Food from Nepal: Traditional Newari foods

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ August 30th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Nepalese food.
Traditional Newari food in Nepal - Baji Samay (flattened rice), Chataamari, chhoyla (roasted meat), roasted peas in chili, pickles

Traditional Newari food in Nepal – Baji Samay (flattened rice), Chataamari, Chhoyla (roasted meat), roasted peas in chili, pickles

Traditional Newari dishes from Nepal

Consisting of several dishes this is a fine example of traditional Newari food that’s popular in and around the Kathmandu Valley. While many of these dishes are sold separately they are also commonly served together as a set.

Authentic Nepalese food is not that easily found around the world. Here’s an inside look at a selection of traditional Nepalese dishes from the Newari people.

Used as a mid afternoon snack and as appetizers combining them all together they become a full meal. If you are not that into spicy food the following also make excellent beer or wine accompaniments!

What is Newari cuisine?

The Newari are people traditionally from the Kathmandu valley. Their food is quite unique to other ethnic people from different parts of Nepal. While often extremely spicy the food has some unique attributes.

What is in traditional Newari food found in Kathmandu?

If you were to walk into a Newari restaurant in Kathmandu you would see each of the items in these photographs set out in individual dishes. This traditional Newari set includes:

Bhatmas - roasted chickpeas in chili - traditional Newari food

Bhatmas – roasted chickpeas in chili – traditional Newari food

From the top and moving clockwise to the center (top photo)

  • Chataamari (a rice kebab or pizza like base filled with lentils & chili)
  • Chili Buff (very hot & spicy buffalo meat)
  • Chhoyla (spicy meat, ether roasted or grilled)
  • Bhatmas (dry roasted soya beans in hot chili)
  • Sanan (vegetables pickled with chili)
  • Baji Samay (flattened rice in the center)

What does traditional Newari food taste like?

Hot. In fact very hot and spicy. There’s virtually no surrender from the heat in these traditional Newari dishes. Chataamari is like eating a kebab. Very tasty and filing I’m surprised it’s not more commonplace in Nepal.

Chili Buff is common all over Nepal but this Newari version is very hot and spicy to the point of tears. The Chhoyla was not too spicy and surprisingly flavorsome. Much like smokey barbecued meat.

Bhatmas is hard, crunchy, filled with chili and a little greasy. Sanan is again filled with chili and pickle flavors. While the flattened rice is like eating flakes of paper – not so nice. However the locals love it.

If you like spicy food give one of these authentic traditional Newari dishes a try!

This is an additional article featuring food from Nepal.

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11 Great responses to Food from Nepal: Traditional Newari foods

  1. Jan says:

    Nice to see some traditional local food. I find it curious that so many people in developing countries like to eat spicy food. Any idea why?

  2. Debbie says:

    I ate Chataamari a long time ago. And agree. It’s delicious. Can’t recreate it, though I have tried.

  3. Audrey says:

    Flattened Rice? Very interesting and unusual. Chili is good for the heart and keeps your warm :)

  4. Anil says:

    Spicy hot in the middle winter. Keeps everyone warm I imagine. Interesting to see though.

  5. Nice that there are some veggie options there. For some reason, the rice flakes are seducing me, visually. I wonder why they made flattened rice vs using cooked? Unless, it’s kind of a sweet snack?