As I entered the Rosang Café and Store without much of expectation, I was pleasantly carried away by the fashion in which the owner, Mary Lalboi, greeted me. With a lovely smile, somewhat a reflection of a lovely heart, she appeared immensely welcoming although we were yet to strike a verbal communication.
Dressed in traditional North-Eastern finery, no less an ambassador of the region and with a warm “hello” on her lips, the lady appeared to woo and win her customers in the first instance itself.
All full of politeness, patience and passion, Mary possesses a fine blend of inter-personal skills and is all around the place to build a rapport with the customers, understand their taste and help them out with the selecting the courses.
She aspires to infuse the vibrant culture of North-East India in Delhi. “I am all for promoting North-East India. I want to position the abundance and the richness of our region through food and culture. Our foods are the healthiest. Our culture is strikingly beautiful” she affirms.
Mary at Work
Rosang in Paite dialect means “God’s Gift”. Recently opened, the café and store is a food getaway for authentic bites and beverages from North-East India. It is a culture in itself, undoubtedly. The interior décor of the café gives a holistic insight into the wonderful yet lesser commercialized north eastern states of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Even the café walls speak volumes of the lady’s effort in promoting these cultures. Neatly hung on the wall are frames reflecting the living tradition and social lives, each picture set in a different train of thought.
No promotion of culture is complete if the traditional attires aren’t showcased. The traditional wraps worn by women from the region, ‘Puanten’ were beautifully arranged on the wall. Pointing at the beads hung on the wall and the neat dark tough looking potteries, Mary says, “they all are traditional symbols of the region. The table layout and the sitting array is much like the layout of any rural tribal household of North-East India.”
The Menu List
The menu encompasses a detailed list of carefully chosen dishes from the eight States of North-East India. Though it took me quite a while to understand and pronounce the dishes without any aberration, all that I was eager was to start relishing them without losing a minute. At my request, Mary guided me through each and every dish and their prime ingredients. She suggested me to try Wild Red Rice, a signature ingredient of Rosang. Rest of the course comprised of Pork Spare ribs herbs, Ngatok a fish stew in local herbs and spices without oil, boiled chicken in yam and lemon leaf from Mizoram, Iromba made of boiled vegetable in dry fish sauce and Synja made of vegetables with dry fish powder from Manipur
My Experience with Rosang’s Dishes
Wild Red Rice: The burgundy colour is very appealing, refreshing and surprisingly good to look at. It has a unique rustic and earthy flavor. Do not expect the flavor to be like the white rice or any basmati rice. Although it is not sticky, the grains also do not stand separately. One may not feel the softness like Basmati or any white rice, somewhat the texture is close to Parmal variety. It best goes with a thick consistency of pork or chicken curry. Iromba blends well with red rice.
Ngatok: One dish that makes you close to this part of eastern most corner of India is Ngatok. It is a dish with well blended herbs and fresh river water fish. It is oil-less and the soupy fish dish is profoundly loved by all. Light in colour, uplifting aroma and the green mix sets the dish aside and makes it unique.
Iromba: It is chutney which is more of a side dish. The thick mix of crushed vegetables with light green colour may not be a treat to eye but indeed it is a dish to feast with anything. It has a unique flavor and gives out a subtle dry-fish sensation breaking the monotony of platter.
Ngatok and Iromba
Chicken Curry with Yam and Lemon Leaf: The curry is light and soothing sour-y rustic aroma to hit the sense. It goes very well with white rice. Although the yam leaves are bit chewy, but the dish altogether give no digestion problem.
Wild Red Rice and Chicken Curry in Yam leaves (Photo by Sanzeeta)
Dongneiihong: The dark black colored gravy, made of sesame might look different and unfamiliar to those who prefer colored gravy. The softness of the pork and the slight sesame flavor hangs in the mouth for sometime and leaves you to figure out the sesame-y aroma. The gravy of course blends well with white rice and one can go with this two combination alone. The flavor of dongneiihong is a whole single-some in itself.
Dongneiihong (Photo by Sanzeeta)
Bai: The dark green vegetable stew look bright and fresh and it leaves one to figure out the vegetable ingredients. Made of vegetables, beans, brinjals and green chilies, the distinctness of the stew is its green colour. Light in flavor, hot, lightly salted and of soupy consistency, it is best to have with simple boiled rice.
Pork Ribs: It is the pick to have with rice beer, pleasant and favorably a treat to admire for. Soft to the core and crunchy coating with very less spice is something which tends to make you forget an inconsistent hard luck day. Best part is, the pieces are not chewy at all. The tender meat and soft fat portion are blended well in every piece. Nothing is overcooked
Apart from the above dishes, my exploration with Red Rice Kheer was matchless. The burgundy colored kheer, thick in consistency, full of raisins, made in jaggery and garnished with grated coconut gives a different look to the whole composition. Light in sweetness, frequent bursting of raisins in between, the tinge from coconut granules are a whole-ly a different journey.
Sauce (Photo by Sanzeeta)
There are many things one can go for in Rosang. The signature sauce of Rosang, made of Naga Mirch and local herbs have captured the flavor of many foodies. The light sprinkling of roasted sesame on the chutney gives a whole new twist to a very simple and rustic dish.
Visiting Rosang for food adventure is not one time affair. Those who visit makes a point to come back again with more additional food lovers. The distinctiveness of Rosang is each dish is exclusive and each of them finds a way to the heart of the visitors. Fried Eye wises prosperity to Mary Lalboi and Rosang team.
North Eastern Cuisines at Rosang
The Rosang Menu
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