Dried & Smoked Beef :: Dzongri, West Sikkim

Dried beef hung from the ceiling
Traditional technique to smoke, dry and preserve meat in the cold & remote Eastern Himalayas

In March of 2016, we did the trek to Goecha La, in West Sikkim, Eastern Himalayas, India. The trek is definitely on the top 5 to-do treks in India and takes you to the base of the Mt. Kanchenjunga range (Goecha La @16,000+ feet).

It is mandatory to break and acclimatize at the Dzongri Camp for 1-2 days before the trek takes into the high altitude zone. Most people prone to high altitude sickness would feel affected and complete rest, light food, and drinking lots of water is recommended.

Dzongri Camp @ 4060 meters / 13320 feet
Dzongri Camp Site @ 4060 meters / 13,300 feet

On that cold and misty day we spent most of it sitting around the wood fired traditional stove or usually known as ‘angeethi’ in the mountains. It keeps the kitchen warm, which usually also is the living area of the house. There is a constant supply of drinking hot water, simmering over the stove.

The smoke escaping from the chimney pipes, slowly infuses into the preserved dried beef, systematically hung from the ceiling of the wooden log hut. This is a traditional technique to smoke, dry and preserve meat in the cold & remote Eastern Himalayas.

dzongri forest hut 1

We bought a kilogram of dried beef for our kitchen team to cook for lunch. This was the only non-vegan meal we had on the entire 10 day trek.

While we were at it, we also got ourselves a bottle of the Honeybee Brandy, a local delight of Sikkim! Whats dining without a little wineing 🙂

dzongri forest hut 2

Our cook made us the most yummy beef stew curry with veggies and potatoes and served it with boiled rice. It was probably one of the most delicious forms of dried meat I have ever had.

The meat was dry, chewy, smokey, meaty, beefy and with every chew it kept releasing more of the beefy goodness and flavors.

smoked beef & veggies

The Honeybee with warm water, played more of a role of  ‘warming the soul’ rather than ‘intoxicating the body’.  Although consumption of alcohol is completely not recommended at higher altitudes; and specially during acclimatization routines.

But what the hell, we got a little tipsy, died and went to beef heaven that day! 😉

smoked beef

I would do this trek again for that beef stew, brandy and of-course the ultimate reward!

Kanchenjunga Range
Panorama of the Mt. Kangchenjunga Range (28000 feet) as viewed from Goecha La (16000 feet) – this was our reward!

For more such travel & food stories, follow this blog!

Happy Cooking!


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