Taking ahead our food escapades in Nepal, in this episode, we are exploring some authentic and traditional recipes from the cities of Kirtipur and Lalitpur. Along with our gracious and genial host Sanam Chitrakar, we visited two very special eateries that specialise in authentic traditional food from different parts of Nepal. This gastronomic journey includes a scrumptious experience from Newa Lahana in Kirtipur and Raithaane in Lalitpur (Patan). Kirtipur is an ancient city teeming with history, heritage, rich culture, hospitality, stunning landscape views and several monuments.
We started with Kirtipur. Situated at the distance of 5km southwest of Kathmandu, it is a center of the Newar culture. Here, Newa Lahana is a community-run restaurant and open museum working towards the promotion and conservation of the Newar culture. With a fully traditional setting, arrangements and menu, it is a flag bearer in presenting authentic Newari cuisine to the world. As we entered the kitchen, we were greeted by a jolly, dexterous and busy team of local womenfolk dressed in their traditional Haku Patasi. The menu here is quite extensive. We ordered Chatamari(rice pancakes with meat and egg), Samay Bhaji(Snacks Platter), Wo(lentil pancake), Chusya Mushya(grain-based snacks platter), Shyapu Mhicha(bone marrow stuffed buffalo tripe), Yomari(steamed rice cakes with jaggery filling) along with some native rice-based liquor. The home-style food was fresh and super flavourful. The variety of flavours and textures was simply impressive. There is so much dynamism in the cuisine that leaves you gratified. Our ultimate favourite of the lot was the toothsome Yomari. The jaggery oozing out into the mouth from these steamed rice cakes transports you to a blissful zone where it's just you and this popular (revered) dessert. The liquor made from fermented rice was strong and too sour for our palette.
From there we went to Lalitpur(Patan) to another special restaurant named Raithaane (https://www.facebook.com/Raithaane/). Founded by three passionate young men, it intends to introduce the world to the traditional ingredients and components of the diverse Nepalese cuisines through its super fascinating menu. It focuses on the underappreciated and underrated aspects- be it ingredients or cooking techniques-of Nepal's food traditions. Here we were joined by Prasantha Khanal, one of the co-founders who briefed us about the lesser-known dishes and ingredients from different parts of Nepal. At his recommendation, we tried some very unusual dishes like Rikikur(savoury potato pancakes), Kanchemba(buckwheat fries) and Chamre Fakse(aromatic rice with pork and wild lichen dish). Prasantha patiently familiarized us with the details of the dishes. The taste and flavours were very unique and unprecedented. Our favourite was the kanchambe with Timmur Chop(dried spice mix made with a local chilli). The experience at Raithaane was gratifying and insightful.
We are grateful to Sanam for taking us around to such amazing places, to the amazing team at Newa Lahana and Raithaane for such endeavour and to Prasantha for all the insights. Till next time keep walking and Keep exploring.