By Rupali Lamba

Kathmandu is a place of diversity, safety, frustration, spirituality, kindness and honour.

It looks and feels like Delhi did before CNG and the overhaul in the road infrastructure; polluted, crowded and teeming with signs of poverty. The vibe however, is completely different; you can sense respect and tolerance in the people. We stayed in an area known as Boudha. A Notting Hill meets Mcleodganj meets Venice – Tibetan settlement that formed around the Boudhanath Stupa. Boudha was unlike the aforementioned Kathmandu… it was an oasis of peace and serenity.

Here is a glimpse of the food that we chanced upon in the short time we spent in KTM – local, regional and otherwise.

G Café |

g-cafe

The Nepalese version of Haldirams, G Café serves up delicious versions of global favourites such as ‘French fries’, ‘Indian fries’ & ‘Chinese fries’ {Yes, seriously!} A must try are the Nepalese momos. They are bite sized, masaledar versions of what you get in Delhi.

Thakali Thali |

thakali-thali

The Thakali are a tribe from the Thak Khola region in Nepal. Their cuisine is very popular nation-wide. A typical thali comprises Mutton or Fish Curry, Rice or Millet, Dal, Aloo and an assortment of sides such as Mula (radish pickle), spinach, onion and peanut pickle and chutney accompanied by PROPER BUTTER MILK; not the spiced, smoked, salted variety – sour, fresh and sharp butter milk.

Fire & Ice |

fire-and-ice

This good ol’ pizza place attracts tourists and locals, young and old for their wide variety of good Italian fare and extensive beverage menu. We had a Margarita, Spicy beef pizza and an Eggplant pizza.

Mike’s Breakfast |

mike's-breakfast

A breakfast place located in an old colonial bungalow, Mike’s satisfies every type of breakfast craving possible. Pick muffins over toast, they are made from fluffy carrot bread! We had omelets and quiche. As you can see – they came with all the bells and whistles that make breakfast so special.

Organic Farmers Market at 1905 |

farmer's-market-1 farmer's-market-2 farmer's-market-3

Formerly the premises of an elite International club, 1905 Restaurant hosts an organic farmers market on its grounds {which includes brooks, bridges and hillocks} every Sunday from 9:00 am till noon. Fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, meats and cheese are sold at very reasonable prices by the people who grow/make them. You also find local delicacies such as pickles, juices and spices here.

At this otherwise food dominated market you’ll also find ‘Drichu’, a handloom designer label run by a supremely talented lady called Perloo. Her creations are the epitome of comfort & style. The thread, fabric, designs and stitching come together under one roof. To get your hands on one of her creations {or to book an appointment when in Kathmandu} contact Perloo at perloopay@yahoo.com.

Now, back to the food.

Da Pao at The Garden Restaurant |

da-pao

Da pao should be on your list of Things to try before I die’. These juicy giant dumplings are a cross between tingmo and momo. The wrap has Tingmo and Bao like consistency and is stuffed with flavourful and luscious meat.

Kunga |

kunga-1 kunga-2 kunga-3

The really phenomenal thing about Boudha as an area was the fact that a lot of tiny gates in little alleys led to many spacious surprises. One such hidden gem was Kunga, the Sichuanese restaurant. A garden with gazebos where monks dined on REALLY AMAZING and AUTHENTIC Chinese food, while Eminem rapped {uncensored} in the background.

 

Ayurvedic Tea at Swayambhu |

Swayambhu

To reach the Swayambhunath Stupa, you have to climb 365 steps. If you can climb them without taking a break – they say your debt to your parents is cleared {mine is far from}. After reaching the top of the mountain, we decided to have some ayurvedic tea that was available at the only stall up there. The concoction was vile. It took a mammoth effort to finish the tiny glass. However, once it was down – it did something magical to our bodies. We felt light, clean and purified.

Khapse |

khapse

A beautifully crafted Tibetan snack that tastes like a slightly malted mathhi.

Yoghurt |

yoghurt

I always scan menus for dessert. The consistent appearance of Yoghurt in all forms; with fruit, with honey, with cereal, King Curd etc. made me curious. Yoghurt was clearly a big deal and what a yummy deal it was! There is something about the curd in Nepal. It is fresh, creamy and refreshing. Once I started, I simply could not stop. If you love dairy products – you must sample Nepalese Dahi and you will find it EVERYWHERE!

La Phing |

la-phing

A traditional cold soupy noodle spicy snack, La Phing is a delight for lovers of mirchi, soy and noodles. Rumour has it that you can find this popular Tibetan street snack in Majnu ka Tila in Delhi.

Cell Roti & Piroo Aloo |

Cell-Roti-and-Piroo-Aloo

A breakfast staple made from rice and coconut, accompanied by a very spicy but delicious potato dish. The hand baggage security staff shared a cell roti recipe with us as we raaaaan to catch our flight and my staff at home was overjoyed to come in contact with something so everyday in Nepal and so foreign here.

Photo credits | Rigzin Wangmo