Food stuff part 1
Locally produced food in Nepal is tasty enough and there is plenty of it but to the casual tourist eating as a local, there is a distinct lack of variety away from the tourist strip. Those beef steaks, lasagnes, bangers and mash or lamb chops are not easily found among the local network of cafés and restaurants in downtown Pokhara hence a definite lack of white skins sampling the delights of Momo, Dahl Baht and a Nepali Thali.
So, before delving into what constitutes a Momo, a quick word about food on the strip. It's expensive, that's inevitable and reports suggest quantities are small, also inevitable as restaurateurs seek to maximise profits - just like it is in England! Despite this however, the variety of food on offer is exceptional with all corners of the world represented, although I haven't spotted 'Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding' yet. The dining surroundings are somewhat more inline with Western standards and judging by the numbers hanging out here, food quality must be reasonable. So, if your budget is big but appetite small then eat on the tourist strip. Be prepared to pay 3x more than local prices for just about everything, except the beer!
So, what exactly is a Momo. Well, it's popular with locals as a snack, seems to be available every few yards in downtown and can best be described as a rather big version of the ravioli. Refined flour mixed with water and formed into a crimped circular parcel stuffed with either minced chicken or chopped vegetables, flavoured with curry spices and served with handmade tomato chilli sauce. Dahl Baht is another local delicacy - in simple terms it's curried lentils, boiled rice served as an evening meal in the main. For that lunchtime snack locals can be seen tucking into veggie samosas, munching on chapatti bread accompanied by dahl or a vegetable curry concoction. Lightly fried noodles are another popular dish - the Nepali version of chow mien, and served with that delicious handmade tomato chilli sauce. Aloo paratha, a flat bread with curried potato rolled into the dough and cooked much like a pancake - delicious and comes served with that handmade tomato sauce. Sometimes, if they like you, a small cup of curried lentils will wind it's way to the table. Nepali thali is the evening dish of choice among locals. It's a silver plate segmented into compartments. The largest contains boiled rice while various kinds of vegetables or chicken pieces occupy the smaller compartments and the idea is to mix and match with the rice - well, I think that's what's supposed to happen!
So, as this article seems to be rambling on I'd better sign off and return with part 2 later. Read about chicken, breakfast and how I reduce the risk of food poisoning.