Street Food Love

Food Issue 178 Sep, 2016

If you are the unconventional of kind and are truly in love with food, then you are probably not the kind to be thrown off by the possibility of a little stomach ache. 

The real taste of any culture rests in the street food the place has to offer. The ever-bustling city of Kathmandu is thriving with gastronomic adventures at every corner, galli and chowk. We take you to a journey that entails delicious encounters at each stop. These humble foods are closer to a common man’s heart and budget, bursting with flavours, and may cause a slight rumbling of the stomach. But the probability of a little stomach ache should not scare you off from taking up this journey. Come join us!
2) Sekuwa: The Nepali-style barbecue – Sekuwa, is as much a loved weekend-get-together plan as it is a popular street dish. A growing trend in Kathmandu street food scene, you will find at least one sekuwa stand in vicinity. While the crowd favourite choice of meat is buff, you will find unconventional stands or thela serving luscious pork too. These charred proteins are smoked over burning coal and is served in bite-size chunks along with the ubiquitous tomato achaar and red-chilli sauce. We found our favourite at Basantapur. They serve theirs alongside bubble rice and it is delicious.
Stick Food: Easy, accessible and delicious, stick food in Nepal is a beautiful assemblage of western delights such as sausage and salami, and eastern delicacies like alu chop and tofu. Deep fried and served with spicy sauces, most everything-on-a-stick stalls sprinkle a good amount of black salt over the order to give it a tart-y effect. A few sticks of one of each on the menu keep your stomach from growling out of hunger during a shopping spree, until you are ready for a proper meal. Also light on the wallet, it isn’t a surprise to see on-the-budget students hovering around these stalls, sharing a bite and a whole lot of laughs with their friends. 

Panipuri/Chat: A borrowed street snack from our southern neighbour, panipuri and chat has found its way from our stomach to our heart and made a place for itself there. Panipuri is a concoction of crispy fried semolina balls, filled with seasoned mashed potatoes and lentils, and served with a tangy sauce. Chat is a messy but delicious mix of potatoes, crisp fried bread, yogurt, chopped onions, chickpeas, and of course a tangy sauce. Fulfilling and very budget friendly, feel no shame in popping mouthfuls of panipuri one after the another, or order as many plates as you can consume of the sinful chat. It is after all, the streets.   

Flavoured Soda: As a kid, the marble at the neck of soda bottle was always fascinating. After every gulp, I would check to see if the marble is still there, and it always was. It is still a wondrous invention to me, but I have moved on to more satisfying discoveries within soda. Flavoured soda at Ranjanagalli has managed to excite and mesmerize its customers for years now. Just to see the assortment of colourful bottles at this hole-in-the-wall place is refreshing. Choosing from a long list of flavours such as cola, lime, raspberry, orange, etc. can be exhausting at times, but this also means you can experiment with it at each visit. There is nothing better that can help you beat the summer heat of Kathmandu than a cool glass of soda from Ranjanagalli.

Chatpate: Many a food-horror stories begin with chatpate, and yet every time we come across a chatpate stand we will buy at least Rs. 20 worth of it as if we are in a trance like state. That is the magic of chatpate, one of the most common and loved street food in Nepal. A quick mix of bubble rice, instant noodles, peas, potatoes, chilli, tomato sauce, and a squeeze of lime is all it takes, and the didi or dai preparing it will do it in the speed of light. The spice-level of the dish can be fixed according to your taste, so let the maker know of it. Served in a paper cone, with paper slips for spoon, the dish is as street-friendly as it can get. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is highly recommended you do, even if it is at a risk of a stomach ache.