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Ask any Chef worth his salt, and he will tell you that 2016 belongs to regional food. And when it comes to Bengaluru, it has been proven time and again that apart from local cuisines, other Indian states have also found their piece of the pie in the city. Northeastern cuisine is one such category that, over time, has won over people’s palates and hearts. And while the city is particularly fond of Naga food, there are a few places where you can try the milder Axomi food as well. Here is where you can find some delicious Northeastern food in the city.
The Ants Café, Indiranagar
While The Ants Café’s menu focuses on popular café food, every now and then they host a northeastern food festival that is totally worth checking out. What you get at the time is basically a melange of popular northeastern food, and includes dishes from Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, and Assam. Sometimes, they host promotions that focus on specific states as well, Nagaland being one of them for instance. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to know the next date.
Axomi – Taste of Assam, Koramangala
When in doubt, order a thali. And that policy works really well at Axomi. The meal comes with dal, vegetables (which change frequently), the famous aloo pitika, and a few fries on the side. The non-vegetarian thali is divided into egg, fish, chicken, pork, duck, and mutton. If you want to go À la carte, try the muri ghonto (dal with fish head), chicken with bamboo shoots, pork fry or curry as well.
Chubalas Curry and Rice, Kammanahalli
What is Goan and Naga food doing on the same menu? We do not really care much though. Chubalas serves a decent range of Naga food and that makes us happy: from smoked pork cooked in bamboo shoots, Kohima-style paneer, and pork trotter soup to anishi curry, special Naga dal, and so on. And there are lots of different kinds of pork dishes to add to your plate. But to get a quick glimpse into this cuisine, a thali is the best way to go.
The Naga Chef, Koramangala
If you can eat meat and chillies and be happy, then this place is for you. And like most Naga joints, pork, fresh and smoked, is definitely the highlight here, and they are very specific too. So you will get pork with bamboo shoots, and pork with dry bamboo shoots as well. And their chutneys are a perfect match with everything. The Naga thali is again a good way to experience this cuisine.
Tanang Naga Restaurant, Hennur
It is a small place, and focuses mostly on meals that come with rice, dal, chutneys and vegetables that you can have with pork curry. Some of the more interesting features of the menu are the pork cooked with beans, smoked pork with yam (anishi), and roast pork cooked with tomatoes.
Gam’s Delicacy, Koramangala
Forget everything else you read on the menu and order an Assamese thali instead. It comes with the short grained Joha rice, a vegetable preparation, greens, dal with bamboo shoots, and some meat or fish (these need to be ordered separately). I particularly like the pork cooked with banana flowers.
Known for its Naga food, Zingron also has some Chinese, for effect I would think. Try the Zingron crispy pork, smoked pork with yam, fish with hanshi, pan-fried bitter gourd with bamboo shoots and sesame (hanshi). And if you love your meat hot, try the smoked pork that comes with a generous dose of bhoot jolokia chilli paste.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.