Kathmandu cravings: Top Nepal foods you can’t miss

Food in Nepal

Nepal is an ethnically and culturally diverse country, and one outcome of this is that there is an impressive array of local cuisine. Nepalese food has been strongly influenced by both India and Tibet, and in places like Kathmandu there is a growing interest in western dishes. Much of the local cuisine (particularly from the Himalayan region) can taste a bit bland if people are used to spicy or savory food, but the diet in Nepal receives a good deal of praise for its health giving properties.

Nepalise Cuisine combines a range of ingredients, techniques and characteristics from its neighboring countrie,s with its own gastronomic history.

Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the people of Nepal have many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and this multitude of influences is reflected within the country’s cuisine. Nepalese dishes are generally healthier than most other South Asian cuisine, relying less on using fats and more on chunky vegetables, lean meats, pickled ingredients and salads. Whilst Nepal does take heavy influences from its closest geographical companions such as India, China and Tibet, this mountainous country only opened up its borders to outsiders in the 1950s. This factor, in addition to transport and trade difficulties Nepal’s geographical setting, has maintained a focus on using locally grown produce.

The Kathmandu Valley is a dusty jungle of motorbikes, temples and tourists.

It’s also the best place on earth to sample authentic Nepalese cuisine.
Not yet popular on the international scene, Nepalese cuisine is defined by its lentil soups, lean non-creamy curries and famous momos: Tibetan-style dumplings made with Indian spices.
Want to try yak curry or buffalo steak? That’s Nepalese food, too.
If some of the dishes feel familiar, it’s with good reason. Most creations here have their roots in Tibetan, Indian and Thai staples, but over time have been infused with an unmistakable Nepalese twist.

Dal Bhat is the National Dish of Nepal

The nearest thing to a national dish in Nepal would be dal bhat. The basic ingredients of this are rice and lentil soup. Many Nepalese will eat dal bhat twice a day. There are many different versions of this meal, but the most popular is dal bhat tarkari which also comes with curried vegetables.

Local Cuisine in Kathmandu

Modern Kathmandu is home to many ethnic groups, but the indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley are the Newar (Newa). The Newar have their own cuisine which is said to consist of about 200 dishes. A Tibet and Chinese influence is obvious in their food. They also have foods that a similar to western dishes such as:

  • Chatamari is a popular snack. It is similar to pizza.
  • Swo is similar to Scottish haggis.
  • Yanghu yi hau is similar to the white pudding that is popular in the UK at breakfast time.
  • Choee tastes like salami.

Gorkhali Lamb

Another winter favorite, Gorkhali lamb is an intense and filling curry dish. The curry is chunky and involves slow cooking the lamb (often lamb chops), adding chunky potatoes and roughly chopped onions. For more flavor, the lamb is often grilled and sealed with a chili mixture before being transferred to the sauce. Rice makes a nice addition to the finished dish, but sometimes a good Gorkhali curry is best when scooped up with some roti. For a selection of curries from Newari and Nepalese cuisine, many visitors head to Nepali Chulo in Kathmandu, which has become famous for its live cultural shows and traditional Nepalese food.

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