sparingly, and the emphasis is on boiling or steaming cooking methods.
The process of making Amrusu involves soaking rice in water while simultaneously boiling chicken with bamboo shoot juice. Subsequently, the rice is ground and combined with the chicken, creating a delightful blend. The mixture is then cooked with salt and chilies, resulting in a hot and soupy dish that is ready to be savored.
Galho Khichdi is a beloved dish from Nagaland’s cuisine that holds a special place in the hearts of locals, particularly the Angami tribe, who are believed to be the original creators of this culinary masterpiece. This flavorful khichdi showcases a harmonious blend of vegetables, green leaves, rice, and optional meat.
An authentic Galho Khichdi experience is incomplete without the addition of fermented soybeans, locally known as axons, which add a unique depth of flavor. Variations of this dish may also incorporate fermented bamboo shoots, further enhancing its taste profile.
Simplicity is at the heart of Galho Khichdi, as all the ingredients are cooked together in a single pot, seasoned with salt, ginger-garlic paste, and chilies. Bursting with nutrition from the leafy vegetables, this wholesome dish is enjoyed for lunch and dinner, offering a satisfying and healthy culinary experience.
06. Bamboo Steamed Fish
Another delightful dish from Nagaland that showcases the use of bamboo shoots is prepared by cooking fish in bamboo tubes. This unique cooking method involves marinating the fish and placing it inside a bamboo tube. The dish is then cooked using smoke, imparting a distinct and unforgettable flavor.
The smoky cooking technique not only infuses the fish with a delightful aroma but also enhances its taste, creating a culinary experience that lingers in the memory.
The use of bamboo tubes adds a touch of tradition and authenticity to this dish, reflecting the resourcefulness of Nagaland’s culinary heritage. Prepare to savor the tantalizing flavors that result from this remarkable cooking style.
07. Nashi Shi Lon
Nashi Shi Lion, also known as Sukha Mangso, is a non-vegetarian chutney that tantalizes the taste buds with its rich flavors. This delectable chutney is made using smoked beef, which is roasted over an open flame, infusing it with a delightful smoky essence.
In addition to the smoked beef, tomatoes and chilies are also roasted and pounded in a mortar, creating a fragrant and spicy base. The roasted chicken is then shredded and mixed with the pounded ingredients, resulting in a traditional and lip-smacking chutney that graces the tables of households across Nagaland.
Prepare to savor the robust and savory flavors of Nashi Shi Lion, a chutney that embodies the culinary heritage of Nagaland and adds a delightful twist to your dining experience.
If you are a dog lover, then this may come as unfortunate news to you. Dog meat, also known as bushmeat, is consumed in Nagaland, a state in India. Alongside beef and chicken, bushmeat holds a significant place in the local cuisine of Nagaland. The popularity of this dish among the locals is noteworthy, as they exhibit a strong affinity for its unique flavours.
For those curious to try bushmeat, Dimapur is the place to be, as it is relatively easy to find this delicacy at the Wednesday Market. However, it’s important to note that the consumption of dog meat may be a sensitive subject for some individuals due to cultural, ethical, and animal welfare concerns.
09. Akini Chokibo
“Akini Chakini Chokibo” is a non-vegetarian delicacy hailing from Nagaland, where the main ingredient is “snail meat.” The name of the dish derives from the local language, where “akini” refers to perilla seeds and “chokibo” means snails.
Perilla seeds come from the Silam plant and are cooked together with snails to create this authentic Nagaland specialty.
Apart from snails and perilla seeds, variations of this dish may incorporate pork and fermented soybeans, adding an additional layer of flavors. With its unique combination of ingredients, “Akini Chakini Chokibo” showcases the diverse culinary heritage of Nagaland, offering a taste experience that is both distinctive and delightful.
10. Pork Curry
Curry dish based on Pork from Nagaland. This special pork curry dish is made of fermented bamboo or soybean with spices. It is consumed with hot rice.
11. Rosep Aon
This is a mixed vegetable dish. This is a Traditional food of Nagaland. It is made of dried fish, vegetables, and Bamboo shoots. Rosep means “dry” and Aon refer to “dish”.
12. Crabs Cakes
Surprised, yes it is a crab cake. It is a Traditional dish of Nagaland. Crabmeat with some other herbs is used with the cake ingredient. This delicious sweet dish is quite distinct and amazing.
13. Raja Mircha (Bhut Jolokia ) Pickle
This pickle holds a truly extraordinary status, standing out as a unique creation worldwide. Made from the renowned “Naga Morich” chili, also known as “Bhut Jolokia,” it harnesses the fiery heat of the world’s hottest chili pepper.
The Naga Morich is skillfully blended with cumin, mustard, fennel, and an array of spices. Once ground and mixed, this spicy pickle is left to ferment in the sunlight, further enhancing its flavors.
14. Ghost Chilli sauce
This is the spiciest sauce in the world. The sauce is made of the world’s hottest chilli, “Bhut Jholakia”. That is found in Nagaland.
This famous sauce is prepared with other ingredients like garlic, onions, and Other herbs.
It is served as a side dish with launch, dinner, or breakfast. So, are you ready to taste it?
15. Pumpkin Oambal
Another chutney hailing from Naga cuisine is made with pumpkin as its main ingredient. This delectable condiment also includes tamarind, Naga Mirch, mustard, and other flavorful ingredients. It is commonly enjoyed alongside pork dishes, complementing the rich flavours of the meat.
This chutney holds a significant place in the culinary traditions of Nagaland and is renowned as a famous delicacy in the region.
Another spice-free delicacy in Nagaland’s cuisine is centered around the main ingredient, colocasia. In Nagaland, both colocasia and pork are widely cherished and form popular food ingredients, greatly enjoyed by the Naga people.
This dish, created by the Sema community, is remarkably simple and easy to prepare. The flavorful, thick gravy of this oil-free dish is cooked in a single pot after boiling the colocasia.
It is traditionally prepared with mustard leaf and salt, and is typically enjoyed alongside rice and non-vegetarian pickle, such as Samuthu. Alternatively, some variations of this dish incorporate bamboo shoots or pork for added depth and variety.
Zutho is the Local alcoholic drink of Nagaland. It is the local beer of the State. Zutho is made with fermented rice. It’s not only famous in the state, but all over the north-east as well. This beer is most popular among Angami Nagas.
18. Black Sticky Rice
If you are looking for dessert in Naga Cuisine, this dish is for you. Black sticky rice pudding. This sweet dish is prepared along with dry fruits.
Nagaland, a northeastern state of India bordering Myanmar, Bhutan, and China, boasts a fondness for tangy cuisine. It is home to the world’s hottest chili, “Bhut Jholkiya,” enjoyed as chutney and sauce. Boiled vegetables, bamboo shoots, and meat combinations are popular, while fermented soybeans (“Akhuni”) add flavor to various dishes.
For health-conscious individuals seeking oil-free options, Nagaland’s cuisine is worth exploring.
In this list, we have compiled the 18 most famous foods of Nagaland, a region known for its diverse culinary heritage. With over sixteen tribes residing in Nagaland, each tribe possesses its unique culture and dietary traditions. Consequently, every Naga dish exhibits distinct variations across different tribes, offering a delightful array of flavours and culinary experiences.