I am perfectly aware that I do still have a long overdue post to write about my trip to Nepal in April last year. But in the spirit of Chinese New Year overeating (which also explains the absence of posts over the past week due to uncontrollable food consumption), I thought it would be wise to slot in this post about Nepalese food, inspired by the recent post-trip gathering to a Nepalese restaurant in Little India in Singapore.
Before that, just a little background regarding me and food photography: I hate taking pictures of food. It is perhaps partly due to the fact that I believe in just indulging in the food the moment you see it, but mostly due to me being just plain lazy. I don’t have the habit of taking out my phone/camera and snap pictures of the dishes that are served in front of me. Unless if it looks something like this.
So back to Nepalese food. The first time I actually had it was surprisingly in Hong Kong in 2011. My first impression was that it is similar to Indian food but with much less spice. I still hold on to the impression largely, but have certainly grown very fond of it, as much as I am fond of Indian food. One thing that is irreplaceable is the comfort of eating dal bhat. It is a very simple staple food, comprised of a mountain of steamed rice served with lentil soup and a few other side dishes like pickles if you are lucky. But when you are hungry after a long day of hike, there is no better food to recharge you.
I think dal bhat represents really well what I miss the most about Nepal: the simplicity of things there. Like the home-cooked breakfast that we had almost everyday when we were staying at the mountain – served with a glass of hot ginger tea while breathing in the fresh air in the morning, you will realise that enjoying life can come from the simplest things.
As tasty as the fried rice and dal bhat goes, my favourite food, hands down, was the momos. They are basically dumplings, but served with spicy sauce and could be stuffed with either chicken, buffalos or vegetables.
So naturally, when ten months after the trip we decided to gather at a Nepalese restaurant called Gurkha Palace, I was thrilled to have momos again. They look vastly different from the ones in Nepal but were very tasty. I especially liked the spicy sauce in the middle – perhaps not the most authentic but definitely spicy enough for my liking. 😉
We also had a spread of other food including some Northern Indian cuisine. There was a bitter gourd dish that I found surprisingly tasty and went really well with the garlic naan we had. We of course attempted to recreate dal bhat by ordering some rice (bhat) and well, some dal (lentil soup), but it was nothing like what we had in the mountains.
The experience was made all the more special since I visited the place with the awesome bunch of people whom I went to Nepal with. One of them, who is a Nepali, promised to hold a momo party at his house. How cool is that?!
One very interesting observation that I had about Nepal was how popular Tuborg is there. Being the sister brand of the much more popular Carlsberg, this Danish beer is almost unheard of anywhere else. But here, in a country like Nepal, it was pretty much the staple beer. Of course that just added to the whole excitement when I was in Nepal, i.e. being able to have something Danish there!
(I was half-expecting the Gurkha Palace to serve Tuborg, but alas all they had was Heineken. Even so, we were not allowed to order any alcohol due to the new regulation imposed post 8-December riot in Little India – alcohols are only to be served between 6 am-8 pm for the next six months.)
After writing this post, hereby I promise in writing that I will finally get started writing about my experiences volunteering in Nepal and hopefully spread a bit of good word of some of the great work the organisation is doing there.
Till then, I’m looking forward to the momo party.