When you think of Nepal, the food isn’t likely the first thing that comes in mind. To understand more of the cuisine it’s important that you are aware of the geographic position of Nepal between India and China, more specific Tibet. The religion is another factor, you won’t find beef on the menu (unless it’s imported), a cow is holy for Hindu’s (and you could end up in prison for 2 years for killing one) and in area’s with very present Buddhism you mostly have vegetarian options. Add to this a huge amount of tourists and you will probably get the picture. Due to all this factors the cuisine is divers and rich.
The daily basic food for Nepali’s is dal baht, with they eat twice a day and is very nutritious. Rice with lentils, curried veggies and pickles all served up in a big platter with small bowls dividing the ingredients. Pour the dal on the rice and make little balls with your hand if you want to eat like the locals. There are a couple of restaurants where you can try the festival food any day, the chiura or beaten rice is the main ingredient. Order a home brewed rice beer or a lassi to wash it down!
In Bhaktapur you can find Juju Dhau, or King’s Curd, thick creamy yoghurt, famous all over Nepal. It’s made in terracotta pots, so a lot of fluid will evaporate, giving the yoghurt it’s rich texture. All the restaurants there serve it, but the best curd you’ll find east from Durbar Square, in the hole in the wall shops. Look for the beautiful hand painted signs.
There are a lot of Tibetan restaurants spread throughout Nepal.
Examples of Tibetan dishes are thukpa, a comforting noodle soup and the famous momo’s, Tibetan style dumplings. They come steamed, fried or kothey, halve steamed, halve fried. Momo’s are filed with buff (water buffalo), vegetables, chicken or pork, some more special ones with spinach and paneer. Eat them in one piece, you don’t want to spill the delicious flavor packed liquids inside! If you’re lucky, try the Tibetan fondue or gacok, it really gets you ready for cold winter times.
In the dal baht you can already taste the Indian influence, and a lot of restaurants serve Indian dishes such as Masala Dosa and curries. A much eaten dessert in Nepal is kulfi, a sort of thick ice cream found all over the Indian subcontinent. Our favorite is kesar kulfi, with heavenly saffron taste.
Addresses in Nepal
(a lot of places in Nepal don’t have addresses, we give the district they’re in, ask around if you want to get there.)
Yak restaurant, Thamel, Kathmandu
Yanling, Thamel, Kathmandu (best momo’s and beer snacks in town)
Big Bell restaurant, Bhaktapur (delicious momo’s)
Punjabi, Lake side, Pokhara (huge choice of tasty vegetarian dishes)
Newa Chen, Bhaktapur (best place for festival food and rice beer)
Gaule, Sauraha, Chitwan, in the street across KC’s (non touristy, small restaurant, mothers home cooking)
Machhapuchhre organic coffee product, right across Butterfly Lodge, Pokhara (Probably the best coffee in Nepal, they roast their own beans.)
Zibro, Thamel, Kathmandu, above H2O bar (the local youth gathers here, they make good ‘old fashioned’ whisky cocktails)
Have a nice day,
Lore & Wannes