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Bhaktapur has become well known as one of the world’s only living ancient cities. It still has the ambience and culture of olden times but has a modern charm represented by the Newari culture and traditions.
But Bhaktapur has also become recognised as the centre for Newari cuisine. It is a significant part of the culture and identity of the Newa people. Visitors from all parts of Nepal come to Bhaktapur not just for its historical significance, but to enjoy the unique flavour of Newari food. There are also some special dishes which are only prepared during special occasions and festivals.
When you wander through the many narrow lanes in Bhaktapur your senses will constantly be aroused by the aromas of Newari food coming from almost every local restaurant and private residence. In addition to standard international dishes, The Nanee specializes in Newari food and only sources ingredients from local farmers. Due to Nepal’s geography and varied climate there is a wide range of ingredients available on a year round basis.
Following are some of the popular Newari dishes:
Chhoila is a special meat dish made out of buffalo meat. It is spiced ground meat prepared by roasting buffalo meat on an open fire. Only the tender part of the meat is used to make chhoila. The meat is smoked until the outer portion is cooked, whereas the inner portion of the meat is left partially uncooked. The chewy and smokey flavor of smoked meat blended with various homemade spices and herbs makes this an appetizing dish.
Bara, Wo: in Newari, is a lentil pancake made from any type of lentil available. Bara holds special meaning in Newa culture. It is a sign of good luck, often offered as “Sagun” on special occasions.
The lentils are blended into a smooth paste. A scoop of paste is then poured into a pan with oil, like a pancake. Wo: comes with a flavor of your preference. You can choose to have it with meat, eggs, or random veggies as toppings.
Wo: Chatamari, widely famous for Newari pizza, is another special dish available everywhere in Bhaktapur. But it has a different taste to the usual pizza.
It has a thin crust of rice flour spread in a pan. The crispy base is then filled with various kinds of enjoyable toppings. The blend of crispiness and tenderness of the toppings goes so well that every bite is very tasty.
Yomari is a Newari steamed dumpling filled with sweet ingredients called Chakku (made from jaggery or molasses or palm sugar) or sometimes khuwa (Khoya). It is usually served with a special kind of pickle for extra flavor in every bite.
The name yomari comes from the Nepal bhasa words “ya” and “mari”, meaning like and delicacy/bread consecutively. So, yomari means a popular delicacy.
The feeling of rice flour and the chakku blending perfectly inside the mouth is unique. It feels consistent, soft, and tender.
This is one of the signature dishes of Newari cuisine. The khaja set is served with numerous colorful and attractive dishes arranged on the plate.
It is the king of Newari dishes. It brings several entities together that go very well when munched together. It is very tasty when savored individually as well.
Various kinds of beans, potato dishes, fried ginger, saag (green leaf vegetables), chhoila, egg, pickle, and beaten rice are mixed together to be served as a single dish called Samayabaji.
This delicate dish not only tastes delicious but is acknowledged as being quite healthy.
King’s curd is available on almost every street in Bhaktapur. Its soft, creamy, sweet texture and taste are appreciable.
Juju dhau is a popular outlet in Bhaktapur. You can find the authentic taste of juju dhau nowhere else but here because they sell the best dahu. Many people come to Bhaktapur just to enjoy the authentic taste of juju dhau.
A clay pot is usually available so you can carry and enjoy it while walking around the city.
This is a healthy stew made of bamboo shoots, potatoes, beans, and some flavor mixtures. It is sour, hot, and spicy, which is usually the specialty of every dish in the Newari community.
The fermented bamboo shoots give the soup a peculiar sourness.
Takha and Sanya khuna are closely related to each other. Both are jellied meat soups. Sanya khuna is added with some special kind of fish for flavor.
It is an exotic, frozen spicy dish. A whole lot of red chili powder is mixed with boiled meat and the bone of a buffalo. The meat is boiled with homemade spices for three to four hours straight in a big cauldron. After that, the soup is poured into an earthen vessel and left to settle overnight to form a jelly.
The sensation of this melting inside your mouth gives you a true taste of Newari cuisine. Enjoy a culinary adventure in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur has become well known as one of the world’s only living ancient cities.