Sampling the cuisine of Nepal on your gap year
Nepal is country that sits between India and China, making it one of the most interesting regions in South Asia in terms of its culture. One facet that exemplifies this most is the country's cuisine, as it showcases the great amalgamation of its surrounding nations.
Here are the most popular and distinctive dishes that are imperative that you try if you're lucky enough to visit Nepal on your gap year.
Momos are the country's interpretation of Chinese dumplings. Made from dough consisting of a flour and water mixture, the fillings vary from vegetables like potato or cabbage, paneer, tofu or minced meat that has been combined with garlic, ginger and spices. There are few methods of cooking them, such as steaming (the healthiest method), fried or baked. They are often accompanied with a spicy sauce.
For an authentic experience, Yangling Tibetan Restaurant in Thamel, Kathmandu is considered to be the best to sample this delicious snack.
Its simplicity and tastiness is what makes Dal bhat so popular. It is usually comprised of boiled rice and a selection of smaller soupy dishes, most commonly dal (a lentil or pulse cooked with spices and mushed into a liquid). There are many combinations of sides that are served up with it, including yogurt, chutneys and chopped vegetables. Rice is also sometimes substituted for grains or a roti, similar to the layout of an Indian dosa. It's great finger food, so if you're used to cutlery, it's best to cast aside your reliance as you'll be hard-pushed to find this meal not on the menu.
Most restaurants will serve this dish upon request, but Mustang Thakali Chulo in Thamal Chowk is a hot favourite among tourists and locals.
Kukhura Ko Masu
Saucy chicken curries are commonplace in the Indian subcontinent and Kukhura Ko Masu, Nepal's take, is not to be overlooked. Thought to have been created by the indigenous members of the Kathmandu Valley, the Newar people, the dish is accomplished by frying garlic and onion in a paste made up of cardamon, ground cloves, cumin, nutmeg and then chicken is added until the meat is sealed all over. Tomatoes are finally added to create a sauce and the pan is left to simmer.
The Pashupatinath in Kathmandu is where you will find Krishnarpan Restaurant, and in turn will find a great place to try this meal.
A staple of the Nepalese people, Sel Roti is a must-try when in the area. Rather than a savoury offering like the previous examples, it's a doughy sweetened ring. Made from rice flour and often likened to a doughnut, it is a highly revered snack and is served at important national holidays or celebrations like weddings.
If you've a sweet tooth we suggest you head to a road that is filled with street food stalls which are dotted around all the busy areas of the country's cities.