The varieties of Meghalaya cuisine, though less known in the rest of India, have pristine flavours with the pure taste of nature and to look at this diversity of cuisine is sometimes an unfathomable proposition. The spicy cuisine here also complements the incessant rains this hilly state experiences.
Meat, particularly pork, is also a major part of the cuisine of Meghalaya. In fact the staple food of Meghalaya is Pork. Meghalaya basically has all the non-vegetarians dishes in the cuisine. The Garo cuisine is simple to cook with small variations that bring in a rich flavour. One of the important ingredients in preparing Nakham Bitchi (a hot spicy soup) is the special dry fish (Nakham). Preserved fish or meat is widely used in a variety of cooking methods. Fish or meat is preserved either by drying in the sun or smoked over the fire. A typical Garo meal would consist of rice, one or two meat/fish dishes and of course the relishing dry fish soup.
The Khasi taste buds are different from the traditional Garo way of cooking. To begin with, there are different varieties of rice to choose from.
Jadoh: It is a traditional cholesterol-loaded dish which is red hill rice cooked with pork and is something similar to biryani.
Jastem: Another non-veg dish which the Khasis relish. Today Jastem is so popular that it is easily available in restaurants in the neighbouring north-eastern states. Jastem is plain hill rice cooked with pork gravy, onions, ginger and turmeric thus giving it a characteristic yellow colour.
Mylliem chicken: This mouth-watering Khasi dish gets its name from the village where it was first prepared. The chicken is cooked with different condiments, most notably, the small round Khasi peppers which gives distinctive taste and flavour.
Dohkhlieh: This is a type of pork salad made with boiled pork and onions with a sprinkling of chillies as desired.
Dohneiiong: Dark in colour owing to the fact that black sesame seeds are used to make the gravy, Dohneiiong is another pork dish which the people of Meghalaya commonly prepares.
Different types of rice pancakes including Pumaloi (a powdered rice which is steamed in earthern pots), Pukhlein (a powdered rice mixed with jaggery and then deep fried), Pudoh (a plain powdered rice stuffed with small pieces of pork and steamed) and Putharo (a plain powdered steamed rice) are very popular tea-time snacks in Meghalaya.
Apart from these local pork delicacies cooked in Khasi-style, Meghalaya in general and Shillong, the capital city, in particular is also the Mecca of authentic Chinese food.
Kyat: Along with rich food, people drink a rice beer locally called Kyat, which features in the menu of every festive occasion. The local brew made from rice, adds zing to all the local celebrations.