Top 10 Popular Foods in Nepal

The Multi-lingual and multi-racial country Nepal does have a vast world of its own. Nepal is known for innumerable extraordinary and beautiful natural features and phenomena in the world. Nepal is a profoundly spiritual land that is resting on the kind lap of the Himalayas. It comprises a unique cross-section of human cultures and natural habitats. In this article, we are listing the top 10 popular foods in Nepal.

Many people come to Nepal to enjoy the sheer beauty of nature. This country is the live museum of human cultures and civilizations. There are many reasons to visit Nepal. Mountaineering, Trekking, Hiking, Bungee Jumping, Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Rafting, etc. are some of the most popular adventures travelers want to undertake. Nepal preserves ancient and medieval art, culture, and heritage. Many people also come to Nepal to taste the typically Nepali cuisines. Nepali foods are hygienic and the taste is so distinct that you will be smacking your tongue after having them. There are several popular foods in Nepal.

Nepali foods comprise a variety of cuisines based upon ethnicity, soil, and climate relating to Nepal’s cultural diversity and geography. Dal- Bhat- Tarkari is the most staple food in Nepal. Dal is a soup made of lentils and spices, Bhat means rice, Tarkari is a vegetable curry and vegetable soup. Dal Bhat Tarkari in combination with a spicy pickle (achaar) makes the best taste. Dhindo is a traditional food of Nepal. Gundruk, Momos, Chramari, Yomari, Thukpa, Sukuti, etc. are some of the best food you would love to have.

Many Nepali foods have variations on Asian themes. Momo is a Nepali style dumpling filled with minced meat in flour dough, given different shapes, and then cooked by steaming. It is one of the most popular foods in Nepal and the regions of Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong in India where ethnic Nepali has a presence. Momo was originally filled with buffalo meat but is now commonly filled with goat or chicken, as well as vegetarian preparations. Special foods such as Selroti, Finni roti, and Patre are eaten during festivals such as Tihar. Sel roti is a traditional Nepali homemade ring-shaped rice bread that is sweet to taste. Other foods have hybrid Tibetan and Indian influences.

Nepali foods are very delicious. These foods are prepared by using locally available ingredients. Therefore, they are very much hygienic. The taste buds of your tongue will never forget the taste of them once you have them. These foods are spicy but also good for health. The smell of the Nepali kitchen is enough to increase your appetite. Here we present you with top 10 popular foods in Nepal.

Top 10 Popular Foods in Nepal

Daal Bhat Tarkari

Daal, Bhat, and Tarkari is the most common food in Nepal and is the most popular foods of Nepal. It is the national food of Nepal and is eaten all over the country. The set of Daal, Bhat, Tarkari or a plate of Daal Bhat Tarkari consists of a cooked lentil soup which is known as Daal, steamed rice is Bhat and Tarkari is a mix of seasonal vegetables.

Daal can be cooked with different pulses like gram, beans, peas, and other legumes. Onion, garlic, ginger, chili, tomatoes, or tamarind can be added in addition to lentils or beans in Daal. Daal always contains herbs and spices such as coriander, cumin, Garam Masala, turmeric, and ginger.

Another side dish with Daal Bhat is the Tarkari. Tarkari is a vegetable curry cooked in Nepali style. It is generally cooked by mixing different vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, pumpkin, radish, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. Tarkari can be prepared with only one vegetable also or a mixture of different. Tarkari can be also of green leafy vegetables which are called Saag. Mustard leaves, radish leaves, spinach, Rayo leaves, etc. can be used to prepare Saag.

Newari Khaja Set

The Newars are the indigenous people living in the Kathmandu valley. The Newari culture is so distinct and typical. The authentic culture and civilization of Nepal are related to the Newars. Newars do have a huge list of dishes like Kwati, Wo, Chatamari, Yomari, and Bara, etc. Most of these dishes are made with meat stuffing in them. So, they have a distinct taste.

Among many varieties of the dishes is the Newari Khaja Set. It is one of the most popular foods in Nepal. It is a local meal of the Newari community largely popular in Kathmandu valley. Newari Khaja Set consists of flattened rice that is eaten with items such as roasted and curried soya beans, fermented mustard leaves (Gundruk), or curried potatoes (Aaloo Tarkari), and peanuts. Meat can be added to the Newari Khaja Set.

The Newari Khaja set is available in both veg and non-veg set with buff, chicken, or goat meat along with a boiled egg. It is available in many Newari-themed restaurants. Generally, it is taken as an afternoon snack by Newari people.

Newari Khaja Set is not only delicious but also rich in nutrition as it contains all the ingredients of a nutritious diet such as protein from beans, meat, and eggs, carbohydrate from flattened rice and potatoes, and vitamins from vegetables.

On your visit to Nepal, don’t forget to taste the Newari Khaja Set. You would love to have them.

Momos

One of the most popular food in Nepal is Momo. Momo is a native Nepali food. It is also popular in Bhutan, Tibet, North Indian region Ladakh, India’s Northeast region Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Darjeeling. Momo is also known as dumpling which is one of Nepal’s most popular dishes which can be eaten by people as a starter, snack, lunch, or dinner. The momo dumplings are filled with meat, such as mutton or chicken or buff, and are filled with different types of vegetables if it is a veg momo. All these types of momo can be eaten with soybean, Tomato sauce, and sesame seed mix Pickle.

Momo is also a type of steamed dumpling. This dish has become a traditional delicacy in Nepal. Momos are prepared from a simple flour and water dough. Generally, white flour is preferred to make momo, and sometimes a little baking soda is also added to give momo a more ‘doughy’ texture. After the dough is completed, we fill it with special spices that add unique and original taste to suit the Nepalese palate. Momo is very famous in Nepal and one of the other reasons for this is that the momo’s long history. On Nepalese menus, Momo has been figured for centuries and now after centuries, it has become a part of the national culture.

Dhido

Dhido is a very famous traditional food eaten in Nepal. It is very simple to cook and is prepared with millet or maize flour mashed. Dhido is best when it is served with meat or seasonal vegetables. Dhido is flavored with a different kind of homemade well preserved underground spinach known as “Gundruk”. Dhindo Gundruk can also be found at several restaurants in Kathmandu under the Traditional or Special Nepali food menu.

Mostly, Dhido is a very popular food in rural hilly areas of Nepal. It used to be the everyday food for people of the hilly region of Nepal. Dhido is also considered to be very healthy especially for people with diabetes. Dhindo, also a national food of Nepal, can be found in typical Nepalese cuisine restaurants and at the local homes of the villages in the hilly region.

Dhido is the main Nepali cuisine that is eaten all over Nepal in the hilly region from Eastern to Far Western Nepal. It is also among the popular foods in Nepal. The other traditional side dish for Dhido is called Gundruk, which is a fermented leafy green curry that is used as a pickle. Gundruk is also similar to Sinki and usually cooked as soup. Some Nepali people also eat Dhido with some kind of vegetable or potato curries, pickles, yogurt, and Roti. Also in some parts of the country, some people make side dishes like meat, either mutton or chicken for Dhido. Dhindo made of Millet flour is best to be eaten with ghee.

Gundruk

Gundruk is another popular foods of Nepali cuisine. It is a traditional curry of Nepali cuisine so it acts as a side dish. Some people either make Gundruk as curry by adding potatoes into it and other spices or make it as a pickle by mixing Gundruk with onions, tomato, chilly, and other pickled items. ‘Gundruk ko Jhol’ and ‘Sinki ko Jhol’ are popular side dish which is used as an alternative to Daal with rice.

To make Gundruk, generally, leafy vegetables are used which include Rayo, Mustard leaf, Radish leaf, and cauliflower leaf. The only difference between Sinki and Gundruk is, Gundruk is prepared from leaves of vegetables whereas Sinki is prepared by tap Roots of Radish.

Gundruk has lactic acid bacteria that are important to acid development and contribute to flavor. This Gundruk can be preserved for a long time after drying it in the sun in the making process and then packaging under some polythene bag or some pouches. It is very popular among all the ethnic groups of Nepal. This is also popular in some parts of India which are Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland where there is a dense population of the Nepali community.

Gundruk has become the distinct and instantly recognizable Nepalese dish. The soup made with Gundruk, roasted soya beans, potatoes, and tomatoes with spices is so delicious and this is mostly eaten during the cold season in Nepal.

Sel Roti

Selroti is also one of the instantly recognizable Nepali delicacies. It is one of the most unique Nepal dishes. It is distinct from any other kind of bread in the world. Selroti is actually like a large thin puffed-up doughnut and has a crispy texture with a reddish-brown color.

Selroti is prepared by grinding soaked rice to create a thick batter with the addition of Ghee and sugar. Actually, in Hindu culture, Selroti is a very traditional, homemade, sweet roti which is a ring-shaped rice bread /doughnut that is consumed in Nepal, and also in Sikkim, Darjeeling district, and Kalimpong district. However, Selrotis are thin and bigger.

This is mainly made up of Rice flour, water, sugar, cooking oil, and ghee. Some People sometimes prefer bananas, cashews, and almond and coconut mixture on it. Selroti is mostly prepared during Dashain and Tihar, which are great festivals and widely celebrated by the Hindu people of Nepal.
Selroti is prepared and served throughout the country and more likely in the festival of Dashain, Tihar, and also during wedding parties and other ceremonies. This is an essential food in most Nepalese traditional events and cultural events. To make Selroti first we need to wash and soak rice overnight, drain excess water and then Mix ghee and sugar and finally grind it into a fine paste.

This is one of the most popular foods for almost all Hindu rituals. So, it is also one of the most important foods of Nepal. Selroti is often eaten with Curry or Achaar (Pickle). It is also eaten with tea or Milk. It is eaten as a breakfast or snack.

Chhoila

Newari culture and traditions are typical and are the subject of great attraction among tourists. Yet another most important and famous delicacy is Chhoila. Probably the spiciest of the foods in Nepal, Chhoila is made of buffalo meat. Other variants are also much in demand that have duck or normal meat, as preferred. Chhoila is a hot and spicy savory dish served along with rice flakes.

Chhoila is very popular in Kathmandu valley and around. Chhoila is generally made of buff (water buffalo’s meat), and eaten as snacks/side dishes to beverages or eaten with beaten rice. Chhoila is not exactly but a kind of chicken chili.

For making Chhoila, buff or chicken is cut into small cubes and boiled for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, the meat is taken out and left to cool down. After that, the boiled chicken or buff is put in a big bowl, and salt, red chili powder, and sliced tomatoes are added there. Then onions are chopped into small pieces and then the chopped onions are added into the mixture along with shredded garlic and ginger. Then, oil is heated in a pan and fenugreek (methi) seeds are added and heated until the seeds become black. Turmeric powder is added and it will be stirred nicely and wisely. The boiled chicken/buff is put into a bowl and coriander is mixed into it. After applying some lemon juice and gently stirring it, the Chhoila will be ready to serve. Therefore, Chhoila is one of the popular foods in Nepal.

Yomari

Yomari is one of the special foods which is prepared or eaten on a spacious occasion of Yomari Punhi in the Newar community. The Newari festival marks the end of the rice harvest and sweet Yomari is made and eaten on this day. The pointed, fish-shaped dumplings are made from rice flour and stuffed either with a sweet molasses mixture or a coconut.

Aside from Newari households during the Yomari Punhi Festival, Yomari is available year-round at the Village Cafe on Pulchowk in Lalitpur – and in the bakery section of the nearby Bhat Bhateni Supermarket. They’re hard to find elsewhere outside the festival time.

Chatamari

This is another Newari region snack and is normally referred to as the Nepali Pizza – the main difference with the parent Pizza is the flour. Chatamari is made out of rice flour instead of wheat flour. It is a rice flour crepe cooked with toppings including coriander, minced meat, eggs, chopped onions, chilies, and a variety of spices. Chatamari is one of the unique foods in Nepal and thus it is a must-try.

Bara

Bara (also called Wo, in the Newari language) are thick savory pancakes made from lentil paste; the paste is mixed with spices such as asafoetida, cumin, turmeric, and ginger, which together give the Bara flavor beyond just a simple batter. The paste mustn’t be too liquidy; it should be thick, unlike pancake or crepe batter. You can eat Bara plain, with a cracked egg cooked into one side, or topped with minced meat; they’re usually served with a fresh tomato pickle and/or a buffalo soup. Beyond just a snack, Bara holds significance to the Newari people. On special occasions, they are given as part of a good-luck set of food, called Sagun, which also might include Chiura, fried boiled eggs, Yomari, and a variety of curries. Nicely crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, Bara is best eaten hot.

Conclusion

Nepal is a country with unique features. Nepali do have a special tradition of feasting on different occasions and ceremonies. The varieties of food also reflect the socio-economic condition of the people and society. Nepalese have high regard for food. They don’t waste food. Nepali people also emphasize taste. They love to eat hot and spicy.

Besides the above top 10 popular foods in Nepal, we do have many other special delicacies. If you are interested in Nepali food and want more information about it, please let us know.

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