A Nepalese Namaste
Kathmandu; Namaste from Nepal!
You’re probably wondering why on earth FooDiva has descended on Nepal…well believe it or not, you can eat like a king in the capital Kathmandu, thanks to the influx of international travellers over the years. Restaurants literally offer cuisine from around the world…aside from Nepal, you have Tibet, China, India, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, Italy, France and the Middle East. Sounds a tad like Dubai…but is it good quality or not? Let’s find out.
It would be rude not to start off with Nepali cuisine which we will, but most local restaurants offer a mix of Nepali and Newari cuisine. Historically, the Kathmandu valley was the home of the Newars, a mixed tribe of Indian and Tibetan-Burman roots. So most of what you experience in Nepal today is actually of Newari origin. And just to complicate the local cuisine even more, Nepali dishes tend to be vegetarian thanks to the Hindu population, whereas the Newars are great meat eaters. Indeed something for everyone.
It’s been a heady 24 hours, but here’s what I’ve tasted so far:
Dal Jhaneko – yellow lentils cooked in garlic and cumin seeds – best served with organic brown rice.
Mas Ko Dal – black lentils with purified butter and herbs.
I am a huge fan of traditional Indian dal (in that lovely buttery makhani), and I’ll be honest neither of these two match up, but you must still try it, so opt for the healthier yellow lentils.
Alu Tareko – fried potatoes.
These are wedge-sliced potatoes sauteed with spring onions, green peppers, spring onions and chilli of course. Real comfort food – seventh heaven!
Momos – traditional Nepali steamed dumplings (in my case stuffed with chicken mince) with a spicy tomato relish.
Clearly no rival to Chinese dim sum, but if you want a snack you’ll find them everywhere – they come with lamb mince, as well as a veggie option.
Kilgore Ko Ledo – chicken cooked in rich gravy with herbs and every spice under the sun – served with basmati rice.
A dish that’s not really worth blogging home about…
You’ll find plenty of Nepali/ Newari restaurants around town – here’s the two I’ve tried so far.
Thamel House Restaurant – in a beautifully restored 19th century Newari building in the heart of hippie Thamel. Either opt for traditional low seating indoors or dine al fresco in the courtyard.
Kantipur Temple House – a small hotel built in Newari-temple style (and my home for four days) located at the edge of the old town. The restaurant’s dishes are mostly organic – a FooDiva favourite.
Dining out, even in deluxe surroundings is ridiculously cheap here – five dishes for AED 50! Imported wine won’t break the bank either.
Gotta dash – FooDiva has to be up at at the crack of dawn for a flight over Mount Everest. I’ll be back with some international tastings, and a low down on the cultural hot spots.