Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

Good-bye winter

in daily life, ECS Nepal, Food, Nepali dishes, restaurants, thukpa, Tibetan cooking, wintertime

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Most days since I became a regular here at ECS, I’ve either brought a sandwich or followed a group of coworkers to their favourite lunch spot, a local joint around the corner. However, not long ago a large rodent ran through there, inches from my feet. Fortunately I did not see it, but it has been enough to put me off returning there since. I’m well aware that many eateries in Nepal often play unwitting hosts to small creatures of all sorts, but what made this different was the fact that this place seemed to tolerant of or possibly even catering to the animal’s presence. And it was running from the direction of the kitchen, so…

This might seem a strange way to begin a post about delicious food, and yet. Feeling a little disloyal, the next time I wanted lunch I let the group go on without me and headed out on my own to a place across the street from our offices, where I’ve seen some of the staff eating before. It’s only marginally more upscale than the place favoured by most of my colleagues, but not by much. With chilly days still very much with us, I ordered one of my favourite winter dishes, a chicken thukpa. Thukpa is a thick soup of noodles and vegetables, served in a spicy broth, with or without your choice of meat or egg. It has its roots in Tibet, though the incarnations generally served nowadays in the valley’s small restaurants have evolved into a unique local variant.

Well, this version was delicious, and I was back again and again. A few days ago I opted for the slightly pricier ‘mixed’ thukpa, which has everything–veggies, eggs, and several kinds of meat. Heaven!

Yesterday–literally from one day to the next–warm, spring weather flooded the valley. Usually the change is more gradual, but this year the cold had lingered much later than usual, so the sudden change was all the more noticeable. Someone here at work said that the warm weather was triggered by the hailstorm we had a few days ago – everyone has a weather theory here!

All that to say, my thukpa eating days are pretty much over, unless we get another cold spell. So today, despite the heat, I ordered a last bowl of mixed thukpa anyway, the one you see here. It was delicious, another reminder, if I needed one, of why I love cold days best.

Whatever you’re eating as you read this, I hope it’s as tasty.

The Mo:Mo Series — Number 5

in Food, mo: mo, mo:mo series, Nepali dishes, restaurants, wintertime

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These super-awesome incredibly delicious pork mo:mo are from New Dish, a little place tucked upstairs in Kichapokhari, New Road. It’s been open for 26 years but I’ve only just been there for the first time (and the second, and third–already). They have a small menu–amongst which pork mo:mo are the only mo:mo variety–but they are great. Thin-skinned and succulent, served with a simple hot chilli dipping sauce, and a bowl of broth. There used to be a place by my house that served broth with their mo:mos (basically it’s the steaming water, doctored up a little) but they closed and I’ve missed it. This place is already on my favourites list, and with chilly winter weather on the way, I know I will become a regular here.

Today’s Lunch Dahl-Bhat

in daily life, Food, restaurants

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Today I enjoyed lunch with a friend at the Dokhaima Cafe, Patan Dhoka, Patan. Traditional Nepali daily fare–but extra delicious. From the top, around the rice: a crispy poppadum, dry chicken curry, alu achar (potato pickle), thin fried slices of bitter gourd, and in the bowl on the top right, yellow lentils.

 

Friday’s Back!

in daily life, fuel crisis, restaurants, writing

After quite a few Friday!-less months due to the fuel shortage and all the domino effects that it caused, Friday! has resumed publication, though at the moment it’s monthly, not weekly as it used to be. It’s still happy news, though; another small sign that life here in Kathmandu is getting back to normal.

 

April 2016 Friday cover

If you live in Kathmandu, you can pick up a copy, or read my review of Bú Kebá Organic cafe here. I’m writing an article for May’s issue as we speak — at least I’m supposed to be – obviously I’m writing this instead 🙂 — and I can’t wait for it to come out. The restaurant featured in May is a new one that I already love!

Time to Stand Tall

in Food, Kathmandu, Nepal, restaurants

Friday stand tall

… that’s what’s on the cover of the first issue of Friday! to come out since the earthquake on April 25th. It’s normally a weekly, but it’ll take a while to get back into a regular publishing groove, so this one is still on newsstands. It’s got some great photos of historical sites as well as memories and post-earthquake thoughts from a wide variety of sources, so if you’re in Kathmandu it’s well worth picking up a copy. In the interests of full disclosure 🙂 I should tell you there’s an article of mine in there as well, found online here, about restaurants reopening after the quake. I was asked to write it about ten days after the first one, but the second quake pushed the printing later, so it didn’t come out until after that. It touches on a subject close to my heart–the power of food to nurture, comfort and heal, even in the aftermath of terrible tragedy.

 

 

A little bit of Japan in Kathmandu

in art exhibition, Food, Japan, Kathmandu, restaurants

Yesterday, by serendipitous chance, I was near the Japanese embassy and saw a banner outside announcing an art exhibit, Sharaku.

Of course I had to pop inside.

The exhibition contained high-quality woodblock prints, posters by graphic designers, a few sculptures and porcelain items, and two large paintings, these last being my personal favorites. Another great display was three wooden music boxes, the likes of which I have never seen before. They were very tactile and fascinating to touch and listen to.

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From the handout I learned that Toshusai Sharaku was a well-known artist from the Edo period; his specialty was woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) of Kabuki actors. The woodblock prints in the gallery were reproductions of his work, while all the other items–from the graphic posters to the paintings and porcelain and yes, even those music boxes–were re-interpretations of his work by Japanese artists working in a wide variety of mediums. Fascinating to read about, and I found it interesting to have experienced the full impact of the the works before reading about the artist and displays.

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All in all, while not a large exhibit, it’s a great way to spend half an hour, especially considering that there’s not a whole lot of this type of art in Kathmandu. And did I mention that it’s free?

The Sharaku exhibit is on display at the Japanese Embassy through March 11, 2014.

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And if, after having had your fill of Japanese art, you feel a hunger for something more…filling, just a few minutes walk from the Japanese Embassy up Lazimpat (going north) on the opposite side of the road you’ll find Kotetsu, one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. While they do have a full menu to choose from, I usually go for the bento lunch box, which costs 500 nrs. and changes every day. It’s a great way to sample unusual Japanese flavors and textures, all of which are delicious. The relaxed atmosphere and seating arrangement that allows you to watch the chefs at work is also fantastic.

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On a completely unrelated note, yesterday’s copy of The Himalayan Times informed me that “The Ministry for Home Affairs has fixed the number of public holidays other than Saturdays for the year 2071 BS.” The year 2071 refers to the Nepali calendar, which is lunar based; we still have a few weeks left of 2070; the new year, 2071, will start in mid-April. The number of holidays allotted is 50 (in addition to those 52 Saturdays, Sunday being the first day of the week in Nepal). This led me to wonder, is this number of public holidays a lot or a little? I’ve been here too long to tell; Nepal has myriad holidays and religious festivals, some of which are only marked by certain ethnic groups. But considering that Nepal has only a one-day weekend instead of a two-day one, I think it’s just right. So many years, and so much left yet to learn.

Down an alley in Kathmandu…

in Food, Kathmandu, mo: mo, restaurants

Today I had the wonderful experience of discovering a tiny, lovely piece of Kathmandu I’d never seen before–thanks to someone who’s been here just months. When I met a friend for lunch, she took me down an alley which I’d seen but never entered; it opened up into a small courtyard rimmed with eateries and shops. Up some steps was Phat Khat, a small restaurant with friendly staff, good food, and wonderful wooden tables (something I notice). Half of the tables are on their outside balcony, where an overhanging tree makes you feel as if you’ve just climbed up a treehouse and are now sitting up there looking down at the world. We enjoyed the spinach and cheese mo:mo, as well as the chicken variety, with cold local Gorkha beer. The spinach and cheese, a recommendation from my friend who’d had it before, was definitely a winner.

I kept thinking how many things I have yet to discover in Nepal, even after all these years, and how great it is to be introduced to something by someone seeing the city through new eyes.

Thank you, Christina!

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