Food Habits of Tripura

Down the annals of history the taste and variety of food have acted as powerful inducements to tourists or people keen to travel to unknown lands. The delicious Chinese cuisine famous all over the world for taste and variety continue to draw tourists to the ancient land of the dragon so much so that even VVIP visitors to China evince a keen interest in learning the subtle nuances of preparing the famous duck-roast. So is the case with French cuisine which is popular in Europe. Back home the charm and attraction of the exotic food served in Mughal courts and to the rulers are recorded in history.Keeping this in mind one may not spare a thought for the variety of cuisine served by the ‘Queen of Eastern hills’ that is Tripura . But one must pause a while before making any observation on this subject for the indigenous food served in Tripura is derived from and directly related to the pristine purity of mother nature and her soil. Tripura’s cultural diversity is reflected in the food habits of the tribal and non-tribal people. Leaving aside the rich spicy food or even two or three varieties of Chinese cuisine served in restaurants in urban centres , the non-tribal Bengalis of Tripura live on rice , fish , chicken ,mutton and pork though a small section of Muslims consume beef which is not easily available in the state. However, the non-tribals take great pains in preparing spicy curries of a large variety of fishes available in plenty within the state and also imported from Bangladesh. The most popular and delicious preparation of fish is , however, the boiled ‘Hilsa’punched with mustard seed and green chilly. Apart from this, a large number of vegetarians among non-tribals who switch over from non-vegetarian to purely vegetarian food because of Hindureligious influences depend on a variety of vegetables and milk for sustenance . The food-habits of the non-tribal Bengalis here resemble those of their counterparts in Assam, West Bengal and is however the indigenous tribal food which adds to the charm and distinctiveness of Tripura cuisine. Lulled in the hilly terrain and the lap of mother nature for generations the tribals of Tripura had always been quite unfamiliar with the use of oil and spice in their food for understandable reasons.

A section of the tribals have however developed a taste for oil and spice to add to the taste and variety of food ever since they started co-habiting the urban areas alongside non-tribal Bengalis.Nevertheless, the basic tribal food habit remains unchanged. Here we furnish a list of popular tribal delicacies:-


A preparation of boiled vegetables with dry fish , crushed by hand after putting salt, pieces of peeled onion and green chilly . An exceedingly healthy and tasty food , generally taken with hot rice.


A boiled cocktail of ‘Musur’ pulses , pork , ‘Barali’ or inmost part of a banana tree and pieces of papaw with salt and green chilly . This is treated as a delicacy, taken with rice, in tribal households.


A mixture of ginger, garlic , coconut, pea-nuts and pork boiled in packets of banana leaf with a special and sticky variety of rice known as ‘Binny’.

Halud Bharta or Godhak:

A paste of raw tamarind mixed with roasted dry fish, pieces of any variety of fish, peeled onion , green chilly and salt are packed in a bamboo-pipe which is then smashed inside and put over fire after closing its mouth. After ten or fifteen minutes, depending on quantity the pipe is put down and the mixture is taken out to be served as food with hot rice. This is also an extremely healthy and tasty food.

Pork Bharta:

The tribals of Tripura are fond of pork and they consume it in two different ways . One is a plain pork curry with very little spice while the other is Bharta’ which is prepared with boiled (in pressure cooker at 120 degree centigrade temperture) pork mixed with pieces of peeled onion , ginger, roasted chilly , a flavoured plant leaf and salt. As evident from the mode of preparation given above tribal food in Tripura is pure, fresh and free from any kind of pollution. The shifting cultivation through which the tribals produce their rice and vegetables rules out any use of chemical fertilizer. Only ashes of burnt out jungles and cowdung are used in shifting cultivation in which yield is low but taste is very high.