Nepal is known for its variety of culturally distinct delicacies. These Nepalese cuisines are a blend of distinct flavors and enrich you with the ultimate Nepali experience. They are close to people’s culture and sentiments as most of them have hundreds of thousands of year-old recipes.
Nepalese cuisines are an obvious example of how one’s culture has endured and maintained its authenticity. Domestic, as well as foreign travelers, love to experience these cuisines that reflect Nepal’s ethnic, cultural, climatic, and geographical diversity. Meals here are exceptionally wholesome, nutritious, and flavorsome because of the use of local herbs and spices.
Nepalese cuisines are a must to tick off your bucket list. Here is a list of popular dishes and meals that come under Nepalese cuisine that you definitely shouldn’t miss:
Dal Bhat is a constant staple of every Nepali kitchen that is both nutritious and filling. It is a medley of rice, lentil soup, pickles, curry, meat, and vegetables of your choice, and for dessert, you are served with a sweet curd or yogurt. Pour some warm melted ‘Gheu’ aka ghee on top of the rice and we assure you that you won’t be satisfied with just one serving.
It is a profoundly gratifying meal with balanced flavors that even foreigners can live up to. The energy-packed meal is the most consumed meal by climbers, hikers, and trekkers in preparation for their long journey. Lastly, you can’t experience Nepal to the fullest if you don’t devour Nepali Dal Bhat, sitting among the locals, using your hand instead of a spoon to eat this hefty, delicious meal.
It has long been debated whether momo or dal bhat is the national dish. Momo, commonly known as “Tibetan Dumplings”, has long been the nation’s favorite dish. They are readily available in all chowks and corners and are commonly consumed by Nepalese with utter satisfaction.
The best feeling is when you have a warm bowl of momo in the rainy evening or a cold winter, enjoying every bit as you appreciate the beauty of the cultural atmosphere that Nepal brings you.
Varieties of momos are available in momo hubs such as Chicken momo, Buff momo, Veg momo (fillings of vegetables, paneer, Khuwa etc.), Kothey momo, C momo, Jhol momo etc. The best part about Nepalese momo is the achaar (spice/pickle) it is served with, which enhances its taste even more.
If you ever travel to any place in Nepal, you should definitely try the momos. For your information, you won’t have any problem finding momos on any restaurant’s menu.
Samaya Baji, the ethnic food of the Newar community, presents you with such a variety of dishes on a single plate that it will leave you mesmerized. The dish has been passed on through generations and caterers the authentic taste of Newari culture.
Traditionally served on auspicious occasions and festivities of the Newari community, this meal is no less than a feast that celebrates all kinds of flavours. The platter consists of multiple items such as beaten rice (baji), pickle, boiled eggs, soybeans, spicy barbecued buffalo meat (chhoiyla), bara, aalu tama, etc. Then you will be served with sweets like rasbari and creamy crude as a desert. To complete your Samaya Baji experience, don’t miss out on the local alcoholic beverages made of rice called Aila and sweet rice beer known as Chyaang.
This dish is available in many Kathmandu eateries, including Lahana and Sasa Twa, where you can enjoy it while sitting on a sukul (nepali cushion). For a local experience, you can always stroll around the Kathmandu area, Patan area, or Bhaktapur area in search of local restaurants.
If you love non-veg dishes and spicy food items, you definitely need to try Samaya Baji. Even vegetarians can enjoy this wholesome meal as many restaurants provide vegetarian options as well.
Are you a big pancake fan?
If so, then you can’t miss trying Bara in Nepal. This protein-packed pancake-like dish is made by grinding lenient to make the batter. To add more flavour, it is served with achaar (pickle sauce) to give it a spicy and tangy twist. You can also have toppings of minced meat or egg, based on your choice.
Bara is mostly made during the ‘’Sithi Nakha’ festival of the Newari people. However, due to its popularity and taste, it is a common dish in Newari restaurants in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. Bara is a light dish and is devoured in the form of a snack.
If you are in Nepal, gear up for the pizza-lover in you. But with a Nepali twist.
Yes, you heard it right! Chatamari, famously called pizza in Nepal for its round shape, is made of rice-flour crepe and topped with minced meat, eggs, fresh coriander, chilies, and spices. The toppings add an exotic look and taste to the rice-flour batter. It is a widely popular snack in Newari households.
Yomari is a popular dessert in the Newari community. It is made especially during the festival of Yomari Punhi. The wintertime festival signifies the completion of the rice harvest. Yomari is a traditional dish made up of rice flour stuffed with “chaaku” (traditional Nepali jaggery sweet) or “khuwa” (milk thickened by heating). Rice flour is used to prepare a dough and the dough is stuffed with a thick, consistent paste of Chaaku or Khuwa, giving a pointed-dumpling-like appearance.
If you have a sweet tooth, you will definitely enjoy this heavenly food. Yomari is very time-consuming and highly challenging to make. Not all Newari restaurants serve it, but you may find it on the streets of Indrachowk, Patan, and Bhaktapur.
Sel Roti is one of the most sought-after dishes in Nepal, especially during Tihar/Dipawali. It is made up of rice flour, ghee/oil, and sugar and is prepared by deep frying the batter of rice flour, giving it a ring shape.
The crispy and sweet dish is served with Aalu ko Achaar and other veggies, or you can simply have it for breakfast as you can dip the Sel Roti in your warm, aromatic tea, for a perfect light morning delight.
During celebrations like Maghe Sankranti, puja, weddings, Bratabandha, etc., Sel Roti is a go-to item on the food menu. Apart from celebrations and festivities, Sel Roti can be eaten in local restaurants in Nepal for breakfast and lunch.
Dhindo and Gundruk
Dhindo is a traditional cuisine prepared by cooking millet flour, wheat flour, buckwheat flour, or maize flour in hot water. It is a nutrient-rich diet in rural areas, mainly in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Dhindo is served with pickles, vegetable curries, and meat. Ghee can be added to enhance the taste of Dhindo.
More than anything else, Gundruk is the best side dish for Dhindo. Gundruk is prepared by fermenting leafy green vegetables such as mustard, radish, spinach, and cauliflower. You will enjoy Dhindo with either Gundruk ko Jhol (boiled form) or Gundruk ko Achar (pickle form).
If not served with Dhindo, Gundruk can be relished with rice and beaten rice.
Nepal has more to offer in terms of food and cuisines. You can’t miss Juju Dhau when you are around Bhaktapur Durbar Square. You should try Ghongi when you are exploring the Tharu villages of Nepal. Khapsey is widely consumed in Tamang and Gurung communities during Lhosar. Lhaping, a Tibetan dish, has recently gained popularity among Nepalese. And, the list continues. These Nepalese cuisines are the country’s pride and exhibit Nepal’s ethnic and cultural diversity.
Wild Yak Expeditions offers many treks and travel packages in various places of Nepal where you will get to enjoy a variety of Nepali cuisines and delicacies. Explore Wild Yak Expeditions to know more about Nepal and its elements.