Nepal was our first planned trip together as a couple. We have never been a couple to seek out that resort or beach destination and to relax for a week. From the jump we always wanted that adventure. The place we have never been before. Experiencing the culture. And of course the food.
Nepal has some great food. Bordering on India and China, the country’s cuisine has been evidently influenced by both.
There is so much to explore in the capital city of Kathmandu. If you visit the tourist district, you can find restaurants everywhere offering excellent tastes and sensory overload with all of the noise of the streets and dust kicked up on the roads.
We opted quickly for the quieter city of Pokhara that still provides any visitor a taste and feel into their culture and cuisine of the country.
Should you be planning your trip to Nepal, there is so much great things in a Lonely Planet guide and you can take the whole guide with you on your trip. We usually pack one for each country we visit. You can pick up yours for Nepal through our link. We receive a commission for this at no extra cost to you.
Our Experience Eating in Nepal
Our trip in Nepal was primarily spent in Pokhara, though we did spend two nights in Kathmandu. Pokhara is a beautiful lake-side city, a perfect hiking destination as a start and end point through the Annapurna mountain range.
Though we had experiences of Nepali food before this, our first truly traditional meal came during a day trek through the hillsides when our guide stopped us at a house where he negotiated a price with them and they prepared us a lovely meal that included some dried buffalo meat and dal bhat. It also included our first experience with the traditional way to eat.
With rice in the middle of the plate and various vegetables surrounding it, you are meant to mix the ingredients together and eat as is. Of course, as is tradition when eating in Nepal, you use your hands. It was my personal first eating with my hands, and it brought me back to simpler times of eating as a child. The meal was fresh, hot, and filling. After the hike, it was exactly what was needed.
The experience of the day hike was well worth it. The hike provided us with memorable views, but also with encounters like these that offered us a peek into the day-to-day lives of the Nepalese that live in these hills. Their daily tasks that include going into the nearest town for supplies, which is more difficult as they have to go up and down the mountain. Getting their meals ready, tending to their livestock, gathering honey, entertaining guests, among many other things we did not witness. The traditional Nepalese food that was served made us think why we travel, and a main part of that answer was provided for us at this stop. We travel for the memories, people, culture, and food.
The Best Nepali Food Menu
These are our favorite typical Nepali food that we recommend you try when you visit Nepal. From the great dishes to the excellent tea that they offer, the country has some delicious cuisine.
Mt Everest Beer
Dal bhat is simply steamed rice and lentil soup. This dish is served alongside other vegetables that are in season. The lentil soup is then mixed with the rice and enjoyed in the traditional style, by hand.
This seems to be the national dish of Nepal, as wherever we went it seemed to be the most prominent thing on the menu. A lot of the vegetables vary, but mostly stay fairly similar with a side of flat bread served up.
There is no better way then getting down and dirty with your food, pouring the lentil soup all over your rice, mixing it in with your freshly washed hands hopefully, adding the vegetables to your liking, and popping it into your mouth with some bread wrapped around or to follow.
At 6:50 into the video below, we visited a Nepalese town in the countryside where we enjoyed dal bhat with the view of the Annapurna mountain range in the background. It was an incredible experience while taking the day hiking through the hills and countryside near Pokhara, Nepal.
Momos are the Tibetan dumpling. Fried or sometimes steamed, these beautifully delicious sacks of meat, vegetable, or cheese. We love dumplings and tasting the differences throughout the Asian continent. From gyoza in Japan, to mandu in Korea, dumplings in China, and finally momos in Nepal, the differences are minor yet present in so many ways.
The taste of momos really set apart themselves from other dumpling-style dishes from other parts of Asia. The ones we had often were sacks, twisted at the top, and filled with meat or vegetables and fried to golden goodness. These were such a great dish to add to a meal like dal bhat.
Influenced from Tibetans, Thukpa is a noodle dish. This was definitely something we had to try because we are suckers for noodle dishes wherever we go.
It is a simple broth with noodles and various lentils and vegetables added to it with some chili powder to boot. Not too spicy and simply heart-warming comfort food after a cold trek.
Everybody needs a good dessert food. Sel Roti is the Nepali donut of sorts. It is basically a sweet, ring-shaped dough that has been deep fried and sugared. Simplistic but delicious.
Though not food, this tea is worth exploring in this post. During our short trip to Nepal we were introduced to a new flavor of tea that we could not go a day without having a cup. Thankfully everywhere we went, we could order it. Tea in Nepal is the best!
Nepali tea is served throughout Nepal. Grown in the hillsides throughout the country, it has a unique aroma, color, and taste. The tea is usually served with lots of hot milk and something to sweeten it. The taste is better than any other tea I have had before.
At most rest stops, for less than $1 USD you will be served a small, thin plastic cup (yes, the hot tea being served in the plastic cup is not so good for you) filled with tea. In other restaurants the cost is slightly more, but you are given a nice mug of delicious Nepali tea. It is always delicious. It is always worth it.
We wondered how Nepali tea had not become a popular drink outside of Nepal. Possibly due to the lack of quantity available, or maybe it is just a matter of time before Nepal’s tea becomes noticed worldwide and there is a larger demand for the product. With the amazing taste and aroma of the tea in Nepal, we believe it is just a matter of time before this tea gets discovered on a larger scale.
To round this list off is a locally brewed beer in Nepal. Because everywhere you go you need to try the local drinks as well. Especially when you are on a long day trek through the hillsides.
We did not actually try this while dining in a restaurant. We actually did try this during our day trek. While passing through one of the many villages, we stopped in at a local shop and asked how much for one of their beers. We quickly grabbed a couple and downed them quickly. There is nothing like a cold brew on a hot day.
I do not know whether it was the setting or the quenching of my thirst that made the Everest beer so delicious, but they make a mighty fine lager. Smooth and sparkly. Exactly what you want in any lager.
Though there are so many more foods to add to this list that set Nepal apart from other Asian countries in terms of their cuisine, these are the dishes that we tried and enjoyed during our trip to the country.
We loved our stay in Pokhara. It was relaxing and a great way to experience the hillside culture of the people. From waking up in the hillside in the morning and enjoying the sunrise over the mountains to enjoying a meal at the top of a hill overlooking the valley prepared by a local family. Nepal really has so much to offer any traveler.
What did you eat while you were in Nepal? We would love to hear about the best Nepali food menu from your perspective. Leave a comment in the comment section below.
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[…] The best restaurants in Kathmandu tend to be within the Thamel area of the city. These are the restaurants that cater towards tourists and travelers alike while offering traditional Nepalese dishes. You cannot go wrong just wandering the streets of Thamel and looking for a place serving incredible Nepalese cuisine or whatever it is that you are looking for. If you are wanting to know what to eat while in Nepal, visit our food tour of Nepal post. […]
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