Flavours of Kathmandu

I had a few days to go around Kathmandu to visit the temples and try their food. I printed a list (I like making lists and printing them) of what to try like Blood Sausage, Yak Cheese and Thukpa, but when I got there and witnessed the crowd, humidity and traffic, I decided to pass. It would have been fun to walk around but I was too chicken to cross the busy roads.

I ordered food from Summit Hotel instead, and luckily, the Chef was very accommodating with my requests. Here are a few of the food that I tried. If I was not eating outside, I was having store-bought coffee and unhealthy instant cup noodles in the comforts of my room.

Momo

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It is similar to Japaneze Gyoza and Georgian Khinkali but without the herby taste. The Nepalese version of the Chinese dumplings is usually made with minced meat and eaten with not-so-spicy pickle.

I tried the steamed Momo prepared by the Chef of Summit Hotel. I would describe it as filling, tasty, ideal for a heavy snack or light dinner.

Chow Mein

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After Momo, Chow Mein is one of the most popular fast food dishes in Nepal. Also of Chinese origin, Chow Mein is simply stir-fried noodles. In Nepal, they add chicken or water buffalo meat, but during my visit I was not feeling adventurous so I only tried the vegetarian.

It reminds me so much of pancit – Filipino noodles sauteed with vegetables, and one or two proteins like chicken, pork, seafood or a sometimes a combination of all three. It is the classic choice of meal or snack whenever I crave for something savoury.

Pizza

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Owing to the number of tourists who go to Nepal, the dishes are highly influenced by foreign taste. Restaurants want to sell (obviously), and to sell they have to adapt to the tourists’ preferences. I saw a lot of steak houses, Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, Japanese and Thai restaurants in the city.

The menu at Fire and Ice did not excite me. First, because I am not a pizza person and second, I would have preferred to taste the local cuisine.

Coming from Dubai, I am used to having variety and I can order cuisines from different countries whenever I want to so I was disappointed that our guide recommended pizza for lunch instead of local flavours.

To be fair, the ambiance was very nice and the washroom well-maintained.

Chai

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I LOVE CHAI.

I make Chai every single day at work. I prefer to have 2 teabags  – the tea leaves steep in the hot water long enough to extract intense flavour – and a bit of full fat milk. It is an office staple. I prefer my cup to be aromatic and really, really hot.

There is a HUGE difference between having tea in the office and in a hotel with a view of the Himalayas (again, obviously). It relaxes not only my mind but my heart and soul. It makes me want to just sit back and reflect at how beautiful life is. What made it more special is the fact that somebody else prepared my drink for me!

Apple Cider

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I used to be a beer person until I discovered my love affair with Cider. I was surprised that, instead of local beers such as Nepali Ice and Everest, Danish brand Carlsberg dominated the stores, as well as San Miguel Beer which is Filipino! I would have loved to try the beers but the Cider was cheaper and came in smaller bottles which I knew I can finish.

Somersby Cider is sold everywhere in Kathmandu. It tastes like regular apple juice but with a hint of alcohol.

Fusion of flavours…

The menu in Nepal is a combination of Tibetan, Chinese and Indian. I am used to having Indian food and I love it, and Chinese food is something I grew up eating. Although the method of cooking is the same, the Nepalese version is less spicy and salty compared to the neighboring countries’.

Of all the local food that I tried, I love the Momos the most. I might ask Rod to make our own version one of these days. We will be posting recipes soon!

Read more about my travel to Kathmandu here.

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