Attending a traditional Newari feast (lapate bhoye) in Kathmandu is one of the best ways to try Newari food. In fact, the Newar cuisine is famed in the country for its range of different dishes.
At a lapate bhoye, all the guests sit on long, narrow straw mats (sukuls) facing each other. A lapate (leaf plate) is placed before each guest, accompanied by a pala (small clay bowl). The eldest are served first, and the feast begins with two handfuls of baji (beaten rice) followed by curries like gainda gudi (a mix of different lentils), hariyo saag (green spinach), and alu tama (curry of potatoes and bamboo shoots). Alu tama has a unique aroma and you’ll surely love its taste. Spicy achaar (pickles) follow: alu kerau is a spicy mixture of radish, potatoes, and green and small brown peas, and tamatar ko achaar which is a ripe tomato pickle. Now that the groundwork has been prepared, the buffalo meat curry is served and the guests will start eating. The feast is on.
More dishes follow in succession. These include a selection of a dozen or so tasty morsels of meat from different parts of the animal. Hakuchoila (broiled spiced ground meat), senla mu (liver that’s steamed and then sautéed), swanpuka (lungs stuffed and fried), bhuttan (fried intestine and other abdominal parts), and mainh (fried pieces of tongue) are some of the tongue tingling dishes that you might be served. While these delectable tidbits are being served, someone else will be busy pouring aila (homemade liquor) into your pala.
The next item on the menu is something called chhuse musse that is a mix of raw carrot, radish, cucumber, onion, and tomato slices, and soaked peas. Towards the end of the feast, a handful of beaten rice is again served, followed by yogurt and some sweetmeats. The yogurt served at such feasts will probably be from Bhaktapur, known famously as juju dhau (king curd). It is really delicious yogurt. That’s dessert and signifies the end of the lapate bhoye.
Here are some must try Newari foods:
Alu tama: curry made of potatoes and bamboo shoots
Hakuchoila: spiced ground meat, broiled
Senla mu: liver, steamed and sautéed
Swanpuka: lungs filled and fried
Bhuttan: fried intestine and other abdominal parts
Mainh: tongue pieces, fried
Juju dhau: delicious curd made in Bhaktapur
Besides these, there are many other delicacies that you might want to try out:
Masyoura: black lentils and shredded vegetables that are sun dried and used to make tasty curry
Mamacha (Momo): meat dumplings, practically the new staple food of Nepal
Chatamari: rice pancake which can have different toppings
Bara: lentil based fried doughnut type snack
Wo: another lentil based cake type snack
Kinema: a popular dish of the eastern hills, made from fermented soybean
Khatte: a dish of the hills that is popular for breakfast, made from brown rice
Poko: also from the hills, juicy and with a sweet and sour taste and slightly alcoholic, aromatic flavor
Dheedo: a porridge-like substance made from maize and wheat
Gundruk: made from dried leafy green vegetables that are slightly fermented
Sinki: pickle of fermented root parts of carrots; goes with dheedo gundruk
Most of these dishes are quite unique to Nepal and should feature in your list of must try foods when visiting Nepal.