Known as the organic state of the country, Sikkim has much to offer when it comes to food.
Bringing Sikkim's cuisine to the national capital is 'Nimtho', a restaurant that serves organically rich traditional Sikkimese delicacies. With the growing worldwide demand for organic food many start ups in the food industry are inclining towards holding on to all things organic and healthy.
The northeastern state of Sikkim comprises of vast natural resources and in recent years the state has been declared first organic state which is recognized as a landmark achievement for the tiny state that in turn has boosted the state's economy. Sikkimese food at the same time is carving out a niche position in the northeast cuisine space.
'Nimtho' is run by a biotechnologist-turned-entrepreneur Binita Chamling.
'Nimtho' means invitation in local language and is well justified by the Sikkimese spirit of warmth and hospitality. The architecturally rich ambience of the restaurant attracts more visitors.
"We set out initially to just have an organic store here where we can sell all the items from Sikkim, and, Sikkim being organic state, and you know the organic food demand is growing in India. While we were doing that, there is a worldwide concept going on that if you are selling organic food, you might as well serve the food and actually people get the taste of the organic food as well. So we thought of that concept. Usually, it is accompanied by a cafeteria, since I was new to this industry and what I knew was my Sikkim food," Chamling told ANI
In the restaurant one could sense the taste of traditional Sikkimese food with a modern twist with fresh flavors. The chefs believe in using organic ingredients makes for healthier living and a taste to eat.
Few dishes which are lesser known to people specially foodaholic who are always in search of something new and unique to consume can be explored in Nimtho.
Among the dishes the menu consistS of Nettle soup (Shishnu soup) which is prepared using olive oil, nettle leaf, few garlics, ginger, salt and pepper is considered healthy and reduce thyroid and joint pain.
Also, traditional Sikkimese cuisine like Khuri (buckwheat flour rolled with seasonal veggies or meat- Lepcha dish), Wacheepa (A Sikkimese Rai community char-grilled-chicken-special, cooked with burnt powder feather) remains a hit among foodie.
The head chef of Nimtho, Dilip Dharamar, told ANI, "I have been working here since 9 months and earlier I was working in Nepal and in the year 2016 I was the master chef in Nepal. Our food is totally new to the people of Delhi but it will take time to make people aware of the Sikkimese food but till now the overall response is good".
Binita believes in holding on to the lost tradition of Sikkimese food and her love for food and her state brought her back to her own roots.
"I have lived and worked in UK in the biotech industry for almost six years of my life, but when I heard that my Sikkim is turning organic and is doing pioneering work in the organic sector, I started talking to people generally about what India or Sikkim could offer in terms of organic food and people were very excited in Europe. So, I thought it was a good opportunity to come back and start something of my own. We started with Organic Sikkim", Binita further added.
Launched in November recently, Nimtho have received quite a good response from the locals.
"I do come here often and I feel very homely and enjoy Sikkim food. It is a great feeling; it's like a home away from home", a customer told ANI.
Nimtho also has a unit where visitors can get hold of organic produce of Sikkim and also witness Sikkimese art and culture.
Such a venture will go a long way in keeping the inheritance alive.