The Nepalese cuisine may not be as well known as Indian, Chinese, Italian or Thai but what they do, they do extremely well. The Nepali food is an eclectic mix of flavours from neighbouring Tibet to the north and India in the south. If you haven’t tried Nepali food by now maybe this will inspire you to check out this often unknown cuisine.

Nepali Food: Dal What?

Dal Bhat from Bandipur, Nepal

Dal Bhat from Bandipur, Nepal

Us Irish have a lot of foods like stew and fry ups, the French their breads and the Koreans have Kimchi galore. The staple in Nepal is known as Dal Bhat Tarkari. The meal consists of a number of different components and is usually served on a round metal tray. The locals normally eat using their hands, binding the food together into bite sized portions with the sticky rice. For the tourists, fork and spoon is the mode of attack for this simple but delicious feast.

Variation

Nepali Food, Dal Bhat with rice, Kathmandu

Nepali Food, Dal Bhat with rice, Kathmandu

The Dal Bhat meal varies from restaurant to restaurant and from region to region but there are three main components which are always present. Dal Bhat Tarkari, literally means lentil soup (dal),  cooked rice (bhat) and curried vegetables (tarkari). The lentil soup, usually quite salty but always good, is served in a small bowl on your metal tray. The curried vegetable is commonly potato but often has onion and if you’re lucky there will be some cauliflower in there too! Other variations in this Nepali staple are salad or green vegetables, strongly pickled vegetables, curd (yoghurt) and sometimes papad, a light crisp pancake made from lentils. These optional extras are almost always included in Kathmandu and Pokhara but in more rural areas the meal tends to arrive in its more basic form.

Cheap yet satisfying

Dal Bhat refills in Kathmandu

Dal Bhat refills in Kathmandu

Dal Baht is the choice of a lot of travellers in Nepal as it’s light on the pocket but not in its serving size. As you begin to work through the small Himalaya of food on your plate, thinking you’re making inroads, a friendly old lady will quickly appear and refill your entire meal at no extra cost, and will continue to do so until you’re sufficiently full. Dal Baht is a popular choice all round. In fact, it’s pretty much all that a lot of locals eat. Most Nepali people will eat the meal twice a day, usually the meal is vegetarian, suiting the mostly Hindu and Buddhist population, but it sometimes is served with a side of meat. The meat is traditionally goat, chicken or buffalo, but never beef as the cow is sacred in the Hindu religion.

Outside influences

Dal Bhaat with chapatti, Kathmandu

Dal Bhat with chapatti, Kathmandu

Other popular  Nepali food is influenced mostly by Tibet. Momo’s are a type of Chinese dumpling and come in a variety of fillings. The potato-curry ones are recommended and when ordering you usually have the choice of fried or steamed. Thukpa is the other dish brought to Nepal by Tibetan refugees. Basically a noodle soup, it also comes in a variety of flavours and is widely available throughout the cities and countryside alike.

What to wash it all down with?

Nepal Ice Beer

Nepal Ice Beer

For a country that doesn’t stay up very late (bars close at 11pm), there are no shortage of Nepali brews to choose from. Everest, Ghorka, Nepal Ice and Kathmandu are all decent local beers with incredibly imaginative names! The local wine (and I use the word wine loosely) is known as Raksi and is best avoided. It’s a strong spirit with a thick consistency and tastes like an old shoe for want of a better description. A barely better alternative is Chang or chhaang. Made from fermented barley or rice, this warm, murky, milk-like local speciality has a unique taste, not for the faint-hearted!

Spices needed to Make Chai

Spices needed to Make Chai

Tea or chai, is very popular and is available from street vendors everywhere. Masala/Nepali tea is the local favourite and is really tasty. The tea is made by boiling spices, tea leaves and milk together with a good helping of sugar. It’s a great warmer after hiking in the rain and certainly preferable to the butter tea drank by many locals in the mountains. A stick of butter and a dose of salt is mixed into black tea and there you have it, a heart attack waiting to happen!

Kathmandu and Pokhara have a huge variety of restaurants from all over the globe. Mexican, Irish, Thai, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, Japanese, Spanish, you name it, it’s here! But with all this wealth of cuisines available, when you’re proper hungry and in need of filling right up, go for the local Nepali food; Dal Baht is the only way to go!

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Nepali Cuisine - A Brief Introduction

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.
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wanderingon37.6K followers☘ Irish Travel Couple - Brian & Noelle 🌍 Nomadic for 10+ years 🏞️ Hiking, Adventure & Inspiration ✈ Independent Travel 📍Edinburgh 👇🏻Travel Tips & Blog
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\"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.\"⁠ — Nelson Mandela⁠ ⁠ \"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.\"⁠ — Martin Luther King Jr.⁠ ⁠ “Never look down on anybody unless you\'re helping him up.”⁠ — Jesse Jackson⁠ ⁠➳⁠ 📷 Views from the first floor of the Hagia Sophia Museum looking towards The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey 🇹🇷⁠ ➳⁠ We understand that being white and therefore, inherently privileged, we can never truly understand this struggle, however, we completely stand with the movement and the idea that all human beings everywhere in the world should be treated equally and have the same chances and opportunities in life.⁠ ⁠➳ Unfortunately, this isn\'t the case and the thought that someone can be treated differently simply because of the colour of their skin absolutely breaks our hearts.💔⁠ ⁠➳ In our privileged position, we need to learn about and educate ourselves about these issues in every way we can and do our best to change the views of those around us.⁠ ⁠➳ To quote another great changemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, you need to “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ⁠ It starts with you, to move in the world with love and respect for all.⁠ ❤️✨✌ #BlackLivesMatter⁠
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“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.” —Dr. Seuss » Brian standing in absolute awe at the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza!🗿🇲🇽 » Built by the Mayans sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries, Chichen Itza is a huge complex of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.🗿🇲🇽 The complex is an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. » Built from limestone, El Castillo stands at a height of 30m including a 6m temple on top. Each of the pyramid\'s four sides has 91 steps up it, making 364 steps total, with the temple topping the pyramid considered an additional step totalling 365, each step representing a day in the calendar.📆 El Castillo is also known as the Temple of Kukulkan as it served as a temple to the Mayan feathered serpent god Kukulkan, or Quetzalcoatl.🐍 » We visited this time last year, however, the spring and autumn equinoxes are the best days to visit to see the “descent of Kukulkan\".🐍 » According to legend, twice a year when the day and night are in balance 🌗, the pyramid is visited by its namesake Kukulkan.🐍 Thanks to the crafty and mathematically brilliant architecture of the Mayans combined with the natural rotation of the Earth on the equinox, an amazing eerie image of a giant snake crawling down the temple is created. Kukulkan returns to earth to provide blessings for a full harvest and good health before bathing in the sacred waters below and continuing on his way to the underworld. » If you can\'t visit on either equinox, don\'t worry! The phenomenon is recreated nightly during the Light and Sounds Show at 7pm in winter and 8pm in summer. » We love doing things independently as much as we can when we travel. As Chichen Itza is located just a couple of hours drive away from Playa del Carmen (and Cancun) we rented a car and drove there ourselves so we didn\'t get to stay for the light show as we had to drive back.🚗 » What\'s your travel style? Are you a DIY person or do you prefer to go on an organised tour? Let us know in the comments below!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #Mexico #ChichenItza #SevenWondersOfTheWorld
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“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” — Kristen Butler » The sun sets over Edinburgh from Calton Hill, one of the seven hills of Edinburgh.🌆 » Set right in the city centre, Calton Hill is unmistakable with its unfinished Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline, giving Edinburgh it\'s nickname, the \"Athens of the North\". » It\'s a popular sunset spot as it\'s easily accessed - it only takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from two staircases on either side, or you can drive up and park - and it offers panoramic views down the length of Princes Street and of Edinburgh Castle.🏰 There are also great views of the coloured cliffs of the Salisbury Crags, Arthur\'s Seat, and the slopes of Holyrood Park.⛰️ » On the last night of April, up to 12,000 people take to Calton Hill for the Beltane Fire Festival, an ancient Celtic fertility festival. 🔥 Traditionally, Beltane was the start of the pastoral summer where animals were taken from their winter shelter to the fields and \"Beltane\" is the Gaelic word for May. » In Edinburgh\'s revivalist celebration of Beltane, three hundred or so voluntary performers from the Beltane Fire Festival Society celebrate the ending of the \'dreich\' (Scottish slang for dreary and bleak) Scottish winter and the hoped-for season of warmth and new growth with drumming, fire performance, revelry, and a ritualised procession around Calton Hill. 🔥 As well as the fiery displays, acrobatics, pulsating drums, and body-painted theatrics, the Beltane Fire Festival Society retell an immersive story for the crowd. » The revival of this festival started in 1988 as a free event but is now ticketed. There is also a Samhuinn (Samhain) Fire Festival on Halloween night which traditionally marked the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar. 🎃 We hope to catch the Samhuinn Fire Festival festival later in the year! » Have been to any interesting cultural festivals? Let us know!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #EdinburghScotland #CaltonHill
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