Must-Have Local Delicacies In Arunachal Pradesh

From traditional staples like rice and millet to exotic delicacies such as fermented meat and bamboo shoots, Arunachali cuisine offers a tantalising journey for the adventurous food lover
Traditional Arunachali food
Traditional Arunachali foodShutterstock

Arunachal Pradesh is a land of diverse cultures, known for its scenic landscapes and unique culinary traditions. The cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh is as diverse as its topography, reflecting the rich culture of the numerous tribes inhabiting the region. From aromatic rice dishes to exotic meats, here's a glimpse into the unique food of Arunachal Pradesh.


Apong served in a traditional bowl
Apong served in a traditional bowlWikipedia

Apong, also known as rice beer, holds a significant place in the social and cultural fabric of Arunachal Pradesh. Brewed by various tribes using traditional methods, Apong is made from fermented rice or millet. It is often served during festivals, rituals, and social gatherings.



Zan is a traditional porridge-like dish made from millet or rice flour, cooked with water to a thick consistency. It is a staple food among the Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, enjoyed with various side dishes such as fermented soybean paste or spicy chutneys. Zan provides nourishment and sustenance, particularly in the mountainous regions where harsh winters prevail.

Bamboo Shoots

Dry bamboo shoot, shredded and dried under the sun to dehydrate all the moisture from the shoots
Dry bamboo shoot, shredded and dried under the sun to dehydrate all the moisture from the shootsShutterstock

Bamboo shoots are special in Arunachali cuisine, finding their way into numerous dishes. Whether pickled, fermented or used fresh, bamboo shoots add a distinctive flavour and texture to various recipes. They are often combined with smoked meats, chilli, and indigenous herbs to create tantalising dishes that reflect the region's culinary heritage.

Pika Pila

Pika Pila is a traditional dish of the Apatani tribe, made by fermenting meat (usually pork or beef) with green leaves, herbs, and spices. The meat is tightly packed in bamboo tubes and left to ferment for several days, resulting in a unique and spicy flavour. It is typically served during special occasions like festivals, showcasing the culinary expertise of the Adi people.


Marua, or finger millet, is a nutritious cereal grain commonly grown in Arunachal Pradesh. It makes various dishes, including porridge, pancakes, and snacks. Marua ki roti, a flatbread made from finger millet flour, is a popular breakfast item, often served with homemade butter or spicy chutneys.

Smoked Meat

Smoking meat is a traditional preservation method practised by many tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. Various types of meat, such as pork, beef, and wild game, are smoked over open fires or using bamboo, imparting a smoky flavour. This preserved meat is used in curries, stews, and stir-fries, adding depth and richness to the dishes.



Thukpa, a soul-warming noodle soup, is a favourite comfort food in Arunachal Pradesh, especially during chilly winters. Unlike the Tibetan or Nepali versions, 'Arunachali Thukpa' often incorporates indigenous herbs, meats, and vegetables. It's a hearty dish made with hand-pulled noodles, flavourful broth, and chunks of meat (often yak or pork), topped with fresh greens and herbs.


A traditional serving of Momos
A traditional serving of MomosShutterstock

While momos are popular across India, the version found in Arunachal Pradesh offers a unique twist. Here, momos are typically larger in size and filled with ingredients ranging from minced meat (pork, chicken, or yak) to locally grown vegetables like bamboo shoots. These dumplings are then steamed or fried and served with fiery chilli sauce, reflecting the region's love for spicy flavours.

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