With travel comes food; food being the only true factor that bring people together. When we speak of Manipur, one of the eight northeastern states in India, not much is known. Imphal, the capital city of Manipur was the seat of the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur, now home to the glorious ruins of the Palace of Kangla. The city is seeped in history and natural wonders–from royal seat to the World War II's Battle of Imphal to the very rare and elusive sangai deer–there's so much to do in Imphal. But while you are checking the city out, you'll need to eat too. Manipuri cuisine is an experience to be had–from bora, sinju to the finest cup of freshly brewed coffee; whether you are a cafe hopper or street food fan, there's something for everybody in Imphal. Here's a round-up of six of the best places to eat (and some more) one can explore while in the city.
Here the food is real and experiences even better. Forage
, located in Thangmeiband
, serves both Mediterranean and Northeast inspired cuisines they lovingly call "Neighbourhood Menu". For the region's good traditional dishes, go for the Neighbourhood Menu. Be advised: non-vegetarian and full of local spices (read Hot). Mediterranean & Elsewhere Menu has food from Southern Europe with a twist of local herbs. Watch this space
for more information on live bands, poetry recital etc. In short, everything interesting. This fun corner at the cafe is called Happening at Forage).
2) 70mm Cafe & Restaurant
This is where art and good food comes to life. The cafe, with studio setting, is artistic, quirky and will give you a feel-good feeling as you walk around admiring the best of Manipuri cinematic displays. And of course, good food, courteous hosts and lively environment with performances like poetry reading, live music, among many other interesting activities.
3) 9 Hills Bistro
Visit 9 Hills Bistro in Deulahland for delicious quick bites. This kid-friendly restaurant has good shakes and burgers. From wraps to subs and burritos, the restaurant is a real fast-food haven in town.
4) Hot Pot
First thing first--here it is Cash Only. The restaurant is located in Wangkhei, good for family and one of the best places that serve authentic traditional and regional food.
5) Sangai Continental
6) Luxmi Kitchen
A good stay option too, Sangai Continental, one of the best boutique hotels in town, is home to The Wild Rice. They excel in Indian fares, especially curry and tandoor items; Oriental is good too. Their open and live kitchen gives you a good view of your food being cooked. Hit Sangai Continental
for best of Indian dishes. The hotel is located in Thangal Bazaar
Probably one of the most popular food joints in Imphal, Luxmi Kitchen, located in Wahengbam Leikai in Sagolband, is a household name. It's light on the pocket and heavy on the quality of food. Come here for a good and hearty Manipuri lunch; their thali is class apart. It's Open for lunch only so the services are available only till 3pm (and people throng this place). If this does not ignite your curiosity to explore the local Manipuri cuisine, then it's hard to imagine what will.
Other popular food joints worth mention and visit include Imoinu Lamphel (an all-women run restaurant in Lamphel), Hotel Wonrei in Chingmeiron near Hotel Classic Grande), Central Perk in Thangmeiband, and Prince.