No matter what area of Nepal you are in, when you’re looking for delicious home cooked Nepali food, you’ll find dal bhat. The great thing about dal bhat is that it’s a delicious meal. Dal means soup, which is usually a lentil soup similar to the Indian version of dal, but a little soupier. Bhat on the other hand is a main staple starch, which normally indicated rice, but if rice is not available, it can mean another form of starch to go with the sides.
A meal of Nepali dal bhat (दालभात) all begins on a big metal plate which is piled high with rice. The dal soup is normally place in a small metal bowl and served on the side. While this is the barebones Nepali food combination, usually more sides are added to make the meal more complete. Dal bhat tarkari (दाल भात तरकारी) for instance, is the rice and dal combination along with a side of seasonal vegetables – often some kind of green vegetable fried up or curried cauliflower. Also, if you like to eat meat, there’s often the option of ordering chicken, buffalo, or beef curry to accompany your meal. I personally loved chicken and buffalo curry and also a dish they call chicken chilly.
For this particular Nepali food meal I was just wandering around Kathmandu, actually getting my Thai visa, when I became extremely hungry. Nepali local restaurants are often hidden from the road by curtains which you have to pull back in order to see what’s going on. This was why it was sometimes hard to find food in Nepal, because restaurants are often hidden by drapes. But nevertheless, peek your head into a curtain and there’s usually something delicious. This small neighborhood restaurant was owned by a motherly lady who had a selection of delicious dishes all prepared when I arrived. I just ordered the dal bhat (दालभात) and when she asked me if I wanted chicken, I couldn’t resist. A plate of rice, peas and potatoes curry, chicken curry, and dal was what came with my meal. After downing my first helping, she then brought more more and more food, a bowl of chickpeas that were slightly cold and still quite firm, and a soft boiled egg, which I was extremely excited about.
The egg was soft boiled so the yolk and even some of the white were still soft and perfect to go over my plate of rice. Along with some of the achar chili sauce, a sort of Nepali food salsa, the egg was incredible! Dal bhat makes a wonderful and fulfilling meal when you’re in Nepal. It’s served fresh, it’s for the most part nutritious, and it really satisfies when you’re hungry!
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