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10 Newa food items that you should taste in Kathmandu

Newa food items collage

Food is one of the key components of human life. People also associate food with culture, livelihood and traditions. Of course, food plays a vital role in your day-to-day life, but a good, delicious meal also brightens your day. One such mouth-watering experience includes various Newa food items.

Nepal, being a country with different cultural and ethnic diversity, offers foodies a plethora of options to taste from. Various food items from the Newa community are made for every occasion and time of the day. These items are commonly eaten combined as a set, but they are great to devour individually too. Some of the Newa food items that you can enjoy as snacks are:

1. Yomari

Photo: Nasana Bajracharya

One of the popular delicacies among the Newa food items is yomari. The word yomari is made up of two words, where ‘yo’ means favourite and ‘mari’ means sweets. This is made up of rice flour shaped in a unique way, similar to a conch with a pointy tip. It is filled with chaku (molasses) or khuwa (dried evaporated milk solids) and is steamed. In a bite, one can savour the oozing sweet chaku/ khuwa filling in the middle portion.

In the older days, this special Newa bread was prepared only during special occasions like Yomari Punhi. However, nowadays, this Newa food item can be enjoyed on any day of the year at various restaurants around the Kathmandu valley.

2. Wo and Bara

Wikimedia Commons

Wo and bara are some of the simplest Newa food items to make. They are quick, easy and delicious to eat as well. Wo is a lentil-based flat bread-like dish whereas bara is a deep-fried doughnut-shaped dish. They can be eaten as snacks or appetisers. 

Both wo and bara are made from a paste of lentils and spices. It can be plain lentils only or lentils mixed with eggs, meat, or vegetables; it all depends on the chef. They taste even better with meat gravy, pickle or with something spicy on the sides.

3. Lakhamari

Wikimedia

Lakhamari is a typical Newa sweet that is crispy and mouthwatering. It is a sweet fried dough coated in sugar syrup. Lakhamari comes in a variety of shapes and ingredients. Lakhamari is also one of the renowned sweets during weddings and festive celebrations. It is also a popular tea-time snack among the locals. A kind of lakhamari also comes in small crunchy pieces that are easy to munch on.

4. Chatamari

newa food items chatamari
Meat chatamari. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the Newa pizza, chatamari is one of the popular Newa food items that is popularly eaten as a snack. Chatamari has become very popular even among people outside the Newa community. It has a thin crepe-like crust made from rice flour. The crust can taste from soft to crispy, depending on one’s preferences. It can also be made as a normal plain chatamari or a mixed one with toppings like eggs or keema (minced meat).

5. Chhoila

meat lovers chhoila in kathmandu newari kitchen

Chhoila is one of typical Newa food items, which is a non-vegetarian dish seasoned with authentic Newa spices. Chhoila is meat mixed with spices. The meat used can be either boiled/pressure-cooked or roasted/grilled.

Haku chhoila is another special kind of meat that is spiced ground meat that is prepared by roasting it in the hay fire or over the charcoal till it is black. This popular Newa food item is made from very juicy meat with an incredible texture that is hot, spicy, and full of mouthwatering flavours.

6. Kachila

Photo: Newa Lahana Butwal

Kachila is the raw minced (buffalo) meat marinated with Newa spices along with mustard oil and spring onions. It is not found among common Newa food items as not many people are fond of eating raw meat. However, locally, it is a popular Newa food item that is filled with juicy flavours that can be eaten separately or can be used in wo, bara, and chatamari as toppings.

7. Sapu mhicha

Wikimedia

Sapu mhicha is yet another unusual dish among the Newa food items, but it is loved by many. The name is the combination of ‘sapu’ which means bone marrow and ‘mhicha’ means pocket. It is taken as a side dish that consists of a buffalo leaf tripe filled with bone marrow.

Shapu mhicha is a rare dish as it takes a very long time to prepare, but people enjoy the soft fillings which burst with different juicy flavours of spices. It is worth the time and money. 

8. Senlaa

This Newa food item consists of meat cooked from the liver of buffalo, hen, or goat. Senlaa is also one of the simplest Newa food items to cook yet a delicious one. While preparing senlaa, one has to simply steam the livers, sauté them and finally add some spices only. Senlaa is very tasty with a soft and tender texture, which is mostly preferred while drinking.

9. Bhuttan

Wikipedia

Bhuttan (sometimes also spelt bhutan) is one of the weird yet delicious Newa food items from the cuisine. Prepared from the organs of buffalo such as stomach, intestine, tripe, livers, bhuttan is a stir-fried snack item. Some also stir-fry it with shallots, onions, garlic, and other herbs, special spice and finally, the spicy, tasty bhuttan is ready to be savoured. It is a popular snack for any time, especially with the khaja set.

10. Juju dhau

Juju dhau is not your typical yoghurt. It is considered the king of yoghurts and was originated from Bhaktapur. It is one of the most popular desserts of the Newa community.

This yoghurt (fermented milk) made in a clay pot is very soft, sweet, and creamy, and loved by all. People travel to cities and even countries just to try this delicious Newa delicacy. Any Newa event or festival is incomplete without this dessert, making juju dhau not just one of the delicious Newa food items but one of the key components of the Newa culture.

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