Vegetarian Food Options in Ladakh


Everyone is a Vegetarian – some people also opt to have non-vegetarian food. Those of us who eat only vegetarian food often have questions about certain locations like Thailand, Malaysia, or our very own Ladakh.

Are there enough food options in Ladakh for vegetarians? Let us see.

Ladakh for Vegetarians – Travel Insight

This photo essay will take you through some of the food that I ate in the region. I am skipping the regular food options that you get in high-end hotels and sticking to the Ladakhi food options for this post.

A young monk eating while chanting his morning prayers
A young monk eating while chanting his morning prayers

Gud Gud Chai

If you begin your day in a monastery, like we did one of the days, you would see monks sipping Gud Gud Chai all the time. They pause every now and then to eat a porridge-like breakfast.

Younger monks get up every few minutes and refill tea and food for the rest of the monks. The whole exercise after a while seems like a part of the meditative exercise.

Tea being refilled at Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh
Tea being refilled at Thiksey Monastery

This is what the Gud Gud Chai looks like. It is made with Salt and Butter in it – so sometimes also called Noon Chai (Noon is the the Punjabi word for Salt) or Salt tea. Of course, most of us know it as Butter Tea.

Read More – Different Types of Chai In India

Gud Gud Chai
Gud Gud Chai

Baked Roti

For Breakfast, team up Gud Gud Chai with the baked thick Roti. The Roti gets cold as soon as it is out of the oven, so you need to eat it as such.

We were offered an omelet with this Roti but since I do not even eat eggs, I ate it with butter. It was like eating two solid cold things together. Can’t ask for anything better when the temperature outside is -23 degree Celsius.

Roti or bread of Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Roti or bread of Ladakh

Just to give you a perspective, this is the Ladakhi home, with a total mountain view where we sat and had our Roti & Gud Gud Chai breakfast.

Ladakhi Home with a Mountain View
Ladakhi Home with a Mountain View

Read More – Different Thali Meals in India

Chhaang drink

Every corner of India has its own local drink so how can this region be far away? This is the local Chhaang drink served in a wooden bowl called Kore. The same wooden cup is used for tea and food as well in monasteries.

Chhaang in a Kore, Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Chhaang in a Kore

Homemade noodle soup with tiny Chanas or black gram in it…

Homemade noodle soup, Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Homemade noodle soup

The ingredients that go into the soup are basically – Noodles and Black Gram with some mild spices and salt.

Ingredients of Noodle Soup
Ingredients of Noodle Soup

Thupka or Noodle soup is the most popupar staple food. With some vegetables thrown in, it is a complete meal. One bowl of piping hot Thupka and you are good to go.

Garlic soup is another staple that is offered to people as soon as they come from lower altitudes. It is believed to help deal with the AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness.

Momo’s with Walnut Chutney – Ladakh for Vegetarians

The Momos with Walnut Chutney was the real hero of this course. Momos are well known as Himalayan food to rest of the world.

Ladakhi Momo's
Ladakhi Momo’s

Ladakhis make Chutneys and Jams with almost everything that grows here – be it apricots, Apricot kernels, Apples, or Walnuts. Good part is that they make them almost without using any sugar. So when I tasted these jams they were more sour than sweet, reminding me that till processed food took over our lives, we all ate healthy food.

Ladakhi Chutneys
Ladakhi Chutneys

Apricot dessert

Even the desserts are made out of local fruits – this is an Apricot dessert – that was just yummy and healthy.

Apricot Dessert
Apricot Dessert

Since it is a cold environment, Cheese is always a good option. You get the regular cheese and the cheese made of Yak milk. Churpey or dried cheese is a popular favorite in the region.

Cheese Platter
Cheese Platter

Although there are enough food options in the region for vegetarians, if everything else fails, fruits are always there for you. Choose from the fruit basket of Himalayan fruits.

Fruits for vegetarians in the Ladakh
Fruits in the region

Dry Fruits – Ladakh for Vegetarians

If not fruits, pick up dry fruits from the Leh market to keep you warmly fed.

Dry Fruits in Leh Market
Dry Fruits in Leh Market

Of course, to keep you warm and hydrated, there is Kahwah – The Ladakhi version of Chai.

Kahwah - the morning to night drink of Ladakh
Kahwah – the morning-to-night drink of the region

Lastly, do not miss the ornate utensils that are used to serve tea / Kahwah or Chhaang.

Traditional Tea Pot in Ladakh
Traditional Tea Pot

So, go ahead and plan your road trips in the region and rest assured there is enough here in the region for vegetarians.


  1. Wonderful clicks Anuradha!! Their food seems quite healthy and polite for stomach 😉 I heart their culture and living. thanks for taking me there through your blog 🙂

  2. Anuradha, Your posts take me to a different world. I come to your blog when I am low, or sometimes, when I am okay, but it is always a mood booster, a peaceful and meditative experience.

    • Hi Pooja, they actually do consume dairy products – like fried cheese and milk in Gud Gud Chai. So not sure if we can call their food Vegan, but I was happy to have some vegetarian options.

  3. A very informative post for us, vegetarians. The pictures are so appetising. I have been longing to visit Ladakh and especially taste the gud gud chai.


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