The foods of the Hunza are free from preservative, artificial colourings, organically grown and pesticide free, in short all natural.  Our traditional recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, changing little over the years.

Hunza, with its low rain fall, relies on the glacial waters to deliver silt to its garden terraces and with generations of animal and plant waste being composted into soil, the Hunza Valley has been able to remain self-sufficient for millennium.

In years gone by my people have had two diets, one for winter and a vastly different one for summer.  This is not so evident in today’s society.  Land was and is of a premium so each family was allotted five acres and because of scarcity of pastures were limited to the number of domesticated animals kept.  Usually a milking cow,  a heifer or bull for later meat, a goat or two also for milk and meat, maybe some chickens.

In summer months yaks, goats, and sheep were moved to higher pastures to feed on the sparse but nutrient-rich vegetation, leaving the valley low on milk supplies, so at this time the people of the valley turned to a low fat, almost vegetarian diet living on fruits, nuts and seasonal vegetables and grains.  The winter diet was vastly different, in winter months a major part of our diet consists of milk, buttermilk, yoghurt and cheese.  Our domesticated animals are kept in pens and fed on fresh cut grass, twigs, garden waste and leaves.  Chickens were raised for meat and eggs but in the 1950’s were banned by the then Mir.

Hunza is known for its tasty fruits, being grown organically with no chemical pesticides (fermented walnut leaves in water for spraying, are used as a natural pesticide),  fresh and dried fruits, nuts and whole grains have been sustaining the Hunza people for centuries.

Apricots (zhuu), with its vitamin rich kernel (zhuway hanee), and the essential apricot kernel oil (zhuway haneeya dell), apple (baalt), dried apple (balt-e-batering), walnut (teli), cherries (giloss), almonds (badam) and mulberries (biranch) along with ancient unaltered  grains, barley, millet, wheat and buckwheat, turnips, carrots, beans, peas, pumpkins, melons, onions, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, peaches, pears and pomegranates, have grown in this valley since the times of the first Mirs.  It is believed potatoes, beets, endives, lettuce, radish, turnips, spinach, tomatoes and brussel sprouts were brought to the valley by the British in the 1890’s.

The seasonal grains were and still are ground whole, between two rocks in early times then later by a water wheel, grinding stone flour mill, preserving all health benefits of the husk, germ and oils contained in each nutrient packed grain.

In addition to the vast array of organic, pesticide-free fruits and veggies and the occasional domesticated animal for meat, the Valley and the high mountains surrounding offered a wide range of wild game which was added to the Hunzukuts diet including, Markhors sheep, Marco Polo sheep, geese, ducks, pheasants and partridge with the occasional Ibex.


It is said ‘you are what you eat’, if so the Hunza people even today live a long, active and reasonably healthy life free of many western diseased, obesity and all its associated illnesses being but one, can be used as and example of this.

This diet of fresh, seasonal, organic, pesticide and chemical free foods,  is obtainable even in today’s world through  traditional cooking  the Hunza way.