Dal bhat again? What else to eat in Nepal?
You might think Nepali cuisine is only rice, dal and curry. But you are wrong! There are many delicious varieties of Nepali food, particularly in Kathmandu and other towns and villages that have a Newari community.
In this post I will walk you through some of them.
It will not be possible to come to Nepal and not try momo! This is the go to snack for all Nepali people. Little pockets of flour stuffed with meat or vegetables. Usually pork, lamb or chicken is used. You can buy these in the street or in local restaurants. In tourist areas you can find a variety of momo such as cheese and potato and sweet filled. Usually steamed, you can also find deep fried ones or ones that come with a hot soup. They will be accompanied by a spicy pickle on the side.
Where to find – Numerous small restaurants around town. For interesting vegetarian options try Places in Thamel.
This is a traditional Newari food usually eaten during festivals and family gatherings. It’s basically a plate of different items including beaten rice, smoked meat, marinated potatoes, a lentil pancake, and pickles.
Where to find – Any Newari restaurant or The Village Café, Patan.
This rice flour pancake is a Newari dish served at festivals. There is a variety of toppings such as egg, minced meat and vegetables on the basic pancake, so sometimes tourists refer to it as a Newari pizza!
Where to find – Any Newari restaurant, or The Village Café, Patan.
Made from lentil flour, this pancake like dish is very typical to the Kathmandu valley. You can have it plain, with egg or with meat. It comes with a spicy sauce and is a very popular Newari dish.
Where to find – Any Newari restaurant, or The Village Café Patan.
This is basically a barbecue! Marinated meat roasted over a traditional wood fire. The meat can be pork, chicken, goat, or buff.
Where to find – At home, particularly on festivals and Friday nights when men love to cook up a BBQ! You can also find in Newari and other local restaurants, such as Fridays on Lazimpat.
This is a soup made of nine different beans, sprouted. Again it is Newari and eaten mainly at certain festivals. It is considered a healthy food, to cure coughs and colds. It is in fact loaded with protein so there might be something behind the idea!
Where to find – Mainly at home during festivals.
This is basically a farming community food. Coming from the hilly regions, dhendo is essentially a porridge of millet, buckwheat or barley. This very thick porridge like substance is then scooped up and used to soak up curry in the place of rice.
Where to find – In hill communities. If you come across it on a menu on your trek you could try it out. I recommend you order a side of rice as well though!
Primarily bread served during the Dashian and Tihar festivals, this large skinny donut shaped sweetish bread is made of rice flour and sugar. It is then deep fried and best eaten with either curry, or with a cup of sweet tea! Highly recommended!
Where to find – It is now available most of the year round so keep an eye out in local tea shops. You can also buy in the supermarkets. But the best is homemade!
This interesting looking item is more of a confectionary that is prepared by Newari households in the winter. It has an interesting shape and is made out of rice dough. Inside it is filled with sesame paste and molasses. Then steamed. You can imagine that in the past this was a lovely sweet treat.
Where to find – You can also find in the supermarkets although they are nothing like the original homemade ones.
Kheer is not dissimilar to rice pudding that is served in the UK. The rice is cooked on the stove top with milk and spices. Served during festivals, and often if a family member is going on a journey, this is a lovely sweet dish. Served usually with curry!
Where to find – If you are in a homestay you could request this dish. Bearing in mind it uses a lot of milk so you might want to buy some to help out. It is also possible to find in the rest stop restaurants when travelling on intercity buses.
This is more a Tibetan origin dish. Dough filled with spiced meat, formed into a semi circular shape and deep fried. Not dissimilar to a Savoury Cornish Pasty. Eaten with pickle.
Where to find – Any of the Tibetan restaurants around Boudha Stupa.
This is another Tibetan origin dish, now widely served in Nepal. Noodles in a hot soup either vegetarian or with meat.
Where to find – In many tourist and local restaurants and most definitely on your trek!
And There is More…
Naturally these are more dishes for you to try in Nepal. Have your guide take you to a very typical Newari restaurant (Unless you are vegetarian) where you can try all sorts of strange things such as lung, stomach, spinal cord, brains etc. Wash it down with a good quantity of Aila, also known as Roxi (Homemade rice wine).