The Gundpak Bhandar at the New Road Gate, which is known for its delicious gundpak and pustakari first opened over five decades ago and has been serving up gundpak ever since. Though Gundpak Bhandars have opened up across New Road, the gundpaks here are still the local favourite.
“I first came here with my cousins who have been coming here all their lives”, says the twenty-five year old Arpana, a Master’s student.
According to the staff at the shop that are forever
busy serving and packing the soft, freshly cooked gundpak to the crowd of customers swarming around, people complain if they cannot consistently deliver the same taste.
“I am taking this home for my sister. She loves the gundpak here”, informed Kripa Shrestha from Chabahil. She further informed that she usually takes it to Chitwan, every time she visits her parents there.
Owned by the Maskey family, this dessert
store is one of Kathmandu’s most famous. (Prabalta Rijal)
Tip-Top ko Samosa
Tip-Top Samosa Pasal and Mistanna Bhandar is one of Kathmandu’s best kept open secrets. This small snack shop, famous for its piping-hot Samosa served with sweet and sour sauce, is located inside an alley opposite Bishal Bazaar, which is packed with tailors including the Tip-Top Tailors, the store’s namesake.
According to the 45 year old Mangala Timilsina, the samosas and desserts are awesome here. “ I have been coming here ever since I was in high school but back then we called this shop Patey ko Pasal”, she said, before adding that she loved taking them home for her two daughters who adore the samosas and rasbharis sold here.
Also known as New Road ko samosa pasal and ICTC Samosas after the chemical store next door, this snack shop serves the best samosas in town and has now opened shop at Basantapur near Suraj Arcade. (Prabalta Rijal)
Ranjana Galli ko Purano Jana Soda Pasal
The soda stop that is still young at seventy is a place even my grandma talks about. Walking out of the cinema hall on a hot summer’s day and stopping by for a glass of cold soda for 5 paisa a glass is one of her favourite memories.
Though the Ranjana Cinema hall is no more the soda pasal still stands as Kathmandu’s most popular soda store, with over 20 varieties of sodas from the popular cola to the beer flavoured soda. “I can hardly ever pass through here without having a soda”, exclaimed Diwas Timilsina, a physiotherapist from Chabahil, who was waiting for his delicious fizzy double cola.
The establishment which has been handed down to Suresh and Naresh Suwal by their father Budha Suwal sells approximately 2000 bottles of soda a day.
“I love serving our customers and bringing a smile to their tired looking faces”, said Naresh while busily handing sodas to his thirsty customers.
The soda shop which opens from 8 am to 8 pm everyday sells over fifty different flavours of sodas to over 400 customers a day. It also has its own trademarked sodas like the Jana Lemon Soda (Digestive), Jana Lemon Masala Soda (Digestive), Jana Lemon Sweet Lime, Jana Jack Fruit and Jana Litchi Lime (all costing Rs. 10 per glass) and are some of the most popular flavours.
Naresh also informed that they will be increasing the prices of the sodas this summer, while pointing at the new price list which has already been put on display. (Prabalta Rijal)
Ratna Park Paun Bhandar
This titaura store is known for its popular lyasse paun dedicated to the young giggly girls who are usually found buying tituara at the Ratna Park Paun Bhandar outlets at New Road and Tripureshwor.
The Paun Bhandar which first opened over thirty years ago at Ratna Park is known for its delicious titauras made from laps
i, mangoes, plums and lemon, dripping with super hot chilli sauces that leave you teary eyed with every bite.
“We have over 500 customers coming here every day even during winters”, said Purna Tamang, the very stylish shop assistant who was busy handling orders from customers who were queuing up for their share of the spicy bite.
The Ratna Park Paun Bhandar sells the sweet and sour, sweet, extra sour, dry, wet, and jelly titauras which have all been trademarked by the Government of Nepal.
According to Tamang these tasty bites have become a souvenir to take outside and students studying abroad can usually be spotted buying kilos of these addictive nibbles to take with them. “We sell our wet titauras for as cheap as ten rupees and they are a huge hit with youngsters who love coming here for the spicy treats.” (Prabalta Rijal)
The local momo place at Patan Dhoka, famous as Tasty’s is the place for good momos drowning in spicy achar any day of the week. Mobbed by momo-seekers marching on empty stomachs, the service staff shell out plates after plates of highly affordable delicious momos from the gi-normous steamers. Follow your nose if it smells inviting, you will make it to this small one-room eatery. I remember running out of my school gates and rushing into Tasty’s for plates aplenty as soon as my school was over. Back then, a plate came for just 10 rupees. Last time we dropped in, we paid 40 rupees for a plate.
Don’t complain about hygiene and do not ask how it is made, just enjoy this local delicacy, if you haven’t yet! Those ten momos swimming in a pool of lip-smacking achar, when eaten with your bunch of buddies, add spice to your life! (Yukta Bajracharya)
Top Prince Paan Bhandar
Sweet, juicy and refreshing, it is no wonder we love having paan for dessert. The variety of paan available at Top Prince Paan Bhandar situated at Kamal Pokhari is unrivaled.
Instead of just offering the tobacco or non-tobacco variety, they sell some 12 types of paan there. Depending on your mood, the friendly shopkeeper is able to give you suggestions on what to try for the day. Top Prince’s most exotic paan, the Dulha and Dulhan or Bride and Groom, comes in a pot with an umbrella on top and is said to have aphrodisiac properties. For the most basic variety of sweet paan, prices start from a mere Rs. 20. (Eunice Chan)
Indra Chowk’s Sweet Lassi
This is another watering hole one needs to stop at. The small, hardly visible lassi store at Indrachowk is open mostly during summers and sometimes during winter.
Though all lassis are made from blended curd , the lassi here has a very unique taste. It is rich and creamy and sweet, with lots of nuts and raisins adding to the distinctive taste.
“The first time I went there with my mom, I could hardly understand why anyone would wait in such a long queue for a glass of lassi. Well I got my answer when the shop vendor hastily put a glass into my hands. I had never tasted anything as delicious as this and I just love coming here everytime I come to Asan”, says fifteen year old Raju Shrestha. (Prabalta Rijal)
What is the first place that comes to your mind when you think of succulent pieces of tender mutton or chicken grilled to perfection? If the answer is not Bajeko Sekuwa and you are an animal eater, shame on you.
What started off as a small restaurant outside Kathmandu’s only airport is now a chain spread all across the city where a pleasantly plump cheerful old man with pointed moustache greets you as you enter. People say Dinanath Bhandari, the Baje himself, who’s now 70, started business with just a kilo and a half of mutton. Now, thirty kilos of meat is what they grill everyday in a single outlet.
Ask for the melt-in-your-mouth hyakula, the ever-popular taas or one-of-its-kind Chaala Sekuwa (that is Skin barbeque), the zing of cumin and red chili powder would doubtedly ever fail a taste bud.
If you’ve still not been there, you’d better. And if you order sandwiches at Bajeko Sekuwa, boo! (Shreeya Joshi)
Gopal Dai ko Chatamari
Krishna Gopal Shrestha a.k.a. Gopal Dai is popular for his chatamari, and his story is the stuff that inspirations are made of. Gopal dai was young when he left his village Sankhu, in Kavre for seeking better pastures, but little had he envisioned his present success. He shares his story of going to Calcutta to work and landing up working in a factory. After trying his luck there, he decided to come back to Nepal. Once back, he started a small simple eat-out with few kilos of kima to make Mo: Mo. He says, “I used to sleep in the shop itself joining chairs and wake up early to start business”.
Today, Gopal dai’s chatamari pasal is more than 26 years old and still going strong. The taste has never floundered. Loyal customers have sworn by his food for around two decades now. His menu is simple. Buff meat battered in gram flour is the sekuwa here. There is the omnipresent momo which sells out most of the times by late afternoon. And of course there is the chatamari. Mr. Durbha Raj Joshi, a loyal friend and brother-figure to Gopal dai says, “I have been coming here for more than a decade now.” Today Gopal dai is known for his humility and repeat clients who visit him at least once a week. “Renowned politicians and ministers used to visit his place for chatamari during the early days”, reminisces Joshi.
If you are tempted enough to come here, do not expect napkins, fancy cutleries or ambiance. This place is run by Gopal dai and his wife, supported by a few helping staff. The establishment runs because of the passion, honesty and effort that Gopal dai has put in not only into his food but also in the personal relationships. Gopal Dai’s success is surely a story of what you can achieve by focusing on a simple menu sans the fancy settings which dot the cityscape. Today, his children study in good schools and he is content with running his outlet which is located at Dillibazar Pipal Bot. (Sandip Khatri)
46 and counting – Honacha is one place that’s stood through time and now stands out as one of the most-preferred places for typical Newari food. By the looks of it, it might be surprising how this tiny place hidden behind Krishna Mandir in Patan came to be so famous. Ask anyone who’s stricken classy and hygiene off their private dictionaries before making an entrance under the tin roof that houses this humble abode of anything Newari eatable. Devour some Bara or Woh - small pancakes of crushed lentils, Chhoela - grilled and spiced buffalo meat, Kachila - raw minced buffalo meat marinated with herbs and spices, Sukuti - dried buffalo meat and Aaloo Sandheko with Chiura. Kill me if you’re disappointed, seriously.
Everyone from khaireys to the locals to the upper echelon flocks to this place to savor the fare galore which Gyannani, the second generation scion of this business, serves.
If you haven’t been to this place yet, you certainly don’t deserve to call yourself a Kathmanduite.
When we were kids, Mom was always worried that I’d choke on one of the really big lumps of minced chicken inside those neatly folded flour papers - but she always gave in to my craze for it, as did I myself. At a time when families ate out only at the wintery wedding receptions, Nanglo’s introduced to Kathmandu something called family dinners. The momos are huge and served by a far kinder and wiser staff. Now that’s homely. Those fond of checking their diets are very concerned about the dose of MSG in those momos - I don’t really care, Nanglo’s momos would anyway make me go weak in my knees.
Anyone in Kathmandu who knows momos knows Nanglo’s. If you don’t, that’s blasphemy. (Shreeya Joshi)