Local Dal Bhat from Nepal and a look at some of the other types

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ September 2nd, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Nepalese food.
Local Dal Bhat in Nepal

Local Dal Bhat in Nepal

Local Dal Bhat is nothing to get excited about – except if you are hungry

In this series of the real Nepalese food you will find when traveling in Nepal I’ve covered the Tourist version of Dal Bhat and the trekkers version of Dal Bhat. Finally we take a look at what the locals eat from this the most commonly found dish in all of Nepal.

Local Dal Bhat is for sustenance and no more

Dal Bhat from Nepal tourist version

A plate of Dal Bhat that’s more common to tourists or found in expensive restaurants – yes, there’s a difference!

A plate of Dal Bhat hat’s more common to tourists or found in expensive restaurants – yes, there’s a difference!

If I were to show you the most basic of basic photos of dal baht it would simple be rice and a bowl of watery soup. That’s it. In villages, towns, cities and homes this type of dal bhat is eaten for lunch and at dinner. Everyday. Seven days a week. All year round. In remoter areas it’s only once a day. Yes in the big cities the typical Nepalese diet is becoming more varied. And yes when certain vegetables are available they will be added. Most however go to market to be sold or traded for other food stuffs. eg. you grow rice so you trade it for lentils.

Locals eating some local dal bhat

Locals eating some local dal bhat

What does local dal bhat taste like

It’s actually quite okay though bland and watery. Plain rice and a lentil soup that’s it. Now imagine that two or three times a day. Locals don’t mind, it’s a part of their culture. Volunteers in villages generally like dal baht too but the biggest complaint is that it’s just too plain to have two or three times a day every single day.

Local Dal Bhat fuels the country

This dish certainly won’t have tourist flocking to try it out. Do try the more tourist upscale version of dal bhat though as it’s utterly fantastic. Even the dal bhat you will find in most local cafes will be more substantial than the real local dal bhat. What I find incredible is that this nation with its huge environmental variety, choice and capability is basically fueled by plain rice and lentil soup!

This is an additional article featuring food from Nepal. Nepal’s number one industry is tourism. In covering food from Nepal I am including what you (as a tourist) will find everyday in Nepal. From traditional Nepalese food to tourist food. Do read my article on what’s the food like in Nepal for more. 

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13 Great responses to Local Dal Bhat from Nepal and a look at some of the other types

  1. Carla says:

    There’s such a difference in the tourist Dal Bhat to the local one. Did it ever look the same?

  2. Even though it’s bland I still hope to try it one day!

  3. Mike says:

    Just incredible that so much of the world depends on rice

  4. James A says:

    I had this years ago. There’s a difference alright. I might add that in the villages the evening dal bhat can come with meat. Though I usually had more bone than meat!

  5. Giovanna says:

    Lentils for iron, and rice for carboidrathes, that’s ok, but do they have-locals-some source of proteins, cheese, for example?

    • The mix of lentils often makes up a complete protein. But meat when it’s available or affordable is included but it’s not much on average. Usually Buff or chicken. Cheese is sometimes available but in small quantities and usually not added to Dal Bhat more so Momos.

  6. Claire says:

    Totally agree. jim & I often went to small places and ate the dal bhat from the first photo. Quite filling but not easy on the eyes

  7. Dennis Kopp says:

    Agreed Dave, Daal Bhat is not the most exciting dish in the world, especially when you are crossing into Nepal from Northern India and you are used to all the great Thali meals. While your tourist version seems to resemble the Indian Thali, I found Daal Bhat usually being rice, watery daal and potatos. It seems fine, like you mention, when you are hungry, especially in the mountains, but after a few weeks of trekking, it’s such a delight to come back to Pokhara and enjoy some variety in cuisine… :)

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