From Momos to Dal Bhat: Discovering 12 Must-Try Nepali Dishes

Nepal is a multi-ethnic country with a diverse range of cultural and ethical values. It is a small Himalayan country that is famous not only for its breathtaking scenery and culture but also for its delicious cuisine. Nepali dishes are widely known for their extraordinary set of spices, & taste and are very satisfying for the tongue. You will find yourself completely fascinated by the food and it will fill your tummy just the way you would want to at the time of extreme hunger. The use of rich spices, enough ghee, and warm loving hands with the tendency to give the consumer a lot of satisfaction and pleasure make traditional Nepali food unique. In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the top twelve Nepali dishes which you surely don’t want to miss.

  1. Daal Bhaat (The Staple Nepali dish)

    If you ask any Nepali to suggest a Nepali dish, Daal Bhaat is the first thing they mention. It is one of the most highly consumed Nepali dishes daily. Dal Bhat consists of steamed rice(Bhaat), and lentil soup(Daal) and is typically accompanied by vegetable curry(Tarkari). Daal Bhaat is not only tasty but also rich in nutritional value. Lentils are a good source of protein, rice provides carbohydrates, and curry provides vitamins and fiber. It is an ideal dish for people who live an active lifestyle.

    Dal Bhat Tarkari The Staple Nepali dish

  2. Samay Baji (Festive Newari dish)

    Samay Baji is a traditional Newari dish that contains beaten rice with black soybeans, barbecued buffalo meat, boiled egg, and spicy potato salad. Newari people consume Samay Baji on most cultural occasions but local people also consume it as it is full of flavors and ready to be served. The mixture of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors makes this dish a must-try. It is an ideal dish to be consumed with beverages or alcoholic drinks.

    Samay Baji. Festive Newari dishes

  3. MO: MOs (The National Nepali Snack)

    Momos are similar to Tibetan Dumplings but better. They are considered the national Nepali dish and are a favorite of most Nepalese and even tourists. Momos are small dumplings of soft dough wrapped with minced vegetables, or meat on the inside. They are prepared either by steaming or frying. They are served with homemade tomato sauce or mayonnaise and are one of the best dishes outside Nepal as well.

    Nepali dishes momo with sauce dippings

  4. Chatamari (The Nepali Pizza)

    Chatamari is a thin rice flour pancake with meat, vegetables, and eggs as topping.  It is often referred to as Nepali pizza but unlike pizza, Chatamari is easier and faster to prepare. The toppings can be replaced with only vegetable items only, making it an ideal snack for vegetarians also.

    Chatamari with meat items as topping

  5. Dhindo (A healthy diet)

    Dhindo is a Nepali dish prepared by adding flour(mostly millet) in boiling water with a continuous stir until it is thickened. Though it was a major staple food of Nepal, it has been considered an inferior food compared to rice and it is linked to low status for some reasons. Despite currently not being a staple dish, dhindo is a very healthy diet that has great nutritional value and is served in almost all hotels and restaurants in tourist-popular areas. Dhindo is traditionally prepared in an iron pan and it is stirred using a narrow iron spatula as the mixture thickens. Dhindo is eaten by making small balls of the mixture by hand and dipping them in the curry(tarkari) while consuming.

    Dhindo with pickles and curry
    Also Read : Traditional Nepali foods

  6. Thukpa (Noodle Soup)

    Thukpa is a hot noodle soup inspired by Tibetan cuisine and now is a staple food in the mountainous region of Nepal. The soup generally contains vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, or cabbage and one can even include meat items. They are not only delicious but also provide warmth and nutrition in the snowy winters. Thukpa is one of the best Nepali dishes to savor during cold seasons.

    A bowl of Thukpa, warm Nepali dishes

  7. Sel Roti (Crispy Nepali Doughnuts)

    Deep fried in ghee or oil, Sel Roti is more than just rice doughnuts. Sel Roti has always been a major traditional Nepali food involving itself in the most important events like pujas and festivals of Nepal like Tihar, marriages, and even bratabandhas. It is a semi-liquid rice dough with sugar, ghee, and cardamom powder. Sel roti is sent as presents to family members as a symbol of love and respect and is even consumed in the form of “prasad” during puja.

    Sel Roti , Sweet Nepali Dishes

  8. Ju Ju Dhau (King of Curds)

    Juju Dhau is a sweet and creamy yogurt that is famous as the king of curds in the city of Bhaktapur. It is a dessert dish made by boiling buffalo milk and adding a culture of yogurt to it. JuJu Dhau is generally stored and sold in traditional clay pots that it was made on. Juju Dhau has a distinct flavor and texture and is a must-try for anyone visiting Bhaktapur.

    Ju Ju Dhau - King Curd

  9. Kwati (Mixed Beans Soup)

    Kwati is a soup of a mixture of nine varieties of beans. It is generally consumed on a special occasion called Janai Purnima. Black gram, green gram, chickpea, field bean, soybean, field pea, garden pea, cowpea, and rice bean are the nine beans of Kwati. The beans are soaked for 4 to 5 days before using until small sprouts are seen. Kwati is a great source of vitamins and fibers making it one of the healthy Nepali dishes.

    A bowl of Kwati

  10. Choila (Spicy Grilled Meat)

    Choyla is a non-veg Newari dish that is a part of the Newari khaja set. It contains grilled buffalo meat mixed with different spices and spring garlic. Though the dish is traditionally popular with buffalo meat, different variations of choila are popular now like mutton choila, chicken choila, mushroom choila, etc. This dish usually contains chili flakes and strong spices that bring a vibrant taste to taste buds.

    Meat Choila

  11. Chhurpi (The Hardest Cheese)

    Chhurpi/Durkha is a traditional cheese prepared mostly in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Soft chhurpi is prepared by using cow’s milk and hard ones using yak milk. People generally prefer hard chhurpi since they are hard and last up to  4-5 years. Hard chhurpi is prepared by turning the milk into curd and keeping it at room temperature for 2-3 days. Once the cheese is made, then it is sliced and left to dry in the sun or dried in the oven on low heat. Hard chhurpi are exported to foreign countries and are loved outside Nepal also.

    Hard Chhurpi

  12. Bara (Lentils Pancake)

    Bara is a traditional Newari snack made of black lentils. It is generally in the shape of a pancake that is prepared by grinding black lentils to a semi-liquid paste and adding spices to it. Bara is one of the most hygienic, light, and tasty snacks which is purely vegetarian until egg or meat is mixed.

    Newari dish Bara

These are the top 12 must-try Nepali dishes. The use of rich herbs and spices makes Nepali cuisine taste wonderful. These are popular Nepali dishes and can be found in most places in Nepal. In case you are planning to travel to Nepal, here are the best places to travel in Kathmandu.