The Nepalese have a saying, “dal bhat power, 24 hour”. And it all makes sense as Nepal’s energy-packed national dish fuels trekkers and sherpas on steep treks through the Himalayas. The dish comprises a mound of rice (bhat) served with lentil (dal) soup, a vegetable or chicken curry, pickles and greens. Especially popular in the mountains, dal bhat can be found everywhere in Kathmandu, and each restaurant makes it slightly differently.
A traditional Newar dish, yoh translates as “like” and mari as bread. Steamed rice-flour bread is stuffed to the brim with ground meat, or sugar and sesame seeds. Have it at Nandini Food Store, which serves traditional Newar cuisine just steps away from Patan Durbar Square. These traditional Nepalese dumplings can be found everywhere in Kathmandu and beyond. Our favourites – jhol momos, served in broth – were at Byanjan Bar and Grill in Pokhara, a 25-minute flight away.
An unlikely favourite, chips chilli is essentially potato (or chips) stir-fried with onions, garlic and peppers in tomato-based chilli sauce. Nilgiri Thakali Delights makes it best. The potatoes are warm and fluffy, but stay crisp even when doused in sweet-and-sour tomato-based chilli.
The Newar “king of yogurt” is a rich, sweet, creamy yogurt made with fresh buffalo milk and set in red clay pots. The porous pots allow the liquid whey to drain away, resulting in a thick, firm custard-like consistency. Have it at Bhaktapur, where it is said to originate.