FoodIssue 3Nepal

Must try food when in Nepal

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.

Chyola, one of the popular Newari foods. Photo: Sudeep Singh

Chyola, one of the popular Newari foods. Photo: Sudeep Singh

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

Egg bara, other popular Newari dish. Photo: Sudeep Singh

Egg bara, one of the popular newari dishes. Photo: Sudeep Singh

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.

 

Old Tibetan woman making yarn. Photo: Sudeep Singh
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Amar B Shrestha

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6 Comments

  1. Edward Waight
    August 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm — Reply

    As a coeliac , and therefore unable to eat gluten foods, are there foods to avoid. I se the porridge Dheedo has wheat in it , but most others seem OK.
    I want to go to Nepal about the end of September 2017 but wary of the food.
    Any advice, please Ted .

  2. shubha
    February 20, 2017 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    Before serving curd they serve mee:(fenugreek soup) & paau: (sweet n sour pickle made from lapsi) & finally u also missed to mention takha also known as thal thale.

  3. shreeya shrestha
    August 31, 2016 at 8:20 pm — Reply

    Proud being newar .. Yeyy varieties of food we have everyone must try .. But my favorite is yomari and bara .

  4. Mohit kansaria
    July 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm — Reply

    Nepal is my second homeland .when i go to Nepal i always eat newari khaja (food) twice a week . It tastes really good .Its really awesome . Loving it .

  5. Niraj
    June 12, 2016 at 7:46 pm — Reply

    Saa pu: Mhichaa:, bulla is missing. :). And is Sel, Malpuwa found on other countries ? Found out even many newars hasn’t heard about Bulla.

  6. Sunder B. Shrestha
    May 16, 2016 at 7:54 pm — Reply

    First and foremost thing is while serving the items (dishes) need to be properly named. For example the it’s served in Newark feast (jho bhoye) need to be used in specofic Newari words for the specific itrms.like alu chhon, dayekala, siala or pukala,sonsiya or snopuka, mesiya or mepuka etc.
    Somilarly, other dishes like chhoela kachila,lawo khenwo etc. are served in samaya or in alacarta dishes.
    I thik, it is better to name the items their literal names.

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