Nepal is famous for its towering mountain landscapes and is home to eight of the highest peaks in the world. It also has a burgeoning culinary scene that is criminally underrated.
Nepal is a fascinating place for any tourist, with a delightful blend of satisfying flavors to explore throughout the country.
Nepalese cuisine is greatly influenced by the country’s climate, soil and long standing traditions. There is a significant role played by the country’s geography and cultural diversity in the types of traditional dishes eaten by the locals.
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Most Popular Nepalese Foods
Among South Asian cuisine, Nepalese dishes are generally healthier as dishes are cooked in less fat, than of many neighboring countries. Typical staples of Nepalese cuisine include vegetables, salads, lean curries, soups, curd, pickles, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, chillies, and mustard oil.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try dishes of Nepal along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
Dhal Bhat is the most famous staple dish of Nepal. It is a traditional meal consisting of a cooked lentil soup called dal and steamed rice (bhat).
Since Nepal is a place where rice doesn’t grow well, other grains such as buckwheat, barley, maize or millet may be substituted. This dish can be either yellow or black depending on the type of lentils used.
Dal is usually cooked with onion, ginger, garlic, tamarind, tomatoes, and chilli. It is also made with different spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.
Momos are Nepal’s version of dumplings and one of the most favourite dishes enjoyed by visitors. Momo dumplings are small envelopes made of white flour and are stuffed with minced lamb, chicken or veggies.
Wo (or Bara)
Wo (or Bara) is a dish traditionally made by the Newari people of Nepal. They are an indigenous group of locals in the Kathmandu Valley area.
Wo is a kind of pancake that is made with ground lentil batter during a Newari festival called ‘Sithi Nakha’. It’s light and perfect for a snack, and is enjoyed by both vegetarians and meat eaters.
During the Tihar and Dashain festivals in Nepal, Sel Roti is one of the most sought after foods. It’s like a combination of a doughnut and a bagel in one and is usually served with hot beverages like tea.
It is a rice flour bread shaped like a circle and is deep-fried until it becomes crunchy on the outside but still soft inside. It tastes best with yogurt or veggies because of its crisp and sweetness.
Samosa is a famous Indian delicacy but is also popular in Nepal. It is a spicy, deep-fried, triangle parcel made of white flour and stuffed with mashed potatoes and spices.
It is best to have samosas fresh from the pan and serve it with sweet red-coloured chutney.
Yomari is a special food in Nepal that has its own festival called Yomari Punhi. This festival is celebrated in December to thank the gods for a good harvest.
Yomari is a pointed, fish-shaped dumpling that is made with rice dough stuffed with sesame seeds, molasses and a sweet paste made out of coconut. This is a very famous dish in Kathmandu and can also be made spicy with lentil.
Dhindho (or Dhido)
Dhindho or Dhido is somewhat of a hidden delicacy in the Thamel region and the remote corners of Kathmandu. This dish is cooked by boiling stone-ground some buckwheat flour, millet with salt in water and cornmeal.
This thick porridge dish is a staple diet food of the people living in the rural areas of Nepal. It is usually eaten with vegetable curries, butter, pickles, yogurt, and buttermilk.
Gunduk is considered to be one of the national dishes of Nepal and acts as a side dish, usually accompanied by Dhindho. It is a versatile food so it can be served as a side dish, appetizer or made into a soup.
Gunduk consists of fermented green leafy vegetables, such as radish and cauliflower, which are stored in an earthen pot. It is then left to be pickled until the vegetables have undergone fermentation and have released acidic juices.
Gorkhali Lamb is Nepal’s comfort food during winter that gives a pleasing and filling feeling. It is a flavorful curry dish that takes time to prepare it because it entails slow-cooking the lamb with onions and potatoes.
After the slow-cooking process, the lamb is then removed from the curry then covered and grilled with a layer of spicy chilli mix. After which, it is put back into the curry to cook a bit longer to let its flavours incorporate with each other really well. It is best served with rice and roti.
Juju Dau is a type of yogurt made with buffalo milk and is popularly known as ‘king curd’. It is usually preferred as a dessert because it is sweet, thick and creamy.
This dish is definitely a must-try when visiting Bhaktapur because it is very famous among the Newari people. It is often sold by the street-side vendors in the area and is enjoyed by both the locals and the tourists.