Vegetarian food in Leh Ladakh is obviously available at every nook and corner. It’s all about momos and thukpa. Most of the time we ate momos and thukpa for lunch and regular Indian food for dinner. Salt in their food is slightly on the higher side as compared to regular food. Ask for less salt if you are particular.
I had a long list of restaurants to try in Leh. But we landed up trying only one of them and the rest of the time we stuck to our hotel’s restaurant as we were too tired to venture out.
The Tibetan Kitchen
Timings – 11 am to 10:30 pm
Everywhere on the internet, it was claimed as the best restaurant in Leh and our driver recommended the same. They have both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements. We tried Mokthuk which is a combination of Thukpa and momos. It was definitely the best we had in Leh. Momos out here were nothing special, as good as we ate at other roadside joints. Then we tried their local dish Sabagleb which looked different but tasted exactly like momos. For the mains, we had spicy noodles and gravy. Spicy really meant burning hot here, however it was delicious. Do not forget to try their refreshing apple juice. Service was quite slow though.
They also serve Gyakko which is a typical Tibetan family dish. It’s a hot pot with a variety of ingredients. Veg Gyakko costs Rs 1900 which serves four people but needs to be ordered a day in advance.
The Grand Dragon Ladakh
Most of the time, we had dinner in our hotel as their food was mouth-watering and they had an open terrace overlooking the mountain ranges. Their Indian food was really good too and the service was fast.
Other restaurants we wanted to try in Leh:
- Chopsticks Noodle Bar – Heard it’s pretty good for Chinese food
- Bon Appetit – USP of this place is their chocolate momos and pizzas with amazing views
- Lamayuru Restaurant – It has Indian, Chinese, continental cuisine but their unique item is chocolate balls
- German bakery/Gesmo Restaurant – They have Indian and Chinese food but their speciality is their special Yak Cheese Pizza and western food.
At Pangong, there are many small food joints serving all types of food. We chose Momo Hut because it was one of the few restaurants offering western-style toilets as my mom needed it very badly. There aren’t any street vendors to grab food on the go.
We stuck with the basics – thukpa, fried momos instead of steamed ones for a change and schezwan fried rice. Thukpa was delicious and instantly relieved me of the uneasiness due to the high altitude. I preferred the steamed momos instead of the fried ones. I like spicy food but my mouth was on fire after eating this schezwan fried rice. The service was quick!
On the way, there were many roadside joints having Mokthuk on their menu. We continued further on till we reached Hunder and had our lunch in the monastery’s restaurant.
Being a monastery, it serves only vegetarian food. We tried Thenktuk for the first time here. It was similar to Thukpa, only that instead of round noodles, it had flat sheets.
Nubra Eco-Lodge, Sumur
There wasn’t any restaurant nearby, the only option is to have a dinner buffet in the hotel. The buffet had dal, paneer, zucchini with mushroom served with roti and rice. All the produce is fresh from their farm. It was simple but delicious. For dessert, they had kheer, which was so good that I went for a second round.
Vegetarian Dishes we tried in Leh Ladakh:
- Thukpa – Noodle and vegetable soup
- Thenktuk – It’s a version of thukpa where instead of round noodles, flat noodles are used.
- Mokthuk – Tibetan soup consisting of momos and vegetables.
- Kahwa – It’s available everywhere and gives some instant relief to cure minor symptoms of AMS like headaches. It contains saffron and cinnamon that help to keep the body warm.
Vegetarian Dishes we wanted to try in Leh Ladakh but couldn’t:
- Chhupri – Cheese from Yak’s milk
- Tigmo – It is a form of fermented steamed bread served with a veg stew
- Butter tea – We didn’t see this on any menu
- Kulcha – This is not our Indian kulcha but like a biscuit that locals eat with kahwa or tea. We saw this at a tea stall but didn’t try.
Leh – Manali Highway
Again, there aren’t roadside vendors selling momos or any food which you can just grab on the go. You have to specifically stop at a restaurant to eat. There are endless restaurants along the way serving Indian and Chinese food. For the first leg of the trip from Leh to Keylong we just did a quick tea stop at Sarchu and hardly ate anything for 12 hours. We hogged at our hotel in Keylong for dinner that day. For the second leg, we had a scrumptious breakfast in a small town called Kosher. We ate delicious parathas and toast with tea. At Manali, we encountered the first thelawalas of our trip and tried their chole kulcha but it was nothing special.
One place I really wanted to check out was Bella River banks. Apart from that, we planned to eat on Mall road.
Bella River banks
I saw this place on the TV show “Highway on my Plate” and it was on the top of my list of restaurants to visit in Manali. We ordered two plates of chole bhature, one plate of Maggi and one plate of paratha for the four of us. I’d gone to this place for the view but the food was outstanding, way better than the views. Chole bhature was divine and one of the best I ever had in my life. We were stuffed and didn’t feel hungry until dinner time. Service was slow though.
We were full from the breakfast we had that morning and I was suffering from a bad cold, so we didn’t try anything special on Mall road. We just had a dosa at Sher-e-Punjab and badam milk at a local stall. Their local dish is called Siddu which is a speciality of Kullu but available at quite a few places on Mall road. It’s like a steamed bun usually served with ghee. The other famous restaurant on Mall Road is Chopsticks for Tibetan Food.
I didn’t like the food at this hotel. One of the nights we had a decent pizza and on the second night, we had a sandwich which was not up to the mark.
All the vegetarian food in Leh Ladakh lived up to our expectations. I definitely crave for the delicious Thukpa and momos. Chole bhature at Bella River Banks was definitely the highlight of the food we ate in Manali.
Planning a trip to Leh Ladakh?
Check out all the other posts in Leh Ladakh with Manali series:
Leh Ladakh Trip Planning Essentials
Our Detailed Itinerary and Trip Report
Choosing Accommodations in Leh, Nubra Valley, Keylong and Manali
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