Nagaland is known for its cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity. The state boasts a rich socio-cultural heritage comprising several local tribes, each having their own distinct ethnic traditions. The northeastern state is also a favourite destination for nature lovers because of its diverse flora and fauna, forests, splendid valleys and waterfalls.
Nagaland also has its own unique cuisines which are rich in flavour and represent the food culture of different tribal groups.
Naga cuisine is based on the local produce that has been available to tribes. It mostly includes fish, meat, rice, herbs, vegetables and fermented grains. The food is definitely different than what you are used to so you may rethink trying, but there are many dishes which are delicious and worth trying at least once.
To understand Naga cuisine and what a common resident consumes, you can visit the Central Market in Kohima. The market will offer you a glimpse into the exotic Naga tribal food items like mefi (wriggling hornet grubs), frogs, silkworms, snails, crabs, dried fish and pork, among others. The market also offers exotic condiments such as dried and fermented bamboo shoots, fiery king chillies and plethora of vegetables as well as a variety of leaves, which are intergral to Naga cuisine.
A routine Naga meal will include rice, pork or any other meat, fish, boiled or steamed vegetables and side dishes like a variety of chutney or pickles.
Axone, fermented soybean paste, is an important part of Naga cuisine. Axone, also known as Akhuni, is used in a variety of preparations like pickles, chutneys, curries and non-veg dishes.
Axone is used in the preparation of pork, fish, chicken or beef dishes. What makes it special, is the burst of flavours which are very distinct.
The local rice beer, Zutho, and fermented fish chutney are the common accompaniments with most Naga meals.
Originally published at www.news18.com