Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is known for its street food. You will see numerous hawkers selling delicious food throughout the city every day. Though nearly all the restaurants in Kathmandu are vegetarian, the street food has enough options to keep the meat-lovers happy. From momos (steamed or fried dumplings filled with meat or vegetables) to thukpa (noodles in a meat soup), there are plenty of dishes to choose from. Delicious and authentic, the streets of Kathmandu will make your taste buds dance to the tune of authentic Nepali cuisine. All of this and more at reasonable prices. While nearly all the food in Nepal is tasty, the street food is in a league of its own. It’s a melting pot of dishes from all over the country and beyond. Sometimes it’s cheap and sometimes it means cheating on your diet, but every time it leaves you satisfied. It’s so popular that it’s always mentioned in Nepal’s tour and travel guides.
Here’s a list of the best street food available in Kathmandu.
1.Momos: Filled with meat and veggies, momos are an iconic street food delicacy of Kathmandu. They are made from wheat flour and served with a variety of traditional curries, ketchup, chutney or morning glory (zeerai) curry. It is such a common dish in Kathmandu that you can easily find it at various roadside food stalls or shops.
2.Butter Tea: Butter tea, suja or cha-ya as it is known in a few places, is a popular tea-time drink throughout the country. It is made by boiling butter, salt and tea leaves together. The tea has a unique taste that can be acquired only if it’s prepared right. And when done right, it is something worth indulging in.
3.Laphing: Laphing is a popular snack made from fresh flour dumplings deep-fried in oil. This savoury snack is served with butter, bean sauce and pickles making it more appetising. Laphing is available in two varieties—pink (spicy) and white (plain). The former has minced mutton, while the latter has nothing but the flour dumpling with salt added to enhance its taste.
4.Dal Bhat: Dal bhat is widely considered among the best food in Kathmandu and is also a holy dish of the Nepalese people. It is made by mixing rice and lentils with spicy curry, vegetables, pickles and condiments. It is eaten with a fried pastry and warm water. Locals love to eat this every day because it is full of proteins and carbohydrates that help maintain energy.
5.Thukpa: A meat-lover’s street staple, thukpa is a soup prepared with noodles, meat and veggies. It is typically spicy, tangy and really tasty. Thukpa can ease your hunger pangs as it is served alongside a hearty meal and generally followed by momos.
6. Sel Roti: Made of rice flour, sel roti is a popular, yummy and spicy snack found in Kathmandu. It looks quite unique because of the garlic pieces added to the dough. Barring some high streets, you will find sel roti on almost every street of Kathmandu. People often buy it as a roadside snack and eat it while walking home or to their place of work.
7.Dahi Puri: Dahi puri is a beloved Kathmandu street food item. It’s crispy, small and made with curd among other ingredients. One of the most famous street food stalls in Kathmandu, known for its dahi puri, is Sanga Ghar located at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur.
8.Aloo Chop: Aloo is a popular item in Nepalese cuisine, and aloo chops are considered one of the best street food dishes in Kathmandu. Served in both Indian and Nepalese kitchens, aloo chops are made with mashed potato, onions, green peppers, spices and at least one chilli. They are generally eaten as an afternoon snack or later in the evening when people start to crave something a bit more substantial. In Nepal, it is not only eaten as a snack on its own but also paired with other snacks for extra flavour. For example, with dal bhat tarkari, which is a mixture of rice, lentils and vegetables.
9. Pani Puri: Pani puri, or just puri as the locals call it, is a popular dish in Kathmandu. The reason why this snack has become so famous is because it’s super delicious, simple to make and very affordable. Pani puri is made using hollow, thin, deep-fried shells of dough that are filled with boiled potato, chana (chickpeas), masala and spices. Many vendors use plastic bags to steam the puris on tongs. There are dozens of pani puri shops in Kathmandu, especially around Durbar Square, but the Shital Phedi road in Kathmandu is widely considered as one of the best places to try pani puri.
10.Juju Dhau: The name juju dhau means ‘snack at midnight’. This popular street food of Kathmandu is made of chura or small pieces of fried dough and is usually served with a spicy sauce. Green peas and rice flour are fried with spices like black sesame seeds, echi (small Indian jujube) seeds, salt, baking powder, chilli powder and turmeric. If you are going to spend a day or two in Kathmandu, you should try juju dhau for breakfast.
Crispy fried momos, pungent cheese grilled in butter, chow mein, elaichi lassi, samosas, the list is endless. If you’ve been to Nepal, or are planning a trip, you’re in for a culinary treat when you eat in Kathmandu. So treat yourself to Kathmandu’s best street food!