Monday, January 31, 2011

The Last Kathmandu Post: Colourful Nepali Cuisine

A main course at Thamel House Restaurant

Every Nepali meal that I had was a feast of colours and flavours. The fact that these restaurants are frequented by mostly locals made each experience even more interesting. Thakali Kitchen is a no-frills restaurant that serves affordable staples like daal bhaat and momo. It was here that I had my first Nepali dinner and a surprisingly good chilli relish to go with the steamed momos. Unlike Thakali, Thamel House Restaurant is grand, complete with a stage in the courtyard, which provides entertainment to the evening crowd, I think. I had the full-course lunch here and it was amazing. I love the rich Kalo Daal (lentil cooked in iron pot with heated purified butter and herbs). Just that and some sada bhuja (boiled basmati rice) will do for me. With side dishes like Khasi Ko Ledo (stewed mutton), Bandhel Tareko (boiled and sauteed wild boar with gelatinous layers of skin!) and Khukura ko Sekuwa (skewered, grilled chicken over charcoal) kept pouring into my large bronze plate, it was definitely worth the slightly more expensive pricetag. Oh, not forgetting the warm dessert of Shikarni (whipped yoghurt with nuts and cinnamon powder). Lunching at the family-run Mustang Thakal was an intimate affair. The kitchen was bustling, helmed by an old lady. I had the Mustang Thakali Chulo Special, which came with rice, daal bhaat, saag (boiled, sauteed mustard greens) and stewed pork, complete with cuts of the knuckle. The smiling staff made sure that everyone was well-fed and kept refilling the empty plates. Two full servings later, I had to decline a third. It was a challenge walking back to the hotel after that.

Fantastic chilli relish for the momos at Thakali Kitchen.

Tender pieces of stewed pork at Mustang Thakal.

Saag - mustard green appearing in every Nepali meal.

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This is my last post on Kathmandu. It feels like I've not said enough about my short stay in this colourful city. There's still a story about a patriotic taxi driver, the impossible untangling of traffic congestion come the peak hours, getting lost in the maze of lanes and of course, food tales. But there's only so much that I can fit into January. Hopefully I'll do a better job the next time, when I visit the sacred lake of Gosainkund.

The sun sets in Thamel, Kathmandu.

10 comments:

Life for Beginners said...

Oh, do write more - the colours, the flavours, the voices and the sounds of Nepal have enticed us through your words and your pictures.

At least an encore, if only to regale us with the tale of the patriotic taxi driver... :)

Sean said...

gosh, you're such a jet-setter lah! hopefully you're back in kepong for chinese new year, but here's wishing you a safe and very happy celebration, wherever you are! :D

UnkaLeong said...

What's the black stuff by the rice in the first picture bro? Looks like squid ink :P Hahahah! Kong Hee Fatt Choy to you and your loved ones ;)

HairyBerry said...

Kenny, an encore? I think the only time I did that was in a karaoke session, even when my friends had to shut their ears. Haha. But seriously, glad that you'd enjoyed reading my tak seberapa posts. How nice if there are 62 days in january, hor? Haha.

Sean, happy lunar to you too! I hope you are having a good time as well in Melaka. I passed by Changkat BB on the first day of the new year and instantly remembered our meeting at Giovino! Haha.

Unkaleong, gong hei fatt choy to you too! Win big big, ya! :) May the year of the rabbit brings you good health and lotsa fortune! Oh, the black stuff is stewed black beans with cheese. Delish!

CUMI & CIKI said...

I am jealous of all your K posts and Nepali food! Cumi will go after his finals! So nais:) Gong Xi Fa Chai! Happy New Year to you and family:)

J said...

Looks like you had a great time there... Am kinda sad that your Nepal posts have come to an end - it was nice to vicariously enjoy your holiday. :)

choi yen said...

Squid Ink rice? Or just dark soy sauce?

Miss Tam Chiak said...

all ur Nepal posts are so colourful and interesting! Im sure u had much fun there! oh u make me so tempted to visit this beautiful country! :s

HairyBerry said...

cumi and ciki, you'll definitely enjoy Nepal! Have a fun trip! :) Happy lunar new year to you too! wishing you the tastiest food and good health! :)

j, glad you enjoyed reading my posts as much as i enjoyed writing them. :) it was great meeting you last saturday. see ya again soon! ;)

choi yen, neither. that's black bean stew, actually. :)

miss tam chiak, oh, i definitely enjoyed my visit to Kathmandu. inspiring, that's what is was. :) hope you'll visit this beautiful city one day! :)

Anonymous said...

Splendid shots! Enjoyed your postings.

Harry