12 Aug 2017
5 min read
We visited some hundred eateries and consumed an incalculable number of calories while handpicking some 50 joints in and around Kathmandu--with one objective: to acquaint you with some of the best grub those eateries have to offer. And today, we mark the anniversary of Hunger Hunt, a show that has earned us wide appreciation and viewership (for which we are truly grateful), with this assemblage of the top 10 places we featured this year.
The Choila Specialist, Kamalbinayak, Bhaktapur
Jeet Gopal Shrestha and his wife have been grilling choilas at this spot for the past two decades, and local weekenders and travellers heading to Nagarkot have been consuming them by platefuls. Even a meat dish that is quite common in Newari households, Shrestha's choilas are considered unusually delicious, and they often leave you begging for more, although they're made using nothing more than common household spices--salt, cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, cumin and turmeric sizzled in mustard oil. Perhaps it is his experience of over 20 years that gives Shrestha that extraordinary choila-making flair. Either way, drop by his joint, located right beside the Kamal Binayak bus park in Bhaktapur.
Hygienic Pani Puri, Mangal Bazar, Patan
This small, minimalist joint remains hidden behind an alleyway towards the northeast of Patan Durbar Square, Mangal Bazar. A huge sign leads you inside a courtyard, where Krishna Kapali has set up tables, benches and a pani puri stall in a clean, hygienic setting. What started out as a tiny stall 15 years ago has now turned into a local success story and a popular pani-puri hotspot. Kapali also serves stick food on the side, which is great for those who turn up famished.
Bara Pasal in Nyatapola, Bhaktapur
Technically, this eatery near Nyatapola, in Bhaktapur, does not have a name of its own. It's run by a duo of an elderly lady and her daughter-in-law, and that has earned it its famous moniker--sasu-buhari ko bara pasal. While the neighbours refer to the elderly lady as aji, the locals who flock here call her guruma, out of respect. So, it is also often called aji ko bara pasal or guruma ko bara pasal. The point, however, is that aji cooks amazing baras with eggs and buff mince, and her daughter-in-law also serves seasonal vegetable soup, along with spicy potatoes prepared the Newari way.
Aji ko Poleko Anda, Raaniban
Hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, soft/hard scrambled, as frittatas, deviled, baked--there are way too many ways to consume eggs. But are you familiar with ember-roasted eggs? They're surprisingly tasty and are known to be highly nutritious. Just drop by this tiny eatery at Raniban, near Boharatar (close to the army barracks), and get acquainted with this unusual grub and also the aji who makes them. You may have to ask locals for directions.
Pokhara Pizza House, Dhumbarahi
For a relatively new and small pizza joint, Pokhara Pizza House is claiming not just a fair share of the pizza market here in Kathmandu, but also a long list of loyal patrons who don't mind frequenting this Dhumbarahi-based pizzeria more than a couple of times a week. The reason is quite simple. The cooks here roast their pizzas in a classic firewood-fuelled brick-oven, which cooks the pizzas just the right way--the pizzas have a charred, crunchy base and cheese-glazed toppings, both cooked to perfection by the enormous amount of heat their firewood oven produces. They also offer the complete gamut of meat, veggie and fruit toppings, and their prices are reasonable too.
Newa Lahana, Kirtipur
A traditional Newari joint tucked away in Kirtipur, Lahana is home to many who have fallen for rich, delicious and elaborate Newari food. At their famous spacious joint, they serve all sorts of Newari dishes, including choila, jala, sapu mhichha, tishyo, dyakala, pukala, bhutan, samay-baji, and more. But the most delicious, fulfilling and intricate among all of these dishes has to be their complete serving of Newari bhoye, which includes over a dozen traditional Newari delicacies put together for a completely balanced eating experience.
Bhauju ko Bhatti, Gabahal, Patan
This little bhatti remains hidden in plain sight along a long, narrow lane at Gabahal, Patan. Yet it is the go-to spot for numerous locals, students from nearby colleges and schools, office-goers and out-of-towners who occasionally drop by for some appetising and fulfilling fried egg and beaten rice, or bhuteko anda-chiura in local vernacular. Bhauju also serves delicious fried-buff and spicy alu-tama, but nothing beats the taste and gratification you get from her bhuteko anda-chiura.
CD Laphing, Boudha
Nobody knows when exactly laphing became a thing here in Kathmandu, but a few places in Fulbari, Boudha, have always been serving laphing to locals and curious tourists. The oldest and most popular among them is CD Laphing Shop. Served cold in a bowl, with a spicy soy soup or without, these Tibetan cold jelly-noodles are rolled with rehydrated dried soybeans and diced, and they make for a succulent, spicy experience.
Mama's Tea Shop, Basantapur
At this famous Basantapur tea shop, which has a long history of over 20 years, Mama doles out endless cups of tea every day, along with some nuggets of wisdom for those who'd like to listen to him. Very minimalistic and homey, this place serves tea and packaged doughnuts sourced from a local bakery. Expect nothing more than these items, and bring along your friends for a nice conversation over several cups of Mama's tasty tea.