Top 5 Tharu Cuisines

If you want to try something adventurous in Nepali cuisines, Tharu food may just be the right choice for you. Something that looks so disgusting, tastes so delicious

13, Dec 2022 |

Five Tharu dishes are explored and their food culture is described.

The Tharu people comprise an ethnic group. They come from Nepal’s inner Terai plains and southern foothills. They have a rich and diverse food culture. Their cuisine varies depending on the region they inhabit. The environment they live in usually shapes their culinary culture.

Their food culture is influenced by the abundance of various meat such as fish, mussels, and snails from the water bodies and rivers. They also consume dishes with mice that live in the paddy fields. Other meat sources include chicken, pig, and wild boar. Other vegetables, fruits and various types of mushrooms are also widely eaten. Rice is also prominent in their food culture. For instance, Andik, a major food item of the Tharu communities, is made up of common rice and sticky rice. 

So here are the top 5 cuisines of the Tharu community:

1. Ghonghi

The Tharus mostly reside near marshlands, rivers and flooded plains. Their cuisines are characterised by the use of various types of freshwater fishes, mussels, snails, crabs, etc. Likewise, Ghongis are mud water snails found in paddy fields and local streams. It is a much loved delicacy of the Tharu people. It is said to have some health benefits too. So, people from other communities have begun exploring this dish. The snails are cleaned, boiled and then cooked well using various spices such as flaxseed. Ghongis are served with rice. This combination has been a staple food of the indigenous people of Terai for ages.


2. Dhikri

Dhikri is one of the most popular and special dishes among the people belonging to the Tharu community. It is especially made on the occasion of Maghe festival. Dhikri with chutney just tastes amazing. It is also healthy and nutritious. Dhikri is made up of rice flour, which is the only ingredient required to make it. It is steamed in Dhaki, earthen pots, and is more like steamed rice cakes shaped like sausages.


3. Bagiya

Bagiya is also one of the popular dishes of the Tharu community that is enjoyed by most of the people of the Terai region. It is made on the auspicious occasion of Tihar and other such special celebrations. Bagiya is a salty snack made up of rice flour and is similar to momo, except for the filings and shape, which is more like Yomari of the Newar community.It is boiled in water and is served with tomato achaa.


4. Bhakka

One of the most popular snacks in the Tharu community is Bhakka. It is a fluffy rice flour steamed cake. They are mostly eaten during breakfast with freshly prepared tomato achar or chutney. Bhakka is prepared with freshly harvested rice flour and has some sweetness to it.

Nowadays, it has become a very famous street food in Terai. Some of the restaurants in Kathmandu have started serving Bhakka too.


5. Sidhara

Sidhara is a small fish prepared with Colocasia stem, turmeric, garlic, radish, and chillies. This dish is shaped as cakes and later sun-dried before serving and eating. The aroma of the delicacy is pungent and the taste is slightly bitter, yet it is one of the most eaten foods in the indigenous Tharu community. The dish goes well with soup or curry.


In a nutshell, Tharu culture is much more than their traditions. Their culture can be tasted in their food. Their culinary traditions also include a mixture of Indian seasonings and spices as the Terai is the region where Nepal shares its border with India.

Compiled by: Rebika Bishokarma 

Photo Credit: Century Spices and Snacks, Wikimedia, Twitter, Wikipedia, The Gundruk, NepFlights 

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