I recently returned from Nepal, where I was lucky enough to go for a work trip. And while I experienced a wonderful contrast of people, sceneries and activities, for me, the highlight was the spectacular veggie food – of course!
There are around 90 ethnicities in Nepal, each with their own language and traditions. You’ll find some food specialties in each region, along with cultural variations of a similar style of food throughout the country. Garlic and chilli seem to be used liberally – not enough to spoil a meal but enough to appreciate the chilled glass of beer accompanying dinner!
You’ll find veggie momos and dal bhat, which is like an Indian thali where you can try a mixture of different dishes, in nearly every local restaurant in Nepal, plus an assortment of vegetable curries and Indian food is often available.
In touristy towns, there are heaps of restaurants serving ‘western food’ so if you want a real taste of Nepalese cuisine, you’ll have to search it out or brave a local place – always an experience (usually positive) but just make sure you don’t drink the water.
If you are after pure veg restaurants, I only saw them in Kathmandu and Pokhara, although in Pokhara I only saw Indian veg restaurants (yum!). In Kathmandu, the laidback OR2K in touristy Thamel is sure to tick lots of boxes. I wouldn’t say their food is amazing – the dishes I tried were nice but not overly tasty (I assume to cater for a ‘western palate’ which always seems to results in bland food) – but the atmosphere was cool and free wi-fi is a bonus.
Greens Organic Café and Farmers Bar, on the other hand, served incredible food. It’s not a pure veggie restaurant but they make clear distinctions between veg and non-veg and the care taken in the food and it’s quality excited everyone who ate there. Make this your number one eating destination if you are ever in Kathmandu.
Just in case you visit Nepal, here’s a few phrases:
I’m a vegetarian ma sakahari hu
I don’t eat milk and eggs Malai dudh ra phul nakhanne
I don’t eat meat Malai maasu nakhanne