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What to eat in Manali

Manali – a lovely town nestled in the Pir Panjal ranges of Himalayas, is one of the most visited places in Himachal Pradesh. As the winters are upon us, the entire nation is busy planning trips to the Lesser Himalayan Ranges of Himachal. Places like Manali, Shimla and Dharamsala are gearing up to be a perfect host in the biting cold when the mercury falls many points below zero degree.

While planning out a trip, the most important questions that keep taking high tides in a travelers mind are stay and food. What will be served on the plate while he/she enjoys view of beautiful valley full of mist and snow is the most common concern of every guest? It’s always wise to do some RnD before finalizing a destination. If, by any chance, your winter vacations are beginning and ending in Manali, then this food guide might turn out to be of great help.

What all Manali has to offer on your plate

Manali is has a very fertile land and food this destination has to offer is largely owed to the crops that are widely grown in the beautiful valley. Paddy, maize and kodra are one of the main crops Manali people feed on. Apart from that, a large number of vegetables and fruits are also one major stakeholder in the Manali food. Bhatoora and patrodu are other seasonal dishes that are served during celebrations and festivals.

Not to mention, milk and milk products are dominant in food habits of Manali people. Hot milk, curd, lassi and tea are popular drinks that not only are healthy but help you keep warm during wintery nights. If you are an adult, then you should definitely try homemade wine from barley and red rice, widely known as Chakti and Lugri, to get your head spinning for a while in a healthy way.

A traditional spread of Manali food includes an array of rice, a curry or cooked beaten curd, a curd based dish madra, pulses, raita which is a mustard based digestive food made of dry fruits, and sweet rice. This conventional fare is now served usually during marriages and special occasions and is prepared in the way called ‘Dham’ preferably by a ‘Boti’ or a Brahmin cook. They are traditionally served on leaf plates or pattal.

Here is a short but very helpful list of few names that you will happen to listen quite often from a waiter while asking for local dishes at a restaurant or food joint at street.

Red Rice

red rice


This variety of rice is grown locally. As the name suggests, the red rice is virtually available at very restaurants and dhabas in Manali that tastes as unique as it looks. Generally, it is served with Rajma – one of the most popular vegetarian Indian dishes consisting of red kidney beans, and saag – leaf-based dish, makes for a simple and tasty meal.

River Trout

 River Trout

Manali and Beas River share a great bond of love, which locals as well as tourists enjoy and appreciate with equal fondness and passion. If you ever visit Manali and don’t have tasted river Beas’ gift of love, i.e., trout fish, then your visit is incomplete. So river trout preparations made the local way is a must-have when in Manali.

Masala Omelet

Masala Omelet

Since, Maggie ban, masala omelet sale has picked speed. This fast and healthy food is cooked on every nook and corner of Manali town. Whether taking a stroll along the local people dressed in traditional attire, or enjoying cold wind at Rohtang Pass, have a hot masala omelet and you will enjoy surroundings ever more.



Had we missed this most important part of Manali’s daily routine, we wouldn’t have done justice to the list. Those little glasses with vertical lines engraved on them showing smudges of steam and water on them has a charm of its own. These glasses and mountains have a rare yet familiar bonding which makes us feel nostalgic as soon as we see a cup full of brown liquid filled to its brim exuding steam and tasty smell of ginger and cardamom. So, sit by your window or on a cold chair at a tea stall at Rohtang or Marhi and take small sips while feeling fading heat of hot tea with cold hands.

Tell us what all you ate when you were in Manali. If, unfortunately, you missed any of them, then make sure to have that on your next trip to this beautiful valley of gods.