Best Foods in Kathmandu you Absolutely Have to Try
Have you ever wondered how many types of food are there in the World? I bet you didn’t wonder just to the moment. To your surprise, the answer is uncountable!! With 500 types of different plants, more than 100 types of meats, thousands of herbs, and millions of spices, the number of foods you can prepare from it is countless.
Over the year, food has been an identity of a specific location that works as a bridge to connect travelers with the local culture, historical background, and the availability of natural ingredients of the place. No matter where you travel in the World, there is something else in the tastes of the street foods that is unbeaten by the elegantly presented restaurant meal. However, there are times of disappointment when you order a dish without even knowing their names and ingredients and regretted later.
To help you avoid the awkward situation on your next Nepal visit, we will guide you on what to eat and drink on this blog, Top 10 foods to try in Kathmandu. Here we have included the famous Nepali dishes, including the street foods that are flavor blasted with the rich spices and ingredients from across the country lodged in Kathmandu.
Know how to prepare some delicious Nepali dishes with us Typical Nepali Food Cooking Class
The city of temples and getaway to the Mountains, Kathmandu is the center for major happenings in the country. With people from different parts of the country inhabiting the city, Kathmandu is a hub for delicious local cuisine and major festivals. Although the Nepalese cuisine is not recognized in the International level as that of Indian and Chinese cuisines, Nepal has plenty of dishes that will melt your heart in the first place. So let's dig in and get lost in the rich flavors of Nepal, starting right away with the famous foods that Nepal offers.
Delicious Local Nepali Cuisine:
With majority of Newar's inhabiting the city, Kathmandu has plenty of local cuisine to enjoy on your Nepal visit. From a plate full Samaya Baji to the Nepali Pizza, Chatamari, all you can do is drool upon the tales of the unique Nepali flavors.
Find the full details on the Nepali food list below:
Thakali Khana Set:
Dal Bhat Power 24 hours as they say in Nepal, Dal Bhat and Tarkari is the staple food that Nepalese savor twice a day. Other than the regular Nepali Dal Bhat, the Thakali Khana originated from Mustang consists of rice, lentils, and vegetables with meat (chicken or mutton) for non-vegetarians together with spicy fried potatoes, spinach, offered with Timur and hot chili pepper as condiments.
Popular for the rich flavors, the Thakali Khana set utilizes local resources such as ghee, garlic, Jimbu, Timur, and dried red chili to enhance the taste and color of the regular meal. The long grain Basmati rice served with the creamy lentil soup fragranced by the wild Himalayan herb, and freshly prepared tomato pickle is believed to make you hungry just with the aroma.
You can also opt for the Dhido, a Himalayan staple food prepared from the bucket wheat served with the same side dishes together with Gundruk ko Aachar. With all the main dish and side dishes served on your table, don't forget to spread melted ghee on the top of Dhido or rice before you relish in the unique taste of the Nepali dish.
✔ Cost: NPR 600 to 700
✔ Where to eat: Dal Bhat Nepali Kitchen, Lazimpat Road
The Nepalese love for MOMO has no bound, and hence the madness can be seen at every corner of the street with a banner that says, MOMO is available here. Also known as dumplings and dim sum in some places, MOMO is a steam bun, filled with minced vegetables and meat fillings. Usually served with Tomato based chutney, a single plate MOMO is never enough for MOMO delighters.
Nepal has been serving a wide variety of MOMO ranging from Chocolate Momo, Sadheko Momo, Kothey Momo, Open Momo, Tandoori Momo, and Chilly Momo to the juicy Steam Momo over the year. The tempting MOMO pieces when dipped into the surprisingly rich taste of the chutney, the combination goes beyond yum, making you fall in love with the dish repeatedly until your stomach says I am full, jokes apart. Leaving Kathmandu without rejoicing the taste of MOMO will surely make your trip incomplete. So do try these bundles of flavors on your next visit.
✔ 10 MOMO (at smaller stalls) - NPR 80-110
✔ In restaurants - NPR 150 to NPR 200
✔ Where to eat: Shandaar Momo, Basantpur Durbar Square
Samaya Baji is an authentic Newari dish consisting of many items served on a single plate. A typical plate of Samaya Baji includes Baji (beaten rice), Haku Musya (black soybean), Choila (smoked meat), Puka-la (spicy roasted meat), Bhuti (boiled beans with spices), Khen (boiled egg), Bara (black lentil pancake), Pickle, Aalu acha (boiled marinated potato) and many more each having a varied taste and compositions that is unique to your palate.
Although the dish was mainly prepared during festivals and family get-together in the past, at present, you can find this delicious and appetizing full course meal on many local restaurants of the town. Many of the food items included in Samay Baji represent good luck, prosperity, fortune, health and longevity.
Are you wondering how it actually tastes? You will not know until you come and try it yourself.
Also called Nepali Pizza, Chatamari is a local Newari dish prepared from the rice flour batter. The close association of the meal with Pizza is because of its crunchy crust and the rich toppings ranging from eggs to minced chicken or buffalo meat, together with the freshly chopped tomato, onion, and coriander leaves added on the top. Nowadays, you can find many small eateries in Kathmandu serving this tempting snack seasoned with unique Nepalese spices and cheese.
✔ Cost: NPR 150 (depends on the fillings you choose)
✔ Where to eat: Jhigu Bhoe Chhen, Amrit Marg, Kathmandu
Sel Roti, Nepali Doughnut:
The Nepali doughnut, Sel roti is a sweetened rice flour that is deep-fried until reddish brown in color. The ring-shaped sweet bread has a crispy texture and is eaten as breakfast or the afternoon snack in many households. Prepared by grinding the soaked rice to create a thick batter, it is mixed with sugar, and ghee and later poured into the bubbling oil till deep fried, to make it crunchy and crispy. The crunchy taste of the Roti makes this a delightful snack and is available in the sweet shops around Kathmandu. Hindus also prepare the Sel Roti in major events like Marriage, and festivals like Dashain and Tihar as a Prasad for the God and Goddesses.
✔ Cost: NPR 10-20 per piece
✔ Where to eat: Bakeries along Guna Kamadev Marg
Let's relish in the exotic taste of Nepali cuisine.
Popular Street Foods in Nepal
Finding the best street foods in the alleys of Kathmandu can be challenging if you are not very adventurous. Stumbling down the backstreet of Kathmandu, and finding a place where the local eats is an absolute joy as you can enjoy the cuisines with locals, exploring the ingredients and distinctive taste of the dish. So let’s find your favorite one from the list below:
No matter if, it's raining or a cold day in the winter, no Nepali will walk past Indrachowk without drinking the famous Indrachowk ko Lassi. Although there are plenty of shops in the valley selling Lassi, no one can beat the taste of the Lassi available in Indrachowk. The Indrachowk's sweet lassi is rich and creamy, with perfect sweetness highlighted by the extra toppings of raisins, pistachio and cashew nuts. Prepared by mixing thick curd with water and sugar, the Lassi is served chilled. However, since this is street food, you will have to stand on the queue first and then enjoy its incredible taste by standing along with the locals.
✔ Small glass - NPR 50-60
✔Big glass - NPR 110-120
✔Where to buy: Janakpur Dahi Lassi Bhandar, Indra Chowk.
The Nepali BBQ meat, also known as Sekuwa is another tasty street food available in Kathmandu. Unlike other dishes, a typical sekuwa shop is hard to find until you hit your way towards the Basantapur Durbar Square. The Sekuwa served in the shops can vary from mutton, chicken, pork or buffalo meat. The raw meat is roasted in a natural wood fire following the Nepalese country style after mixing the meat with natural herbs and spices that adds the aromatic taste. The sekuwa is usually served with Baji and Achar. Get yourselves a chilled beer and enjoy the heavenly taste of the Sekuwa.
✔ Cost: NPR 100 per plate
Sold along the roadside, Panipuri is definitely something one craves at the end of the day. The crispy fried dough balls stuffed with a mixture of potato, onion, and chickpeas is drenched in the spicy mint flavored water to let one enjoy the divine taste of the stuffed Puri and flavorful water. Apart from the tasty Panipuri you can also opt for Dahi puri. Dahi puri has the same base of that of Pani Puri including the potato, chickpeas and onion, however in the place of water, it uses drizzled yogurt, coriander leaves and seasoned cumin as a toppings to give you sweet and spicy taste at the end.
✔ Cost: NPR 50-100 per plate
Originated from India, Samosa is another much-loved Nepali snack. Although this dish is available in most of the sweet shops of Kathmandu, nothing matches the taste of the Tip Top tailors. The flour dough stuffed with mashed potato, peas, onions and other spices gives you crunchy bites once they are deep-fried in the oil. The taste of the Samosa comes out lively when dipped in the sweet tomato chutney. Apart from the chutney, the Samosa tastes best with a hot cup of tea in a rainy day. Grab it and munch in the taste of the heavenly rich fritters.
✔Cost: NPR 30 per piece
✔ Where to eat: Tip Top Sweets, New Road
Aloo Chop or Potato fritters:
Potato is something that is mixed up in almost every dish of Nepal. From Panipuri to Samosa, all we do is stuff potato and make it a delicious snack to rejoice. Aloo Chop or Potato fritters is another most loved snacks of Nepal. Sold in the alley around the Durbar Square area and New Road, Aloo chop is prepared by mixing the mashed potatoes with spices, coriander leaves and chickpeas and then dipped into the Gram flour batter to deep fry. The chop is deep-fried until the color changes to golden brown. Served with chutney or ketchup, it is a scrumptious snack enjoyed by every Nepalese.
✔ Cost: NPR 40 per plate
✔ Where to eat:
Explore Nepal in a way you never did, with a food hunt around the busy streets of the city on your next Nepal visit. We hope this food blog will help you choose what to eat in Kathmandu during your stay.
FAQ on Nepalese Foods in Nepal:
1) What is the famous food in Nepal?
▪ The staple food, Dal bhat is the famous food in Nepal as Nepalese savor them twice a day. However MOMO, Samosa, Panipuri and other Newari cuisines are also equally loved by the Nepalese.
2) Is Nepalese food healthy?
▪ Nepalese foods is believed to be healthier than the South Asian cuisine solely with the fact that Nepalese use more vegetables, lean meats, herbs, pickled ingredients and salads in their meals.
3) What are the Traditional foods of Nepal?
▪ The traditional Nepalese foods includes the Dhido, Dal Bhat, Sel Roti, Chatamari, Yomari, Bara, Gundruk, Juju Dhau, and many more.
4) What is the difference between Indian and Nepalese food?
▪ Although there is a close proximity between the Indian and Nepalese foods because of the open borders, the Nepalese food is healthier in many ways than that of India, as Nepalese minimize the use of spices and cream and maximize the use of vegetables and fresh ingredients to cook the meals.
5) What is Nepali Thali?
▪ Nepali Thali is a combination of the staple food of the country consisting of rice, lentil, vegetable, pickle and meat for the non-vegetarians. The full board meal is served on a brass plate with side dishes added elegantly in the bowl.
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