Foods to Eat in Nepalgunj

Nepalgunj is administrative, economic and transport hub of the mid-western region. It lies close to the border of India and adjacent to two national parks: Banke and Bardiya National Park. Not many outsiders realize that it is also a center of diverse food culture from Madhesi, Muslim, Tharu and Pahadi to influence from North Indian cuisines. The city has one of the largest Muslim communities in Nepal and has amazingly good Muslim foods. Foods are very affordable and street food culture is very vibrant.

I stayed in Nepalgunj for a couple of days after the trek to beautiful Shey Phoksundo lake in Dolpo to explore the foods the city has to offer. The weather was perfect. But don’t expect clean and walkable streets— the city has to work a lot on making cities cleaner, greener, walkable and cyclable.

Here are the popular and iconic foods of Nepalgunj you should definitely try while there.

Mutton Biryani at Mubarak Biryani Corner, near M.P. School road

You can’t miss the biryani when in Nepalgunj. There are several eateries, mainly around Muslim neighborhoods, where you can find biryani but ‘Mubarak Biryani Corner’ is the most popular and iconic one in Nepalgunj for mutton biryani. Although not prepared in a typical traditional way, their mutton biryani is very flavorful and aromatic. It is served with simple yogurt, onion, chili and spices-based raita. It is so popular and packed that the biryani usually gets sold out by early afternoon. So go there well before 1 pm. When I went their second time at around 2 pm, it was already closed. Also try their delicious mutton korma and mutton kebab (made from minced mutton, chickpea daal, and spices).

The restaurant lies in a quite Muslim residential neighborhood. It might be little tricky to find the way. Go to M.P. School road first and ask locals for the direction (there are also few signage boards of the restaurant). It is located adjacent to the ward-7 office of sub-metropolitan office. (Contact no.: 9804565066)

mutton biryani

Delicious mutton biryani with refreshing raita at Mubarak Biryani corner, near M.P School road

mutton biryani and other dishes

Mutton biryani, raita, mutton kebab, mutton korma and chicken curry

mubarak biryani corner

Mubarak Biryani Corner- popular restaurant for mutton biryani

Mutton Sekuwa at Gandaki Bhansa Ghar, B.P. Chowk

When you stroll around Dhambojhi Chowk and B.P. Chowk in the later afternoon or evening, you will be enticed by the smoky aroma of barbecued meat (sekuwa). There are several eateries out there. ‘Hamro Momo Center’ at Dhambojhi Chowk is the most popular one and pioneer of sekuwa (sadly they employ minors and service aren’t that good). ‘Gandaki Bhansa Ghar’ at B.P. Chowk has more delicious, flavorful and succulent mutton sekuwa. It is marinated with loads of spices but perfectly balanced. The mutton sekuwa is served with puffed rice, tomato achaar, potato achaar and roasted soybean salad. We also tried the plain mutton sekuwa (without any spice marinating). It was very delicious and served with simple salt and chili achaar. They also serve varieties of mutton dishes including a unique dish made from goat’s ears and brain.

mutton sekuwa

Mutton sekuwa served with puffed rice, tomato achaar, potato achaar and roasted soybean salad at Gandaki Bhansa Ghar

Plain mutton sekuwa

Plain mutton sekuwa (without marinating) served with salt-fresh green chilies achaar

barbecuing meat

Making mutton sekuwa at Gandaki Bhansa Ghar

Raabadi at Tribhuwan Chowk

There is no way you can leave Nepalgunj without tasting raabadi– a thick creamy sweet dessert-like prepared by boiling down the milk to semi-solid. Sometimes, it can be found with sugar and saffron. You can find raabadi in many sweets shops and street vendors at Tribhuwan Chowk. People say that the taste of raabadi isn’t same anymore- they used to have more delicious raabadi in the past. I tried in a couple of places including a sweets shop named ‘Little Hungry’.

raabadi

Thick, sweet and creamy raabadi at Tribhuwan Chowk

Mittha Paanipuri and Aaalu Tikki Chaat at Surender Chaat Bhandar, Tribhuwan Chowk

‘Surender Chaat Bhandar’ is probably the oldest eatery in Nepalgunj, which is assumed to be more than 100 years. They serve best paanipuri and aalu tikki chaat in the town. People queue up to get the taste of paanipuri. My friend who is over 30 years old told me he has been coming to the place since childhood, and the classic taste of the paanipuri hasn’t changed at all including its location. Mittha (sweet) paanipuri is seriously good and entices all your taste buds. Savory paanipuri is quite different from the usual one you will find it everywhere. It is less acidic, has a kick of fresh green chilies and filled with cooked chickpeas instead of potatoes.

This small shop is located few meters east of Tribhuwan Chowk—ask locals for the location. It will open only after 2-3 pm and until late evening.

mittha paanipuri and tikki chaat

Mittha paanipuri and aalu tikki chaar at Surender Chaat Bhandar, Tribhuwan Chowk

savory paanipuri

Classic savory paanipuri filled with chickpeas

Surender Chaat Bhandar

Over 100 years old iconic eatery-Surender Chaat Bhandar

Haluwa Paratha at Chaulika

To be honest, I hadn’t expected haluwa paratha to be that good and satisfying. The crispy yet soft paratha goes really with sweet buttery haluwa. Paratha is bread made from wheat flour and haluwa is prepared from semolina, milk, sugar, and ghee. Chaulika, which is near the Indian border and few kilometers south of the city, is popular for this delicacy. The shop, which is over 30 years old, is just a simple rustic open hut located on the side of the main road, and you will be able to see the art of making exceptionally large paratha. It is always packed with locals, especially with the students of nearby college during morning and afternoon. They sell the haluwa paratha by weight, and 100 grams costs you just 25 rupees.

haluwa paratha at Chaulika

Crispy paratha and sweet buttery haluwa at Chaulika

Popular eatery for haluwa paratha at Chaulika

Popular eatery for haluwa paratha at Chaulika

Chana Puri at Tribhuwan Chowk

It’s not the usual chana puri you have eaten. It is the other food that has surprised me with its taste and texture. Puri is deep-fried bread, which is in a tiny bite-size piece and very crispy in texture. It goes really with chickpeas and potato curry, topped with tomato achaar. To try this food, go to Tribhuwan Chowk early morning before 8 pm. People eat it for breakfast. I have seen many people packing to take home. It is unimaginably cheap. The portion shown in the picture just cost me 10 rupees, and it was served in newspapers layered with sal tree leaves.

chana puri

Morning breakfast chana puri at Tribhuwan Chowk

Selling chana puri and haluwa at Tribhuwan Chowk

Selling chana puri and haluwa at Tribhuwan Chowk

Lassi at Special Baba Lassi and Sweets House, Sadar Line

The special lassi from ‘Special Baba Lassi and Sweets House’ is topped with raabadi, rose water, nuts and also with lachha (Muslim food- crispy thin strands of wheat flour dough deep-fried in ghee). This sweet yogurt-based drink is more like a dessert than a drink.

special lassi

Special lassi and raabadi at Special Baba Lassi and Sweets House, Sardar Line

Mittha Paan

When in southern plains, one has to definitely have mittha paan especially when you are stuffed with delicious foods. The sweet minty flavor of mittha paan is very addictive and refreshing.

mittha paan

End the day with mittha paan

(Thank you, Bikash Chhetri, for taking me to these eateries in Nepalgunj, and to everyone who have recommended these places and foods)

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