Nepal is a multi-ethnic country with different cultures and lifestyles. Its rich and diverse ethnic groups and cultures make a wide variety of Nepali cuisine. When you first encounter traditional Nepali food, their variety may dazzle you.
The geographic location determined the types of Nepalese cuisines. Rice is the staple food in most areas of Nepal, however, the staple food of the people in mountainous areas is mainly corn, millet, and buckwheat. Besides, its own authentic cuisine, some Nepalese dishes are inspired and influenced by the food culture of neighboring countries such as India and Tibet.
In addition, every community has its own rich Nepali food culture. For example, Newari is an indigenous community in Kathmandu, which has a wide variety of dishes and almost 200 kinds of cuisines.
Nepalese Food Recommendation
The food of Nepal is rich in nutrients and healthy compared to other Asian food due to less oil and more vegetable usage. Since most Nepalese eat little or no breakfast before going to work or school, their lunch is rich and healthy. In the afternoon, they have snacks (khaja), which can be traditional or fusion cuisine. Then have dinner.
Dal Bhat Tarkari
Dal Bhat Tarkari is a staple food of Nepal and is the national dish. Its name includes three parts. Dal refers to lentil soup, bhat refers to rice, and tarkari refers to curried vegetables.
Dal Bhat Tarkari is usually served with kimchi and chutney. Some restaurants offer kinds of this cuisine, such as Veg Thali (dal bhat and vegetables for vegetarians), Chicken Thali (dal bhat, vegetable and curried chicken), and Mutton Thali (vegetable and curried mutton).
And Takaris is an ethnic minority living in the mountains and they make the best Dal Bhat Tarkari, which is good taste and cooking style.
Newari Khaja Set or Samay Baji
Newari Khaja or Samay Baji, in simpler terms, is the famous snack khaja. During Niwari family gatherings and festival celebrations, there are many dishes like this. So this Nepal traditional food is becoming a regular snack for everyone.
Samay Baji includes chiura (mashed rice), choila (spicy meat in marinade), bara (lentil pancakes), black-eyed peas, boiled eggs, spicy kimchi, tempeh with ginger sauce, hot sauce (curried potato and bamboo shoot), and green vegetables. Newari restaurants offer the best Khaja set menu.
Dhindo, a kind of polenta, cook with cornflour and buckwheat.
Since rice and wheat cultivation are not popular in the upper reaches, people in most areas eat Dhido. Therefore, it is a popular Nepalese traditional food after the Dal Bhat, serving with local kukhura ko jhol (curried chicken), green vegetables, kimchi, curried vegetables, and gundruk ko jhol (dried fermented leafy vegetables). And it is rich in nutrients and is a very healthy diet.
In Nepal, there’re almost no restaurants that don’t offer momo. No matter where you go, you can find momos. Like Chinese dumplings, momo is a kind of food with various fillings wrapped in dough.
Although potato Momo is a specialty of Tibet, it has become the most popular food of Nepal and a national delicacy after improvements with Nepalese spices. It steams or half-steam and half-fry, serving with tomato and sesame sauce.
Jhol Momo (momos dipped into the spicy chutney) and Cold Momo(momos dipped into spicy gravy chutney) are also very famous. The stuffing can be vegetables, meat (chicken, butter, pork, lamb, etc.), milk tofu, cheese, etc.
Kwati is a soup that mixes nine different types of sprouted beans. It is very healthy and delicious. This is a ceremonial dish.
It includes black soybeans, mung beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, kidney beans, cowpeas, rice beans, and peas. The beans will soak for 3 to 4 days until they sprout, and then cook with various spices to make a soup. People believe that the scent of Kwati would ward off the cold brought by the monsoon.
Laphing was originally “bean jelly”, meaning chilled noodles. This is a favorite dish for people who like super spicy food. There are many restaurants near Bodhnath Stupa and Tibetan camps serving laphing. There’re two kinds of laphing, regular and soup. Lapling will ignite your taste buds and give you an unusual flavor experience.
In the past, it was difficult to buy these drinks and food in commercial hotels and restaurants. But with the development of the food industry, you can easily buy them now as you just need to go to the right place, whether it’s a high-end restaurant, a simple local restaurant, or a small street shop.
Wish you a happy and delicious food journey!