Monday, April 28, 2008

Where to eat

...In Kathmandu

Whenever I write one of my "useful" posts, a certain segment of readership says "I like your informational posts, but why don't you write about your own experience?"

If I write about my own experience and include a bunch of subjective observations, a different sector says "I don't really care what you are thinking," (someone actually wrote and said that....) "I want to see and experience other worlds."

Okay, well here is a post you can USE.
Budget exotic food in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is chock-full of world class restaurants of every stripe - Japanese, Italian, Korean, Russian (yes, Russian), Israeli, Chinese, Indian (north and south), Mexican, Tibetan, Thai, even an Irish Pub. Still haven't found a Greek restaurant here, though.

Here are a few favourites around the Neighborhood (Thamel). Really, most of the best food is there....even though you get swamped by flute salesmen and Tiger-Balm vendors.
There are an alarming number of Korean restaurants in Thamel, including the excellent Korean Picnic and another one whose name escapes me - oh, it's Hotel Everest Villa which is part of a Korean-partnered hotel. Both Picnic and Everest Villa are near Kesar Mahal. But my favourite is the little tiny Han Kook Sarang, in the same courtyard with Tamas Lounge and Pink Palace opposite the RoadHouse Restaurant.

At Han Kook, I never fail to have the Tofu Kim Bab (Korean for sushi). For a mere 100NRs (less than $2.00), I get the sushi-veg roll, soup, kim chee (pickled cabbage) and two side vegetable dishes - usually red beans, potatos or spinach.

My personal idea of heavenly cuisine is at Momo Tarou. Again, there are many excellent Japanese restaurants in town...but I like this small, friendly place near Bhagavati Bahal just above Thamel Chowk.

Which to get for my victory dinner after the Indian Embassy - the eggplant sauteed in miso with sesame seeds, or the avocado sushi? I got the avocado maki above (minus the Asahi beer) for 250NRs (about four dollars US). Ah, the sting of wasabi and the sweet tang of pickled ginger.

Momo Tarou also has all manner of Japanese udon and noodle dishes, as well as some Nepali fare.

Darn, I forgot to take a photo of my daal-bhaat-aato at the Thakali Kitchen on Z Street today (not to be confused with Thakali Bancha Ghar or other similarly named joints). Daal-bhaat is of course the national Nepali dish - daal (lentils), bhaat (rice), aloo piroo (spicy potatos), gundruk or wilted spinach and another vegetable side dish, usually with yogurt for dessert. But the Thakali Kitchen serves their thali with maize or corn grains instead of rice (just ask for it - it takes a few extra minutes) which makes great change. For 85 Nrs you get a refill-able tray of daal, aato (corn) and vegetables.

For those who miss south Indian cuisine (yours truly), Dudh Sagar on Kantipath near Bhothahity is a good bet, though not nearly as good as the sweets shop in Pulchowk that inexplicably turned into a tandoor joint this year. Idlys, vada, uttappam, and dosa - all the rice-based dishes of the south - are all available. Don't expect Saravana Bhavan quality though...and there's no fresh lime soda. But it's clean and very affordable. My favourite is the Paneer Special Uttapam (a sort of thick rice pancake with chunks of cottage cheese in the batter). I make sure I say "mirchi nahi chahiye," or they will sprinkle it with green chilis, which I can't stomach.

Speaking of good old SB's...guys, if you can have branches in the US and Malaysia and Singapore, why not Nepal?


Lekhni said...

Just shows that you can never please everyone anyway :)

The only people who have to write on a specific topic are those who are paid to do so(e.g. sports reporters). Us bloggers don't have to listen to anyone..

Having said all that, may I pre-empt the chorus and say that I actually found this post completely useless, since its unlikely that I will visit a Nepali restaurant in the near future ;) (See, you can never please everyone :P)

Lekhni said...

Gah! I meant "it's" unlikely..

John said...

What, no tsampa?!

John said...

But I see the Chang (or is it beer?)

Sirensongs said...

@John: Well it is Asahi beer, which at 180Nrs is a bit of a splurge...but was well worth it that day. (No one got out of the Indian Embassy till 7.30 pm)

c said...

you paid 180 nepali rupees for a beer?!

why that's more than i pay for moonshine! lets see a sixpack was 3.52 yesterday,...


but it's good to know there are kimchi places in nepal sirens!

now if someone will give me a non veg rundown of nepali foods.....

Ana Cristina said...

Hi, it's a quite interesting blog.
Regards from Portugal.

Sirensongs said...

@C: Yes, but that was 180NRs for an IMPORTED Japanese beer. You can get twice as much Nepali beer (the tall-boy size) for the same price, or maybe 160NRs. I just wanted the Asahi to celebrate slamdunking those MFs at the embassy.....

Namgya said...

Hi Lekhni, Greetings from Hanakook Sarang !!!

Thanks for your reccommened for Hankook Sarang Korean Restaurant.

Have a wanderful days.

Best regards and Keep in touch.

Suraj Gurung
Hankook Sarang Famiy