Hidden treats

Food Issue 173 Apr, 2016
Text by Evangeline Neve

A Delicious Breakfast at an Out-Of-Sight Patan Eatery with no Name.

If there is one thing that is certain to pique my interest, it’s when I hear of a local place to eat that’s tucked away and out of sight, but beloved amongst those in its neighborhood. So, when I heard about a breakfast place in Patan, locally known even though it was nameless, I knew I had to see it for myself.

As we passed through the nondescript alley-like entrance into a tiny square courtyard, my first thought was But there’s nothing here! Then I saw the opening on the left, from which emanated the smell of good things cooking; and once inside, heaping piles of food and full tables filling the dim interior. 

Breakfast here consists simply of the things that have made this place so famous: alu chop and malpuwa—both freshly fried and served piping hot with a bowl of spicy, tangy, rich vegetable and pea curry. The alu was crispy and very good, but what really blew me away was the malpuwa. I’m sure I’ve eaten this before somewhere over the years, but I felt like I was having it for the very first time. So well made and also so fresh, the malpuwa was like a delicious combination of a donut and a pancake—soft and light on the inside and crunchy on the outside, it wasn’t too sweet either, but just a perfect balance. Perfect with a cup of early morning chiya, it was so good that we quickly ordered another one each, and sat enjoying them in that perfect silence when you are sharing something simple and unexpectedly delicious with friends. I can well understand why this place is so popular; if I lived around here this is where you’d find me all the time. 

As we sat there, the groups of students at the tables gave way to laborers and young women grabbing a bite on their way to the office. Breakfast is served from 5 to 11 a.m., after which you can get freshly made chowmien and a few other choices. Instead of trying to offer numerous menu items, what they have done here is to simply focus on doing a few select things very, very, well. Moving from one giant steaming wok to another, Ramesh Rajkarnikar told us that they have been open since his grandfather’s time. Their popularity spread by word of mouth, and they have never had, nor needed, a name. 

We were lucky enough to be guided here by a friend who lives in the area, but if you want to try these delicious breakfast treats too, here are the best directions I can provide: go to Mangal Bazaar in Patan and head down towards Tangal. Just past the small Chakrabahil Chowk, and almost directly opposite the Prabhu Bank ATM, on your left, is a narrow entranceway leading inside. Or you could try asking a local where the alupasal is… 

Good luck with your search and enjoy your breakfast!