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A foodie's guide to Khajjiar: Local cuisines and where to eat

A foodie's guide to Khajjiar: Local cuisines and where to eat

By Aquib Nawab

06 Jun, 2024

Khajjiar, the little town in Himachal Pradesh, does not just treat you to amazing scenic landscapes but also to the lip-smacking food that you can find here. This beautiful hill station, which is popularly called the "Mini Switzerland of India," has an elaborate culinary performance that weaves all local flavours with global influences from its rich heritage. This extensive guide, the type that makes you want to drool over it, serves as a pathway to the only kind of food combinations that are important to taste whenever you plan your trip to Khajjiar.

Top 5 dishes to eat

The food in Khajjiar is a mix of Himachali and Punjabi styles, with fresh ingredients locally sourced. Laden with comfort and sustenance, they are just right for a mountain climate. Some of the local foods that need to be tried out include:

1. Siddu

Siddu, which is a traditional Himachali dish and looks like a steamed dumpling, Siddus are whole wheat flour balls filled with spicy dal or aloo with ghee and chutney. This comforting khichdi from Khajjiar is a must-try for one of those cold evenings.

Siddu (Credit: Canva)

2. Madra

Madra is a traditional creamy chickpea, yoghurt, and spice curry from Himachal. Its preparation is slow-cooked, and the final gravy is creamy. The gravy makes a great combo with steamed rice or roti. Madra is a dish that must be on every traveller's list of exotic Khajjiar foods.

Creamy chickpea (Credit: Canva)

3. Khatta Meat

The region also has a tangy, spicy mutton curry called Khatta Meat. This recipe uses amchoor (dried mango powder) for its unique flavor and a combination of aromatic spices. This preparation goes well with poori and steamed rice and tastes delicious.

Khatta meat (Credit: Canva)

4. Chha Gosht

Chha Gosht is a seasoned lamb or mutton meat dish in Himachali cuisine, originating from the Chamba Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The result is a tender, ripe piece of meat that melts in your mouth. Chha Gosht is served with steamed rice or roti.

Chha gosht (Credit: Canva)

5. Patande

Patande is a popular breakfast dish from Himachal Pradesh, especially in the Sirmaur district. These thin, crepe-like pancakes are made from wheat flour, milk, and sugar, then cooked until golden brown. Served with ghee or butter, Patande is a delicious and simple treat that showcases the local flavours of the region.

Super delicious Patande, a popular Himachali dish

Super delicious Patande, a popular Himachali dish

Food places to try when in Khajjiar

Khajjiar offers limited dining options, but nearby Dalhousiehas plenty of places to explore. Here are some food spots in Khajjiar and their drive time from The Hosteller, Khajjiar

1. Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation

The HPTDC Restaurant in the heart of Khajjiar is just what you're missing out on. The eatery serves a range of local dishes, such as madra, khatta meat, and chha gosht, complimented by delights such as butter chicken and paneer tikka, which are among the North Indian favourites. The atmosphere is quaint, their services are friendly, and it is just a good place to have a sit-down meal.

HPTDC restaurant (Credit: Canva)

2. Deodar Cafe

Deodar Cafe is a fancy, little diner near Khajjiar Lake. Deaton Gunter stopped in at the cafe to discuss the restaurant's mix of local and global cuisine based on fresh, natural ingredients. Be sure to try their tempting siddu with ghee and chatni. The café also serves a variety of hot and cold beverages, ranging from Himalayan herbal teas to freshly brewed coffee.

Deodar cafe (Credit: Canva)

3. Dhaba-style eateries

Khajjiar offers a chance to savour local flavours at its many dhabas. These family-run eateries lining the main road provide a homey atmosphere and delicious North Indian food at pocket-friendly prices. You'll find staples like dal makhani, butter chicken, and tandoori roti alongside regional specialities like siddu (steamed wheat flour dumplings) and madra (creamy chickpea curry).

Unique experience amidst scenic beauty

Apart from the local cuisine, there are various other foodie experiences to be tried in Khajjiar.

1. Picnic by the Lake

Carry a basket of foods locally bought from the market, such as Siddus, pickles, and fruit, and ride to Khajjiar Lake. You can enjoy your meal in complete tranquility, accompanied by an ever-refreshing mountain wind that adds to the breathtaking ambience.

Khajjiar ground (Credit: Canva)

2. Meet a local family with a cooking class

For a more local and hands-on culinary experience, you can opt for a cooking class where you will prepare a traditional meal with a local family. Most of the homestays or guesthouses at Khajjiar provide a cooking workshop where you can learn how to cook traditional dishes like Madra and khatta meat from a local expert. An ideal tandoor cooking class will allow you to experience the history of cuisine in the area as well as gain new skills in the kitchen.

3. Foraging for wild herbs

The forests of Khajjiar have a richness of wild herbs and plants that are the most common herbs used in the local cuisines. Sign up for a foraging tour with a guide who will teach you about these foods and their traditional uses in recipes. If you are lucky, you may even eat the freshly harvested greens when they are prepared by your guide for you.

The forests of Khajjiar (Credit: Canva)

Where to Stay in Khajjiar?

After indulging in the best of Khajjiar's food, you are surely going to need a cosy little place to rest and rejuvenate. The Hosteller Khajjiar is an awesome choice. The amiable staff and the homely environment make it the ideal launch pad for your Khajjiar sojourns.

View of The Hosteller Khajjiar (Credit: The Hosteller, Khajjiar)

The Hosteller Khajjiar (Credit: The Hosteller, Khajjiar) 


Khajjiar is a vibrant palate full of local flavors, produced from farm-fresh ingredients that are served with warmth. Whether you are having a warm, piping-hot siddu from a local dhaba, devouring a plateful of Madra at the HPTDC Restaurant, or cooking khatta meat with a local family, you will not leave Khajjiar with an empty belly. You will have a lot more respect for the culinary heritage of the region.

With this, you must now get those bags packed and the hunger in you ready, and start the journey in the beautiful lands of Khajjiar to taste what they have to offer!

Follow the footsteps here, arm it with the foodie guide, stay comfortably at The Hosteller Khajjiar, and make your trip for an out-of-this-world mouthwatering experience in Khajjiar.

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