Nepali Food: Dhal Bhat and Beyond

I had this same conversation with Nepali friends about 17 times.

“What are some good Nepali foods I should try?

“Dhal bhat.”

“Ok, and what else?”

“Just dhal bhat.”

“You only eat dhal bhat?”

“Mmmm yeah.”

My investigations, however, revealed this to not be entirely true. There’s more than just dhal bhat to the food in Nepal.

First things first, what is dhal bhat?

Dhal bhat is a platter of food centered around a heaping helping of rice (the bhat). The platter includes a vegetable, such as spinach, usually some curried potatoes and a pickled item. Oh yeah, and there’s dhal (lentil soup) which often comes in a bowl on the side. Once you have your platter, stick your hand in there, mix it all up and start shoveling it in you mouth. Trust me, you’re weird if you don’t do this.

Sometimes the sides do change. Somethimes there’s bitter cucumber instead of spinach or chicken instead of potatoes. Extra sides, such as an egg or some buffalo (yes buffalo), can usually be ordered as well.

Ok, so the dhal bhat changes up sometimes, but do people ever eat something other than dhal bhat?


Dhal bhat is commonly eaten around 9 in the morning and around 9 at night. This leaves plenty of time for some snacking. Breakfast is not a major meal. Why would it be, when lunch is at 9 AM? If my Nepali friends did eat breakfast, which many did, it was usually a cup of milk tea or milk coffee with some bread or cookies.

There’s also some snacking that goes on during that long stretch between lunch and dinner. Really, who doesn’t want to eat between 9AM and 9PM? While we were trekking, PZ and I passed a school when the children were on snack break. They left the school grounds to fill up on snacks from the local shops. These snacks were the sorts of things you’d expect kids to pick out. Some candies, chips and ice cream.

Some of my Nepali friends liked to snack on momos and thukpa. These are Tibetian dishes that are readily availible throughout the cities in Nepal. Momos are dumplings filled with veggies and meat, like buffalo. Tuk pah is a noodle soup with a sort of sweet and sour taste to it. Can’t decide which to eat? Try a mixed tuk pah. It comes with noodles and momos in the soup.

Two More Foods to Try in Nepal

Roxi, a millet wine that tastes like hard liquor but is real nice on cold nights when it’s heated up.

Yak cheese. Actually, it’s nak cheese since yaks are male, but it’s stilled called yak cheese because who know’s what the heck a nak is? Side note: I googled the word for female yak and came up with nak, dri and nuk. Could someone please agree on a word for a female yak and get back to me on that? Thanks. Anywho, the cheese isn’t much to write home about (even though I am). It’s not terrible, a little on the salty and oily side, but jazzes up a piece of plain bread. Mostly, it’s something you eat so that you can go home and tell everyone you ate yak cheese, I mean nak cheese.

This entry was posted in Food, Nepal and tagged , , by Kelsi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kelsi

I'm a 20-something girl with a penchant for travel and a love of food. I'm prone to outdoor adventures, laughs over beers and photography missions. I write about my journeys on my blog, Some Sojourns, and on the Vayable Blog.

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