7 Mouth-Watering Nepali Snacks

Nepal, a beautiful country located in the Himalayan outback, is a paradise for hiking and trekking lovers. Enclosed by mountains and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, the country is gifted with out of this world splendor. But, natural beauty is not the only thing that makes Nepal beautiful.     

The cities like Patan and Kathmandu, home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, attracts tourists from different corners of the world. Especially, the Kathmandu Valley with its mesmerizing monasteries and iconic palaces is a favorite among tourists.

Nepali cooking is another star attraction among travelers, who are always looking for a new adventurer. The mélange of recipes including momos (dumplings) to the national staple daal bhaat tarkari makes the Nepali cooking a gastronomic affair. The local ingredients are mostly used for cooking the dishes, giving it a unique taste and texture.

The Nepali snacks or Khaja (something eaten between meals) are an extension of an elaborate gastronomic culture of the country. It’s street food and snacks have a deep connection with the cultural heritage of Nepal and reflect the warmth of its people. The list includes some of the common and some offbeat snacks of the country, which have made their mark on the world map.

A Word about Nepali Cuisines

Nepali cuisine is predominantly a beautiful blend of Chinese, Tibetan and Indian style of cooking making this country a potpourri of flavors and textures. Although, a huge percentage of the population is vegetarian – there are regions in the country where non-vegetarian cuisines are very popular.

The Nepali snacks are very interesting and diverse and have a district texture. Available in streamed, fried, or mildly tossed variants, these bite-size dishes create an explosion of flavors in the mouth. Here are some of the popular snacks in the country.

1. Momo

Goes best with – Hot Soup or Thukpa

Momos or stuffed dumplings are probably the most famous Nepali snacks. According to historians, mono came to Nepal with the Tibetans who were displaced from their country. Usually, these small dumplings are made from multi-purpose flour and are stuffed with fillings including vegetables, chicken, or sometimes both. The raw dumplings are then steamed or fried, and are served with hot broth and an aachar (dipping sauce). With time chefs are experimenting with the dishes and bringing out new variants of momos made from different flours and stuffing.

2. Sel Roti

Goes best with – Tea or coffee

One of the ever-popular Nepali snacks, Sel Roti, is a delightful combination of doughnut and bagel. Made from rice flour, the circular disk-shaped crispy bread has a crusty texture and mushy inside. A popular breakfast item of Nepal, the texture of Sel Roti is enhanced with some unflavored yogurt and piping hot tea. Since Sel Roti has a longer shelf life, usually locals make this item in huge batches to serve during the festive season. But you won’t have to wait for a festival to taste this Nepali delicacy. You can find several roadside stalls selling this bagel-shaped donut in the evening.  

3. Chatamari

Goes best with – Hot beverages like tea or coffee

The list of Nepali snacks is incomplete without including the Nepali equivalent of pizza – Chatamari. The base is made from rice flour and is topped with assorted toppings including ground meat, fried eggs, and seasonal vegetables. Experimentation with the toppings has lead to cheese infused Chatamari or the complete vegan variant of the dish. This crepe-like dish requires a special skill set and some years of experience in cooking, and can also be served as an appetizer or a main course.

4. Thupka

Goes best with – Momos

A type of noodle soup is one of the best things after a hectic day touring and exploring the uneven terrains of Nepal. Another popular snack derived from the Tibetan influence, the dish has transformed gradually to fit the local taste buds. In such Nepali snacks, usages of Asiatic spices make it closer to Indian cuisines. Available at small shacks as well as high restaurants in the country, the soup is always a highlight of every meal. Apart from great taste, the dish is known to fight cold and is considered comfort food by many.    

5. Yomari

Goes best with – Tea

Yomari, or Yamari, is a popular delicacy of the Newari community of Nepal. A popular festival dish, it is a steamed dish with a sweet filling of chaku – a filling made of sugar, coconut, and nuts. Made during the festival of Yomari Punhi, the dish is associated with good luck and wealth.

To make Yomari, rice dough is rolled into a particular shape resembling a fish. The pie-like dish is then stuffed with coconut filling and placed inside the steamer for a few minutes. Usually, yomari is served with sweet syrup for extra sweetness.

6. Dhido or Dhindo

Goes best with – Curried vegetables

One of the most popular dishes among the Sherpa community, Dhido or Dhindo can create an explosion of taste in your mouth. Although you have to do a bit of legwork to get a hold of this dish, it is surely worth an effort.

This variant of Nepali snacks is made from cooked buckwheat flour paste and looks similar to thick porridge – but tastes better. Traditionally, a plate of Dhindo is served with fresh ghee which then mixed with the dish.

7. Samsa or Samosa

Goes best with – Tea

Another popular snack of Nepal and the last item on the list is samosas – stuffed curried vegetables rolled into a pastry and deep-fried in oil. A popular evening snack, in the evening you would find people gathering around small shacks selling fired fitters. The best way to eat your samosa is dipping it sauce or chutney and eating it with a cup of hot tea. Although samosa is a predominantly vegetarian dish, there are meat infused variants are also available.    

Nepali snacks are usually referred to as Khaja and are served between meals along with a cup of hot beverage. These dishes are light, healthy, and surely tasty – causing an explosion of flavors in your mouth.    

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