We had several days to spend in Kathmandu after returning from the trek and before heading to India. We used these days to rest, try new foods, see the historical sights, and experience more of Nepal. Kathmandu is like nowhere else I’ve ever been before, full of exhilarating chaos, constant noise, strange smells, and kind people. When we very first arrived in Nepal, I almost cried in the street out of frustration, but after a few hours I was mesmerized. Instead of explaining everything we did everyday, I’ll just give some snippets of our favorite moments and things to do in Kathmandu.
FOODS WE ATE
We ate lots of weird/crazy/questionable food, but some of the most interesting/yummy were:
Fried Buffalo Neck
This was actually a gift to us by Prakash upon arriving back in Kathmandu. It came wrapped up in a piece of old newspaper in a plastic bag. When it was unwrapped the smell of fried stuff and spices filled the air. It came in tiny little fried pieces wrapped in a breading, reminiscent of popcorn chicken. It was so good. With each greasy bite, the fried meat and cartilage came with a spicy crunch. It was addicting and difficult to stop popping this crunchy pieces of neck into our mouth.
Momos are definitely my favorite Newari food. They’re like little steamed dumplings with whatever you would like inside. We went to a momo house with 30 different type of Momos and each tried a few types including mutton (goat meat), spinach + paneer, and ostrich. The ostrich meat was a dark meat and pretty good, though there were many spices so it’s hard to tell what taste was the foreign spices or the meat.
King Curd Yogurt
This for sure was the sketchiest thing we ate in Nepal and we actually ate in Bhaktapur (right outside Kathmandu), but I have to talk about it. We were looking for this yogurt (because Lonely Planet and our cab driver said we must try it), but we could not find it anywhere. We asked a random man on the street where to find the yogurt and he leads us down a narrow alley with nothing else except some chickens and pointed to a tiny sign down the alley. We thought we might as well go and went to the sign. Under the sign was a small door in the wall where ceramic pots of curded yogurt sat on the dusty floor with flies swarming all around. The woman there motioned if we wanted some of the ‘king curd’ and we nodded. She handed us two of the ceramic pots with two wooden stick/spoon things. The pots of yogurt were 25 cents each. The woman waited for us to try and was really excited that we liked her yogurt that she said she made. It was delicious! It was like a cheesecake consistency and was sweet with a hint of cinnamon. We are the yogurt on the street and got to keep our ceramic pots.
Lassi is common everywhere, also in India and there are different kinds, but Kathmandu is the first time we tried it. It’s like an liquidy yogurt drink. It can be sweet, salty, or even have fruit added. Luca loved all lassi, but I only like the sweet lassi.
Being so close to Tibet and China, there was really good Chinese food in Nepal. We just happened to go to the Chinese restaurant across from our hotel and it was so delicious! The menu had terrible translations and we had no clue what we were actually ordering. Some of our favorites on the menu were “halogen pigs feet”, “black fungus liver”, and “hot mother-in-law boiled fish”. However, everything we tried was amazing and makes excited for a future trip to China!
We had no clue that Nepalese people loved pastries so much! There were little bakeries everywhere and this one in the expat/tourist area was our favorite! We went there every morning for coffee and (too many) pastries that cost less than $1. Plus they had fantastic (mildly decent for American standards) WiFi. We spent more time here than we’d like to admit. It was definitely our favorite place in all of Thamel!