Kunga Restaurant: Tibetan Delight in Darjeeling
Kunga Restaurant, situated right in the heart of Darjeeling- at the chauk- serves up a wide variety of Tibetan dishes and some local favorites that are quite loved by everyone who visits the hill station. And this place has been on my bucket list since many many years now and this time I ensured that I steer clear of the places I visit every single time and instead make way to the other, much-loved restaurants.
Darjeeling has always been my happy place. A place I need to go visit atleast once each year simply to recharge, rejuvenate and look forward to the rest of the year on a positive note. Luckily 2018 began for me in Darjeeling and that simply assures me that the rest of the year might just be pretty darn fine.
After strolling through a number of back lanes, mostly to build up an appetite, we reached famished at Kunga only to see that they shut down post lunch for a mini break. Disheartened we were almost ready to leave and head someplace else when the owner spotted us and blithely opened up their doors for us and in we marched in all our glory ready to eat more than we should.
We started off with some steamed pork momos (obviously) that had juicy and slightly soupy minced pork parcelled inside spongy layers- a lot like baozis. Each bite tasted like they were dropped from the heavens and me being the Kung fu Panda that I am, I downed quite a few of them unashamed till I realized there was more food to try.
Wai Wai is a staple in the hills of the North East and without sounding blasphemous, growing up with wai wai, we may even like it more than Maggi and are happy to give that to the Northern hill stations of our country instead. So we asked for the beef wai wai that came out tossed with some simrayo / watercress leaves and shredded beef and in minutes the entire plate was wiped clean.
For the main course, we ordered some Thenthuk- a beautiful chicken broth soup with hand pulled flat noodles (Tibet’s answer to pasta)- the perfect dish for winters and I may even dare to say that I love it more than Thukpa. We also got some of their famous pork chili which is very different from the Chinese pork chilli available throughout the country, a very light beef curry and steamed rice. All of which were unique and absolutely amazing in their own way.
Their portions are generous and despite being ravenous at the start of our meal we couldn’t finish it all and had to pack most of the stuff for later. So I would strongly recommend one to not go overboard with their order although the menu is such that it would be hard to not do so.
After the delightful lunch, we were ready to bid adieu to the Queen of hills but we weren’t doing so without taking some wonderful memories with us and an experience to remember and definitely return for!
Mohana Ganguly- When she isn’t hunting down the next best meal, she will be found daydreaming of her next vacation or honing her theatre skills (she is known to be quite dramatic).