If there is something that connects people together, be it in a new or a known environment, it is food. “Foodies” are what they call themselves who go in a splurge to experience as much as possible when it comes to eating. And when it comes to eating, the food culture of a place brings people out and then brings them together.
The food culture of Nepal, in that manner, is to have the type of taste that stays in your mind even after we enjoy our meals whole-heartedly. And what our culturally rich country can offer you on a plate will get your taste buds tingling, and your mouths watering. So let’s continue reading to see what there is in Nepal’s platter of food.
1. Dal Bhat
This is a given. It is what we Nepalese eat every single day. Dal Bhat is an everyday food palate which is rice, lentils with a variety of fresh vegetables and pickles. It has your necessary protein and carbohydrate on a single dine.
The side dishes are different according to the regions of the country. But most of the meals consist of some form of rice alongside any type of lentils, with vegetables of choice and season. It is the heart of the meals one consumes in a day, without which Nepalese stomach feels sort of empty.
2. Aloo Tama
Usually eaten with beaten rice, this delicious curry dish is made out of bamboo shoots, potatoes, and black-eyed beans. Aloo Tama is usually eaten on festivities, but it is also made on normal days usually in Newari households. The strong smell of the tasty flavours will make you want to have more of this soupy dish. And because it is a soupy dish, it goes well with rice or beaten rice.
Most commonly called “Nepali Pizza”, this rice-crepe like dish has the most famous fillings of meat, onions, tomatoes, chillies, cilantro which is sometimes topped with eggs. You can omit the eggs if you’d like. The rice crepe is just cooked on one side, and the spice level can be adjusted as well.
And with every crunchy bite of it, you can taste a burst of savoury flavours and different textures of the fillings. It is such a quick and tasty bite of snack that one opts to try as much as different fillings as they can.
Momo has quickly become one of the staple food items in our country. There is also this saying that one goes to a restaurant, scans the menu, but asks for a plate of momo eventually. That is how much Nepalese dive into a plate of momo.
It is this tasty bite-sized dumpling with the filling of minced meat or vegetables, alongside a dipping sauce that will leave your taste buds satisfied. The variety in which type of meat gets used, dipping sauce and simply how you’d like to have it (steam, fry, with soup) works in every season. Any season is momo-season for Nepalese and the buzz of having momos on a chilly day totally adds to the feel of the day.
It is a very sought for a light snack that people enjoy to the max nowadays. It is a savoury and spicy cold noodle dish with gravy made of soy sauce, vinegar, and dried chillies. And although it comes from Tibet originally, it has taken its concrete space in the hearts of Kathmandu, Boudhha first.
The noodles can also be stuffed with fillings and rolled into bite-size pieces. The choices range from potato chips to crushed instant noodles. The newest addition to the filling is minced meat. It can be consumed in both dry and soup versions, which will definitely stimulate your taste palate.
6. Newari Khaja set
Like the name, it is a set of Newari food items which is usually served on festivals and occasions. The filling palate consists of beaten rice, potatoes, black-eyed beans, minced buffalo meat, pickled leafy vegetables, Aloo Tama, and pickles. It is a feast of a dine and the variety in the food items, from pickles to other vegetables, will make you hungry by just looking at it.
But you shouldn’t underestimate how filling this feast can be. Because the base of this Khaja set ie beaten rice and it can satisfy your hunger. And the array of other food viands accompanying it will take you through a Newari feast.
7. Sel roti
It is a sweet, deep-fried ring-shaped rice bread which is usually accompanied by tea. Sel roti is such a significant part of our main festival Tihar, which is a quintessential food item prepared for the festivity. Other than that, it is also eaten as a snack on regular days.
On the inside, it is this smooth rice filling and on the outside, there is this crunchy bite that awaits to awaken your sweet tooth cravings. It tastes best when is served hot, and with tea and it is a must try for those who have a thing for sugar cravings.
8. Dahi Chiura
This translates to curd and beaten rice. It is usually eaten to cool down your palate because the refreshing and cool curd mixed with beaten rice that fills your stomach is a great combination to have. It not only cools you down, but it also is a stomach-filling food item.
On the Nepali calendar dated Asar 15 every year, Nepalese household eats Dahi Chiura while the celebration of rice planting takes place. It has its nutritional value which helps the tired farmers to boost their energy that gets used up while planting the crops.
If Chatamari is called Nepali Pizza, then Bara is called Nepali pancake. It is also a snack, which is made out of turning lentils into a batter and pan-frying it with other fillings of your choice. You could add minced meat or egg as well.
And Bara is also a food item that is made when celebrations like birthdays and weddings take place in Newar household. It is not just a nutritious snack, but the variation of onions, tomatoes, and chillies make it even tastier than with the original lentil version of it.
This dish is also for those who prefer sweetness because this is a steamed dumpling shaped like figs with the fillings of molasses (Chaku in Nepali) and sesame seeds. For the sweeter tooth, one can also use the filling of khoa (Khuwa in Nepali) mixed with sugar and raisins and anything that makes the taste sweeter.
It is such an important food item for Nepal, as there is even a festival named after the food delicacy, called Yomari Punhi. And the day’s significance is making this delicacy and sharing it with loved ones.
With this, comes the end of our must-eat food list for today. But the list doesn’t stop here. There is so much more left for the food explorers to know about. Let us know if you’d like to have more insights on the food list or join us as our guest.
And now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of what Nepal can offer, will you try it for yourself and come back to tell us about your food experience?
We can guarantee you this one thing about our food recommendations – it will definitely be an exciting journey for you to let your foodie side loose. So are you ready to indulge in the list?