7 Best Foods in Nepal You Should Never Miss

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Nepal has long been known to the world as home to the World’s Tallest Mountain, Mt Everest. Despite the fame, there’s a lot of travelers often missed out. You got it, Nepalese foods! In this article you’ll find 7 best foods in Nepal I think you must try during your visit.

Note that while most of the dishes wouldn’t look as nice as you expect, the taste is otherworldly addictive. Since I left Nepal after my volunteering and backpacking trip, I craved for Nepalese foods from time to time.

Momo (steamed and fried)

Almost every traveler adores these little dumplings, steamed or fried. These cuties are similar to those you find in China or Japan but with different flavors and fillings. You can find it served with soup in several restaurants in Thamel like Momo Star.

In my opinion, momo crowns above all for the best foods in Nepal.

Momo comes with vegetable, chicken or buffalo wrapped in flour dough. In some touristy restaurants, you can also find cheese inside. It’s not difficult to come across momo stalls in Kathmandu city but it’s wiser not to try from roadside stalls.

Yes, hygienic issues.

Unless you’ve spent many weeks in Nepal and got used to the food hygienic level, avoid roadside stalls and dine only in restaurants.

nepal momo

Dal Bhat

The traditional staple food in Nepal is consumed twice a day by typical Nepali. No doubt dal bhat is one of the favorite foods in Nepal.

Vegetarian diets are common in Nepal so you might not find meats in your dal bhat in local restaurants. But tourist restaurants often do include meats in the dish.

Dal bhat comes with a big chunk of long rice, accompanied by three or more side dishes, mostly greens. Common vegetables are spinach and pickles. Adding papad will be a great bonus to the dish.

Unlike most of the food found in Southeast Asia, Nepali does not practice adding MSG into their food. Which is why the food in Nepal is generally healthy. Nepal has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world.

If you order dal bhat in a restaurant, most of the chances are that you can ask the waiter to add more rice to your plate if you are not full enough, even the side dishes. This exclusive service explains why dal bhat is usually priced higher than other dishes.

best nepal foods

Thukpa

Traditional Tibetan dish brought in to Nepal. Made of warm, thick soup with noodles and vegetables. The ingredients are simple yet the soup gives you a heart-warming flavor. Thukpa is the perfect dish in winter, feel free to ask for spicier version if you dine in small local restaurants.

In Thamel, the best Thukpa I’ve found is in Muktinath Thakali Kitchen. The price is cheap considering the populated location, yet the flavor is savory enough to keep you coming for a second visit.

I always wonder how the traditional and original Thukpa tastes like. Because every restaurant seems to have their own recipes to prepare Thukpa. Therefore you may come across a completely different version of the dish in two restaurants. Some are spicier, some have tomatoes boiled in the soup, some with mushrooms. It’s kind of fun to explore a variety of Thukpa versions.

best food in nepal

Planning a visit to Nepal? Check out the Best Time to Visit Nepal

Chow Mein

This word is originated from the Chinese words of “fried noodles” (炒面). Like Thukpa, different versions of Chow Mein can be found across all the restaurants in Nepal. Every restaurant serves its own recipe but there’s one similarity among all – the portion is big and fulfilling.

Chow Mein, as its name, is made of noodles, stir-fried with various vegetables and meats, if you chose Chicken or Buff Chow Mein. The typical menu in Nepal restaurants has three versions of every dish: Vegetable, Chicken or Buff (Buffalo).

There were some issues with buffalo meats because they were not always served fresh. Chicken or vegetable would be a better bet if you want to play safe.

nepal chow mein
Photo by Biswarup Ganguly

Naan & Paratha

You might wonder about the difference between those two. Here’s the theory part. Naan is made of white flour baked in a stone oven and is served hot and brushed with butter or ghee. Paratha, like naan, is also a flatbread but made of whole wheat flour. Paratha is made by pan drying on an Indian frying pan.

Naan and paratha are often overlooked foods in Nepal. They are one of the locals’ favorite foods in Nepal so I definitely recommend a try on them!

While you’re there, I definitely recommend trying the aloo naan (potato naan), which got me addicted. I had aloo naan three days straight for breakfast. It’s like drugs. Again, this is something personal. The food I love is sometimes, tasted ordinarily on my friends’ taste buds.

I’ve tried different restaurants but the one which tasted to best to me is the local restaurant 3-minutes’ walk from Monkey Temple Backpackers hostel. It’s located beside a university (which doesn’t look like one… I’m sorry).

Between Kathmandu and Pokhara lies Bandipur, the perfect paradise for post-trekking rests.

best foods in nepal

Milk Tea

Yea I know, it’s not one of the best foods in Nepal, it’s a beverage. But I feel like I must at least mention this.

Nepal Milk Tea is the only beverage that got me craving for months. I’ve been missing it the moment I board the airplane back home. I felt empty having breakfast at home without Nepal milk tea.

Yes… The sorrow… Just kidding.

But really, it’s truly a wonderful beverage which I think every traveler should try. The milk flavor is thick and heavy, which is awesome for me personally. Sprinkle a teaspoon of white sugar into the cup and you’re ready to go.

Have a try at Masala Milk Tea too. Masala is a type of spice commonly used in India and Nepal. Adding them into milk tea in small portions is like adding palm trees on the pristine white beach. Perfect.

Check out my 3 days Kathmandu Itinerary to help you get all set for a perfect Kathmandu trip!

King Curd

The specialty of Bhaktapur. But what exactly is this?

Well, to be honest, the name is a little “special”. King Curd is a Newari curd made from buffalo milk flavored with Nepalese honey.

The curd was once used to please the king, therefore the name “King Curd”. Traditionally, it is made by heating the curd cultures in rice husks.

If you’re in Bhaktapur, definitely give this a try. It’s special, good-looking, cheap and delicious.

bhaktapur king curd
Photo by Yosarian

Wrapping It Up

Have you ever tried the cuisines above? If so, how do you feel about it? Feel free to comment below if there’s any great food I missed out! Looking forward to your comment. Have a lovely day ahead! Check out these amazing things to do in Pokhara if you’re visiting there next.

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7 Nepalese Foods That Make You Want to Visit Nepal

Written by

Yen is a university student from Malaysia and a huge fan of Blues music and photography. His passion for travel can be traced back to 2016 when he spent 6 months traveling New Zealand. By blending into the locals and traveling long-term, he shares all the comprehensive and detailed travel ideas and guides for the countries with his footprints.

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