The food in Nepal was a huge surprise for us: absolutely delightful! Of course, we were expecting rich Indian influence, but the cuisine was so much more and the diversity of ingredients and preparations was what really blew us away. We especially loved the Newari cuisine linked to a specific population in the Himalayan region that goes by the same name. As we were hiking, we were also impressed by the consistent cooking talent of locals along the way, all able to cook perfectly spiced traditional dishes even at 4000m! Unfortunately we didn’t get close to the local eating habits, but we only caught glimpses of it.
We prepared a (very summarized) recap of this fantastic journey and all the delicious dishes we had the chance to taste on the way!
Pakhoda – A snack made of potatoes, veggies or paneer dipped in a gram flour batter and deep fried. Crispy and nourishing!
Naan originally come from India, but we must admit that Nepalese have really caught on and have mastered it perfectly! Many shops in the street offer fresh naans made on order, and they are simply mouth-watering. Watching the skilful cook turn it and shape it makes the meal even more enjoyable, not to mention the delicious smell of the naan cooking in the tandoor.
Samay Baji (Newar Set)
There is not one Newari set, there are many possibilities. But the Samay Baji is the one served in every festival or religious activity, and often served to the gods. In all the sets, you can usually find: beaten rice (baji), grilled buffalo meat (choila), roasted cow peas and raw meat (kachilaa). Then side preparations vary and there in a wide variety of them ranging from vegetable curry to tripes, lungs, livers, greens and pickles. This set is really unique to the region and the flavours come close to nothing we have tasted before. It is delicious, rich and delicate, and it was obvious from the beginning that it would make its way to the top.
Dhal bat, the staple Nepali dish composed of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup accompanied by a wide range of delicious side preparations, also astonished us by its creativity and taste.
It’s worth to mention that the way Nepali master Chow Mein, a fried noodle recipe originally from China, made a big impression on us.
Rich in taste and with a thick consistency, the Juju Dhau, a yoghurt from Baktapur, is simply irresistible! Interestingly, it also symbolises purity in religious ceremonies.