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What’s eaten where: Nepal

This the country of the future, albeit with a very traditional present. In Nepal, you see, it’s already 2076 – the Bikram Sambat Nepali calendar being approximately 56.7 years ahead of our Georgian iteration. On the flip side, it’s very much a tradition-based nation: a place where an age-old ethos of peace is paramount…

Sandwiched between the superpowers India and China, Nepal has been, for thousands of years, a place so calm that it’s said to be the birthplace of the Buddha himself. Predominantly mountainous, it’s a place to lift up one’s eyes and find peace – the moon on the country’s flag is a symbol of harmony and serenity.

Much of the 70-million strong population are loosely vegetarian (fish, chicken, and perhaps the odd bit of mutton curry among the few meats that make it onto the menu), and the country’s semi-official dish is a delightful mix of plant-based foods.

Along with butter tea (from yak milk of course), and momo (a type of dumpling; the perfect snack food according to our source), dal bhat comes top of the list of Nepalese dishes. Described as “a traditional meal popular in many areas of Nepal, Bangladesh and India,” the dish consists of steamed rice (bhat) and a cooked lentil soup called dal. But our contact is adamant that there’s a bit more to it, and a truly authentic dish would be dal bhat tarkari achar…

Obviously you’ve got the lentil soup and the rice in there, but this four-part meal includes a delicious vegetable curry (made from onion, tomatoes, potatoes, coriander and cauliflower and seasoned with coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and limes) known as tarkari. And no Nepalese meal would be complete without an achar or two: a sort of pickle mix (most usually made from ground tomatoes, sliced radish, ground coriander, boiled and diced potatoes) that ‘brightens the mouth’. Appearing in innumerable varieties according to the season, region and household preferences, dal bhat tarkari achar is an absolute staple at lunch and dinner, often served with a spoonful of dahi, or yogurt: a very traditional dish that’s so healthy, it’s perfect for anyone looking to their future!

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