Ethnic Fermented Foods and Alcoholic Beverages of Manipur

  • Romi Wahengbam
  • Anand Singh Thangjam
  • Santosh Keisam
  • Ibemhal D. Asem
  • Debananda S. Ningthoujam
  • Kumaraswamy Jeyaram


Manipur is characterized by its rich culture, indigenous food habits, and diverse population of over 30 different tribal and non-tribal ethnic communities. The major non-tribal Meitei community settles in the valley area, while the Naga and Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes inhabit the hilly regions. Different ethnic communities have their unique food habits. Rice is their staple food and is consumed with fresh or boiled vegetables, fish, and meat with a variety of fermented foods. Ethnic fermented foods form an intrinsic part of the traditional diet system and the cultural integrity of all ethnic communities. These fermented products are unique in terms of the substrate used, the traditional indigenous knowledge of preparation, and the culinary practices. Ethnic fermented foods of Manipur are fermented bamboo shoots (soidon, soidon mahi/soijin/soijim, soibum, thunkheng, thunbin, thunkhengkang, thunbinkang), fermented fish (ngari, hentak, ithiitongka), fermented soybean (hawaijar, khuichang, bethu, bekanthu, theisui), fermented mustard leaves (inziangsang, ziangdui, ziangsang, ankamthu, ganang tamdui), fermented sesame seed (sithu), fermented mustard/rapeseed seed (hangammaru hawaichar), fermented kenaf seed (gankhiangkhui), fermented milk (sangom aphamba), fermented meat (sathu, saayung, guaighi kang, sahro, bongkarot, aithu), and fermented alcoholic rice beverages (ethnic starters—hamei, chamri, khai; non-distilled beverages—yu angouba, khor, zoungao, atingba, patso, timpui, waiyu, pheijou; distilled liquors—yu, acham, zouju/zouzu). This chapter discusses the history and culture of different ethnic groups of Manipur and focuses on the traditional indigenous knowledge, socioeconomic and ethical values, microbiology, and health and nutritional benefits of different traditional ethnic fermented foods and beverages of Manipur.


Ethnic food culture Fermented foods Fermented alcoholic beverages Traditional indigenous knowledge Starter culture Microbiology Health benefits Food safety 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romi Wahengbam
    • 1
  • Anand Singh Thangjam
    • 2
  • Santosh Keisam
    • 3
  • Ibemhal D. Asem
    • 4
  • Debananda S. Ningthoujam
    • 4
  • Kumaraswamy Jeyaram
    • 5
  1. 1.Life Sciences DivisionInstitute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Vigyan Path, Paschim Boragaon, GarchukGuwahatiIndia
  2. 2.AICRP on Post-Harvest Engineering Technology, Directorate of ResearchCentral Agricultural UniversityIroishemba , ImphalIndia
  3. 3.Advanced Level Institutional Biotech HubModern CollegeImphalIndia
  4. 4.Department of BiochemistryManipur UniversityCanchipur, ImphalIndia
  5. 5.Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD)AizawlIndia

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