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Even before I arrived in Nepal my mission was clear: climb not only basecamp but the whole of Mount Everest.
Nah, I can’t believe I could even write this with a straight face. In fact, I knew from the beginning the one thing I wasn’t going to do was climb anything of note in Nepal. My mission from the start was to eat as many Nepali momos and find the best.
I didn’t tell anyone about my quest but it became evident pretty quickly and I wasn’t the only one who decided that Nepali momos are the bomb and can easily be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Especially when the alternative was usually Dal Bhat, one of the staple Nepali dishes which was quite good but just didn’t hold up to a momo.
I started to eat my way through the momo menus whenever I had the chance. I quickly found a few favorites: chicken momos at an unnamed cafe in Bungamati, the momos delivered to our homestay in Tanzen (we couldn’t make them ourselves as planned as the town had a prolonged power outage and so my host called the local version of Mr. Delivery), and the momos in Pokhara just because they came with an ice-cold Everest and my first salad in almost two weeks on the side.
Back in Kathmandu, I realized that while the Nepali momos were a force to be reckoned with, I hadn’t explored much else of Nepali food and started to question whether the country has its own food culture actually worth exploring beyond the momos and Dal Bhat?
While I was in Nepal to attend the Himalayan Travel Mart the first day of the conference offered not many highlights for us bloggers and attention was quickly waning (read: we behaved like naughty schoolkids in the back of the bus). So I was very keen when my newfound friend, Roxanne from Tiny Taster, a foodie to my liking suggested I join her for a foodtour with Backstreet Academy. While foodtours are usually quite pricey this one was less than $20 and I could easily book it with Get Your Guide even with the patchy conference wifi and for a tour starting in a few hours. My friend Zoe also decided to join us and so we snuck out just in time for lunch.
We met our guide Bimal in front of the Fire & Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, the hip and happening part in Kathmandu. Well, hip and happening is highly subjective and did wonder where the roads had gone. Three years after the earthquake there are still many parts of Kathmandu that are in desperate need of a bit of TLC.
While you don’t need to be fit to this tour, you will go ‘off road’ – wear comfortable shoes! Needless to say, it was an adventure to my liking: beautiful chaos and food I was allowed to eat with my hands.
We started our meal with a big mango smoothie with sprinkles and condensed milk crumbles (genius!) before exploring the market at Asan square. Bimal was kind enough to realize that these bloggers not only needed to eat but also have plenty of time to take pictures. After all, that’s what markets are for, right?!
From Asan, we walked deeper into a maze of tiny streets and alleys only to find ourselves in a first floor walk up to eat some Newari food, which is famous in the Kathmandu Valley region. Spicy potatoes, soy dumplings and bota, a kind of lentil pancake was followed by a sweet yomari, all eaten with a toothpick and surrounded by locals only.
THE best Nepali momos
While our bellies were getting full (never underestimate how much food ‘only’ 5 dishes can be!) we still had to find the best Nepali momos. In a little backyard, we found them and I was ecstatic – finally, I would get buffalo momos. As the majority of Nepali are Hindus you will not find any beef eaten in the country but buffalo instead, a meat slightly gamier than beef. Look out for the menus saying ‘buff momos’ – that’s them, they didn’t misspell beef.
What can I say? I finally had the best momos in Nepal!
Afterward we had samoosas, dahi puri, and finally a sweet lassi (not quite like my favorite Indian one but again with crumbly condensed milk on top). Needless to say, I skipped dinner that night
While part of me wishes I could share the places we ate with you, I won’t be able to because chances are even with the name you wouldn’t be able to find them. But practicalities aside, I also want you to explore them on a foodtour in Kathmandu. After all, food is not only sustenance but is also an intrinsical part of a country’s culture and there is just no better way to explore that than with a local on your side who guides you through the maze and shows you where to find the tastiest breadcrumbs.
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