Dimapur is the largest town in the Northeastern Indian province of Nagaland. The city, which has a population of around 400,000 or so, is accessible by train or airplane (but the airport isn’t always so reliable).
After 30 hours on a train from Kolkata, I was ready to be in Dimapur!
One thing I love doing when I arrive to any destination is to wander around the local fresh market.
Luckily in Dimapur, I didn’t have to wake up at 4 am like the Long Bien Market, to see the trade taking place. During the morning at 7 or 8 am you’ll find the market pretty busy and it stays open, but rather sleepy, for most of the day.
The Dimpur Market sells mostly fresh food ingredients, but they also do have some clothes, and some nice racks of Nagaland signature knives – used mostly for chopping meat (like pig intestines), but really for a multitude of uses.
Rice is the staple for Nagaland food, but other things like beans and dal (influenced from India) are also widely eaten at nearly all meals. At the market you’ll find plenty of grains neatly displayed and ready to be canned out.
Beautifully colorful spices are mainly used in Indian cooking rather than local Nagaland cuisine, but all forms of spices are available in abundance at the market.
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Chili peppers, both in fresh and dried form, are a huge ingredient in Nagaland food. Though most of their dishes aren’t cooked overly spicy, they often eat everything with a seriously fiery hot dipping sauce garnish similar to a Thai nam prik.
Fresh vegetables were scattered throughout the market.
Carrots, onions, potatoes, bitter melon, and all sorts of greens were widely available.
The Naga king chili, a beautiful looking pepper, is one of the hottest chillies in the world. It’s all over the Dimapur fresh market, and it’s heavily consumed in the local diet.
It’s similar to the cobra chili that’s used in Sri Lankan food, but the Naga king chili is quite a bit spicier.
Naga king chilies are extremely hot, but they are more sharply spicy, rather than a lingering spice that hurts your mouth for a long period of time. The chillies do provide unparalleled flavor, and as many locals mentioned to me, even though they are so spicy, they don’t create a bad stomach.
I had some king chillies in a sauce one night for dinner, and it was hot, but provided really great flavor.
In Nagaland, just like at markets in China, people prefer to purchase their meat alive. That’s always the safer bet. Chickens, pigs, and fish, were all quite common throughout the Dimapur market.
In Nagaland some people do eat dog meat, so there were quite a few dogs at the market, but I’ll spare you from the photos.
I just love walking around local fresh markets because there are always so many interesting ingredients to observe. Fresh honey is alway nice too… this is a beehive right?
There were also many other little creepy crawly bugs and insects all for eating.
Dried and salted fish is another part of the Naga diet, and at the Dimapur market they have a lovely selection.
The reason I love visiting markets so much, is because I love to eat, and there’s no better way to get a feeling of the ingredients used in whatever you’ll be eating than by walking around the food market!
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