The city of Kathmandu is an acquired taste. It is poor and cold. But there is a positvity and warmth about the people of the city that is infectious - they have the best, biggest smiles in the world.
|Kids posing for me at The Botanic Gardens outside Kathmandu|
Traditional Nepali food is largely familiar to the Pakistani/South Asian palate. The basics are 'daal- bhat' i.e. dal chawal - everything else is an add on - vegetables, chicken curry, chutney, poppadums. But if you must eat one 'local' dish in Kathmandu, it must be the delicate 'momo' Momo is a type of dumpling native to Tibet and Nepal. Momos are made of a simple white flour and water dough - and a variety of stuffings - chicken, lamb, cheese, mushrooms and even yak!!
What you see above are fresh mushroom and cheese momos at Kathmandu's best momo joint - Belle Momo @Cafereena on Darbar Marg. This is an upscale part of the city where all the cool kids on bikes like to hang out. My friend Abhishek and I opted for the indoor seating as we couldn't really handle the cold or the kids chattering. The 'red' sauce is pure heat - fried chillis in oil. Be careful only to just dip a bit of your momo into the sauce, because the combined heat will cause some discomfort. But then again, it makes complete sense in Kathmandu in December. The signature yellow Nepali chutney allows is interesting at best.
The momos are just chewy enough to let you think over the savoury dough and let the stuffing melt in your mouth - I think if it melted any faster, you couldn't taste it! A set of six vegetarian momos only cost about NPR 100 or PKR 120 - pretty good deal! A set meal of of mushroom soup, 6 momos, fries and tea/coffee will set you back by NPR 250. The outdoor seating area of Cafereena overlooks the bustling Darbar Marg - you'll often see 'VIP movements' and wedding bands. But we warned, the fireplace in the middle of the dining area will do NOTHING for the cold - dress warm, very warm. Needlesss to say, I went back to Cafereena more than once on my last trip to the city.
Momos are more fast-food than delicacy in Nepal. They are available at roadsides and speciality cafes alike. They are cheap, filling and warm you up - very, very necessary when travelling on a budget.
Special thanks to Abhishek Shah for introducing me to the best momos in the world!
|psst...let's get out here and get some momos|