The typical Nepal food you have to try on your tripby | September 25, 2023
Nepal is a world-renowned travel destination for those who love trekking and the mountains. The country’s home to the Himalayas and the Annapurna range, two of Nepal’s main attractions. If you would like to know more about this Asian country, don’t miss our travel guide to Nepal.
One interesting aspect of traveling to this country is Nepal food. It’s delicious, spicy and healthy!
Once you have your approved visa, you’re ready to explore. Here’s a complete guide to Nepal food: its staples, influences and restaurant recommendations so you can try some of the best food in Nepal.
What are the influences in Nepalese food?
The food in Nepal reflects the influences of neighboring cultures, mainly from China, India and Tibet.
But it’s also a reflection of the different regions and cultures available inside Nepal, with regional dishes and styles of cooking that vary from one part of the country to another.
Common ingredients in Nepal food
Nepal food consists mainly of the following ingredients: rice, wheat, corn, vegetables, lentils and meat.
It’s usual to find meals made of lentil soups, steamed rice and vegetables (The Trinity) along with whatever cut of meat is available.
Spices of Nepal
The use of spice in Nepal food is different in each region, depending on what is/was available and seasonality.
A list of the most widely used spices of Nepal food includes, but it’s not limited to:
- Szechwan pepper (Timmur)
- Dried cumin and coriander seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Bay leaves
- Thyme seeds
Types of cooking methods in Nepal food
The most common techniques used for cooking the Nepal traditional food include:
Etiquette for eating Nepalese food
Nepal food should always be eaten with the right hand: the left hand is seen as unhygienic because it’s traditionally used for washing oneself. It’s tradition that the hands and the mouth should be washed after eating. However, it’s not necessary when eating with a spoon or fork.
The mixing of saliva with food is very badly seen. The same goes for food touched by animals or insects: all containers have to be washed immediately and the food is discarded.
Staples of Nepal traditional food
This is the typical dish representing the national food of Nepal. It’s a mainly vegetarian dish, although it can be served with meat.
It consists of rice, lentil soup, vegetable curry and spicy vegetables.
Momos are Nepal’s answer to dumplings and a staple of Nepal street food. They are made with wheat flour stuffed with vegetables and meat, accompanied by sauces and mayonnaise.
Momos were part of the gastronomy of Tibet. In the Tibetan language, Momo translates to eight: that’s the quantity of momos served on the plate.
Dhindho or Dhido Thali
This dish is typical of the Thamel region and the rural areas of Nepal.
It’s a porridge, made by boiling cornmeal, buckwheat flour and millet flour with salt. It’s usually eaten with butter, curries, pickles, yogurt and buttermilk.
This dish used to be eaten only on special occasions by the Newar community, but now it has spread all over Nepal.
It’s a combined dish made of several different elements. Newari Khaja can include rice, egg, soybeans, rice beer and many more ingredients.
Chatamari is also called the Nepali pizza, but not because of its taste: it’s purely because of its shape. This dish is also a representation of Newari culture.
It’s a rice flour crepe with toppings such as coriander, meat, eggs, onions and spices. It can also be strictly vegetarian.
It’s a noodle soup typical in the mountain regions of Nepal. It’s usually served alongside momos.
It can be made with meat (like goat, lamb, chicken or yak) or simply as a vegetarian dish.
This traditional dish was part of the Newari culture. It consists of barbecued buffalo meat and a boiled egg, beaten rice and potato salad.
This is the national beer of Nepal. It’s cheap and widely available (and also delicious).
Best restaurants in which to try Nepal’s food
Thamel Momo Hut
This restaurant serves traditional Nepalese food. The specialties are momos, especially the ones filled with cheese or chocolate.
The menu includes more than 14 kinds of momos cooked with different fillings and in different styles (for example, fried or steamed).
Phone number: +977 9860634264
This is a perfect spot to try the classical Nepalese food. In fact, its specialty is dal bhat, the national dish of Nepal.
A major attraction of this restaurant is that you can enjoy traditional performances of music and dancing. You also have to sit on the ground to eat to make it even more authentic.
Phone number: +977 1-4520169
This is a Tibetan restaurant. The restaurant opened more than 30 years ago and is now also a hotel.
The most recommended dishes are dhayshi and gacok. Try drinking tongba, a Tibetan alcoholic beverage!
Address: Amrit Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Phone number: 977-1-4257614
This restaurant is specially for vegetarian travelers. It serves vegan and vegetarian dishes from all over the world, but the ambiance is purely Nepali. You have to sit on the floor, following the traditions of Nepal.
The most recommended dishes are the Turkish platter, hummus tahini, babaganesh and the apple pie.
It’s located in Kathmandu but also in Pokhara.
Phone number: +977 14522097
Phone number: +977 61467114
Chilly Bar and Restaurant
This restaurant mixes traditional Nepali food with Chinese, Indian and Western cuisine. For example, you could eat a burger or bhatmas sandeko. Other recommended dishes are pan butter masala and Phewa tal ko macha, spaghetti and the soups.
Address: Pokhara 33700, Nepal
Phone number: +977 61463614