If you think Nepali cuisine starts at momos and ends at thukpas, you are far from the truth. This cuisine is distinct and packs in every flavour thus proving to be a treat for the whole palate. If you are in Nepal, don’t forget to go hopping these best spots in town for the iconic Nepali staples that are now classics. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Samay Baji

The plate of starters served at the beginning of every Nepali festival – Samay Baji is surprisingly simple yet the perfect appetiser to give you a hint of what awaits you. Chiura (flattened rice), Choila (marinated meat), fried boiled egg, black soybeans, potato pickle, julienne ginger, spiced beans, leafy veggies, and of course, ‘buff’, or buffalo meat are constants in Samay Baji.

2. Sel Roti

Like Indians have their samosa, Nepali’s have their Sel Roti. This lovechild of bagel and donut is as crunchy on this outside as it is soft on the inside, thanks to all that deep-frying. It is had with pretty much everything, but especially with the morning and evening chai. In fact, if you have more than four, it might just become a meal in itself. Locals also enjoy it with homemade yogurt. The best ones are always found at road-side stalls.

3. Dhido

Nepal’s answer to Polenta, Dhido is had extensively in the higher altitudes of Nepal where rice or wheat cannot be grown. It is made by mixing hot water with buckwheat and maize flour. Condiments range from gundruk to pickle to vegetable curry and is the second most popular dish in Nepal after the humble dal bhat.

4. Dal Bhat

Speaking of dal bhat, it is the twin brother of our dal chawal and an absolute staple in the country. And, if you think that Nepali people serve only rice and lentils when you ask for dal bhat, you are sorely mistaken for it is accompanied by a selection of the season’s freshest vegetables, a choice of meat or mushroom along with pickle, salads, papad, and curd to finish the meal on the right note. It is homely to say the least and represents the culinary practice of Nepal accurately.

5. Yomari

View this post on Instagram

This is a plate of Yomari, a delicacy of the #newar community, at the Village Cafe in Kathmandu. It is a steamed dumpling kind of a thing that consists of an external covering of rice flour and an inner content of sweet substances such as chaku (#sugarmolass) or khoa (a dairy product). . . . I used to stuff myself with the chaku yomaris as a kid – as a result I am not very fond of them now. Instead, in love 😍 with the khoa ones. . 📍: Village Cafe, Pulchowk, Kathmandu . 💵: NPR 60 per piece . . #foodstorieswithts #bangalore #bangalorefoodblogger #bangalorefoodies #nepalifoodblogger #nepalifood #newari #nepali #newarifood #nepali #riceflour #newarifood #khuwa #yomari #amateurcook #homemadefood #foodtalkindia #foodtalkbangalore #vscofood #vscocam #vscofilter #iphonephotography #newariculture

A post shared by Food Stories With TS (@foodstorieswithts) on

This dish has a special place in the Nepali community, so much so that they celebrate a special occasion called ‘Yomari Punhi’ during December. It is a Newari festival and marks the end of the rice harvest. Yomari is made from rice flour in the shape of fish dumplings, stuffed with a sweet molasses or coconut mixture. It has an extremely distinct texture and taste, something that we’re sure you couldn’t have tried so easily. However, they are hard to find outside the festival time but you may try your luck at The Village Cafe on Pulchowk in Patan.

6. Gundruk

View this post on Instagram

🤤🔥GUNDRUK RUMPUM CHATPATEY . . 🍽️ Gundruk Rumpum Chatpatey 💰Cost: Rs.50 📍Location: Shiwakoti Rumpum Chatpatey, Mid-Baneshwor (Opposite to KFA Business School) ➕Extra charges: SC ❎ TAX ❎ 🛎Quality: Best of the best! ⏰Serving time: Depends on the people around 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑 • • This Gundruk Rumpum Chatpatey is sure to give you the kick of "twakka amilo" along with a hint of Gundruk. "Shiwakoti Rumpum Chatpatey" is always crowded by youngsters, especially the students from that area. Whereas, I found the uncle a lil rude which really turned off my mood, probably he was too occupied by the customers. My go to place whenever I have cravings for chatpatey, I find "Gundruk" flavor more flavorful and tangy while the normal one is a lil dry for me. #mydarlingeats #rumpum #rumpumchatpatey #chatpatey #gundruk #foodporn #food #foodie #foodstagram #instafood #foodphotography #foodgasm #foodlover #yummy #foodblogger #foodpics #delicious #instagood #foodpic #foodies #tasty #foods #yum #eat #foodpassion #foodblog #healthyfood #foody #foodgram #eeeeeats

A post shared by 🇳🇵FOODS & RECIPES FROM NEPAL🇳🇵 (@mydarlingfood) on

This is an absolute favourite amongst the locals. The gundruk is essentially fermented leafy vegetables made into a pickle, lovingly referred to as Gundruk ko Achar. It can spice up any dal bhat meal and is the perfect pick-me-up as a souvenir for your foodie self.

Related: Chill At The World’s Highest Café In Nepal For An Elevating Experience!