When it comes to doing a cultural tour of Nepal, discovering its fascinating and delicious cuisine ranks high on the to-do-list. Land-locked right in between India and China, Nepal was defining ‘Asian fusion food’ long before today’s hip and cosmopolitan restaurants. We’ve tried to cut it down to our 5 favourite Nepali dishes but, needless to say, there are a lot more we would have liked to have put in.
First things first, we should probably mention dal bhat. It’s Nepal’s most popular dish and luckily it’s a tasty one. Heavily influenced by the nation’s Indian side this is a meal of a traditional lentil soup often served with rice or bread. (Vegetarian travellers can rejoice!) For anyone travelling who’s scared of spicy food you’ll be pleased to know the Nepalese don’t opt for spice in this dish.
Another dish the Nepalese (and us) love that we had to have on this list is momos. Unlike dal, this dish is influenced by the cuisine to Nepal’s north, with many similarities to Tibetan dumplings. Stuffed with a mixture of vegetables and meat these dumplings are given a Nepali spicy kick and are often served with a chili chutney.
Our Nepal tour stops off in the city of Bhaktapur and you would be mad to leave without trying its juju dhau. This sweetened yoghurt is famously served by the city’s street food stalls in clay pots. It’s made from buffalo milk, giving it a much more creamy and rich flavour than a regular yoghurt. We can also confirm that makes it a whole lot more delicious than a ‘regular yoghurt’.
Anyone who was disappointed to hear about dal’s lack of spice can get their mouth burning with some choila. This is a traditional dish of the Newar people, the historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley. Choila is made up of spiced buffalo meat and normally served along with chiura (beaten rice). It’s often served as a dish in Newari festivals and is an ideal choice for travellers looking for a dish intertwined with Nepali culture.
Last but not least, baara. Another Newari dish, these are the perfect compliment to any food you’re finding a bit too hot on the mouth. Somewhere between a pancake and a pattie, baara are made up of lentils and egg, along with vegetables or meat. If you’re not eating a full meal they can also make for a tasty snack on your tour!