It’s no kept secret that Nepal is home to unparalleled scenery and hiking spots like Langtang trek , Everest Base Camp and Annapura Base Camp unlike any other. But one thing many people don’t realize is that Nepal street food is just as amazing – especially their local street food! It’s affordable, easily accessible, and absolutely delicious; making it definitely worth a try during your visit. After all, one of the best ways to get to know a country in depth is via their cuisine, which is undoubtedly one of the products of a nation’s intricate culture and local taste.
You don’t need to spend much time investigating about the best and most authentic food dotting the Kathmandu streets because there’s a tour company that does all of that for you – the Backstreet Academy.
About the Kathmandu Street Food Walking Tour
Backstreet Academy offers a food tour known as the ‘Secret Food Tour’, which exposes the most locally-loved hideouts along the old streets of Thamel. Here, you get truly authentic Nepali cuisine made with love by the residents of Kathmandu….instead of accidentally believing the “Traditional Nepali Food!” signs plastered along the main roads in front of restaurants which are definitely not authentic.
To be honest, I’ve mentioned quite often that I love food tours, We’ve done a lot all over the world like Hong Kong, Malaysia, New York, Asheville, New Orleans, Lisbon, Madrid and so much more. They usually always show the best the city has to offer. When we took this tour, we had been in Kathmandu for a while but we just didn’t have time as we had to attend a conference. This tour is best done at the beginning of your trip. We had a lot of momos and Nepali food at this point but this tour brought us to the best momos in Nepal ( at least from those we
How many Nepal Street Food do you taste in this tour
The tour typically has you explore 5 different stops with a variety of food and 2 drinks stops The session is directed by an expert guide who knows the ins and outs of Kathmandu, making sure that everything you eat is delicious and fresh. Aside from that, they carefully curate the selection of the stops and know all of the owners personally. They are up to date with the cleanliness standard of the food, reducing the risk of any stomach bugs after the session.
We met up with our guide at a designated area and did some prepping before we started the tour. Because the air in Kathmandu is quite polluted, the company offers complimentary face masks as well as bottled water just in case you ever get thirsty along the way.
What time the the Kathmandu Food Tour start?
The guide explained to us how many stalls we were going to visit, as well as how long the tour was going to take. The Thamel food tour is a perfect way to spend lunch because it only lasts 2-3 hours at most depending on how long you take snapping pictures and exploring the area. We opted to do it at 4PM though as 12 noon can be very hot (at least during the season we went but this would really be a good lunch trip)
The best part? You can eat and drink as much as you’d like, to your heart’s content (save some for the latter part of the tour, though!). All the meals are included in the price, which is a total of 16 USD per person. (You can secure your tickets here)
And with all that said and done, we finally began our hunger-led adventure!
Kathmandu Street Food Stops
The first stop includes squeezing through the tiny Kathmandu alleyways to find a group of vendors sitting on the floor, in front of them a big tray of pancake-looking circles. We found out that these were called Bara – which were indeed a type of pancake, but the savory kind made primarily with lentils, eggs, and various local spices. It’s made by mixing all the ingredients together, rolling it onto a flat dough and then cooking it on a oil-slicked surface much like one would a normal pancake.
The bara was paired with some potatoes and a spiced curry sauce, making for a delicious appetizer and a great start to the food tour.
After downing the Bara, we had a sweet snack in the same food stall, called Yomari. Another name for it is Yamari. It’s a steamed dumpling shaped in a triangular shape, similar to that of a fish. It’s said that the reason for this shape is to symbolize the Goddess Saraswati and wisdom. It’s soft and stuffed with a sweet molasses mixture, best served when still hot. One side of the dumpling was filled with sweetened milk and the other half with sugarcane for a surprise in each bite.
If you have a sweet tooth, you will love this dessert.
Momos as very common not just in Kathmandu, but in the entirety of Nepal. It’s really no wonder because the stuffed dumplings are very versatile – there are sweet, savory, spicy, and sour stuffed momos depending on your mood. You can purchase them at stalls, restaurants, and teahouses – but the guide was quite confident in telling us that the momos we were going to taste on this tour would be the best in the city. Because of how many stores sell and specialize this food, having the ‘best in the city’ title is quite a big deal!
We continued to traverse through the alleyways and finally arrived at the momo stop where they sold a variety of them with different fillings – vegetable and various meat selections. What’s special about these is that they were served in a delicious, soupy spiced sauce that really added to the already flavorful fillings of the dumplings.
What we tried
We tried the Buff Momo Jhol which really lived up to our expectations. It was so good. They even have spicy sauce for those like me who prefer everything with chili.
3rd Stop: India Street Food in Nepal
This reminded me of my india trip but I loved it just the same
The next stop was samosas! We went to a store known locally as Tip Top samosa, called that name because that’s also the name of a tailor shop in the vicinity. It’s an Indian restaurant with a variety of different dishes, but we had samosas drenched in a complementary sweet and spicy dipping sauce. There are all sorts of stuffings available, but the ones we ate were filled with a mixture of potatoes, peas, onions and spices.
People love Tip Top samosas so much that the area is always busy, and there can be queues during lunch rushes – a good thing! Because if the locals are willing to line up for the food, then it must really be delicious.
The area is acutally a motorbike parking area too so you can sit on the motorbikes while you eat. Or at least, during the time that we are there, we were told to do just that.
In the same courtyard, we were also able to try Pani Puri – a fluffed, fried and hollow crispy snack which was filled with flavoured water and a variety of different spices and chopped up veggies. They’re also quite convenient to eat; tiny, bite sized balls which are easy to pop into your mouth.
Another dessert! The Jalebi bears a similarity to funnel cake, but without the powdered sugar and chocolate sauce. It’s also made the same way – by pouring a flour mixture into hot oil in a circular motion for a unique, pretzel-like shape. The sweet consists of deep-fried dough which is then coated into a sugary syrup making for a treat that’s crunchy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.
Fizzy flavored soda
After all the food, we finally arrived at a stall for a much-needed drink. We arrived at a store selling sodas in a variety of different flavors – ginger, watermelon, strawberry, lemon, and more. Aside from the typical flavors, they also have medicated sodas which are said to help your digestion, as well as ease any other gastric issues. And by ‘fizzy soda’ it really does mean fizzy – you can feel it bubble up all the way down to your stomach after a gulp. Be sure to drink it down fast so the fizz doesn’t disappear!
This will make you burp a lot but Kanti said that this is good for digestion.
Dahi Puri Chaat
This was our last food stop, made memorable with the delicious Dahi Puri Chaat – it’s made with a crispy treat similar to that of the Pani Puri we had tried earlier in the day. But the crisps aren’t the only thing in the dish – it’s a mixture of the Pani Puri, combined with smashed potatoes, masala, sweet tamarind chutney, and then finally drenched with sweetened beaten yogurt and spices making for an explosion of different complex flavors and textures with every bite.
This is another favorite of mine, if only I wasn’t full. During this tour you should really come hungry
To end our tour, we had a popular drink that is found aplenty not just in Nepal but in the entire Indian subcontinent. Because of this, there are many different ways to make lassi – but typically it consists of water, yogurt, and spices all blended together to make a frothy and refreshing drink. But the store we visited definitely does it well – the yogurt and spices were nicely partnered and garnished with fruits and nuts that added the extra kick to it. This was another stall just flocked to by locals and tourists alike! A taste of lassi is exactly what you need to simmer down the tour.
Backstreet Academy Food Tour
Backstreet Academy is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get a taste not only of Nepal’s fantastic cuisines, but of the whole of Southeast Asia. Their team themselves visit the area to canvas for some of the best examples of Nepali cuisine and brings it to the world, sharing the intricacies of culture found in food to everyone no matter where they come from with the help of their English-speaking and multilingual guides. Backstreet also makes nobody misses out, regardless of dietary preferences – whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or on a gluten-free diet. All you have to do is tell the guide before hand and they’ll set you up with some alternatives that are just as delicious.
Everything here making you hungry? Don’t miss out – book your very own Kathmandu food tour and try out the local delights for yourself! Aside from a full stomach, you’ll also gain a lot of new knowledge and trivia from your guide, making the experience all the more wholesome and memorable.
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