Eating Your Way Around Nepal: Kathmandu & Pokhara

Foodie Guide to Nepal

Kathmandu is a South Asian city like any other, filled with trinket shops and tour operator storefronts, honking buses bound for Delhi, an equally arduous journey than the bus to Pokhara. Prayer flags are strewn above the bleating rickshaws that putter down cobbled streets, young men murmuring drug offers in your ear as young women enquire after your martial status in the other. Elderly couples with knee braces and loaded backpacking gear ready for the ultimate hike of their golden years, passing by westernized cafes where dreadlocked white hippies lounge and discuss their enlightenment sitting parallel to digital nomads pulling their man buns into knots, deep in digital thought. Such is Kathmandu, a city center packed with tourists all aspiring to outsmart one another, scattering in pursuit for the city’s “hidden gems,” their separate quests taking them only to the perifery of where street ends and the localized dirt roads begin.

Most tourists are in Nepal for one main reason: Trekking. And Kathmandu is just a stop on their way to Pokhara, where Everest adventure seekers and Annapurna Circuit hikers set off on their harrowing adventures. Me? I was in Nepal to flee a terrifying man. And, of course, to eat.

Nepal was an impromptu trip. With only a couple of hours worth of preparation, I’d found myself zipping through the lantern-lit, narrow streets of Kathmandu in the back of a taxi. It was 2015, back when there were far fewer travel bloggers to point you in the right direction of what to eat and where. Below you can find my ideas of where you may want to eat around Kathmandu and Pokhara.

I hope that the suggestions below may help point you towards satisfying meals after your strenous hikes, post-retreat enlightenment, or just a long day enjoying the sights of the city. Enjoy!

Dishes & Drinks to Try in Nepal

Momo – Momo are delicious steamed dumplings and traditionally a Nepalese delicacy. They come in all different forms from vegetarian spinach wrapping to yak filled and drowned in chutney sauce. Try a couple of different forms and be sure to order a Napelse beer, just in case the momo you have is a little too spicy! Great with a Gorkha or Everest beer.

  • Best Momo in Kathmandu
    • Yangling Tibetan Restaurant. Located in the center of town. People rave about this spot! Address: Kaldhara Marg, Kathmandu 44600
    • Dharahara Momo Center. Located in Kathmandu mall, this spot is beloved by tourists and those who call Kathmandu home. Address: Sundhara Marg, Kathmandu 44600
  • Best Momo in Pokhara
    • Mo2’s Delights. Address: Barahi Path, Pokhara 33700
Best Food in Nepal

Lassi – Lassi, if you haven’t had, is a yogurt based drink. Sweet and delicious, I’d recommend mango or any other fruity flavor for your first try.

  • Best Lassi in Kathmandu
    • Follow your eyes with this one. I didn’t catch the name of my favorite spot but loads of workers off on a lunch break shuffled over to a small shop near the Jagannath Temple.
    • New Indrachowk Lassi Pasal. Address: Watu Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
  • Best Lassi in Pokhara
Lassi Drink

Yak Cheese– You’re more likely to see water buffalo charging into Phewa Lake than you are to see yak, unless trekking. Yak wool is sold in all forms in both cities as is yak cheese and milk. I’d thought yak cheese would be pungent but really, it’s mild and milky in flavor. You can find it through most vendors and shops.

For a more in depth restaurant list, check out this blog for Pokhara‘s best restaurants and this one for Kathmandu to find the best places around each city.

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kathmandu & Pokhara

  • Backstreet Academy’s Secret Food Tour of Kathmandu.
  • Urban Adventures in Kathmandu – tour run in collaboration with a non-profit helping to empower disadvantaged Nepali women.
  • Mama’s Momos in Pokhara, a Tibetan refugee teaching you how to make the best momos on earth! Email her directly to book a class.
  • Rekha’s Cooking Class in Pokhara.

Q-Tips – When in doubt, follow the worker crowd. Where they’re headed for lunch you should be too. Note that the trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara takes a great deal of time. Square away one full day. If you’re prone to car sickness, be sure to have something on hand and don’t eat a large meal beforehand. I didn’t get car sick but I could see how one might be able to. Though I’d weighed whether or not I’d have time to visit Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini, due to bus scheduling and my own timetable I had to skip it. I suggest you go if you happen to have time to spare.