Kathmandu is practically on the exact opposite side of the planet from where I am, and that’s the sense of how far away the culture and perspectives are from here. I’ve discovered that there actually is a small Nepalese community here in Utah, and there are a few things around here to keep them in touch with the familiar comforts of home. Of course the number one joys of the Terai has to be leeches, but Utah is deficient in that regard. However, there are still a few good restaurants that offer fairly authentic recipes. Locally there is the Bombay House, with a kind of pricey but delicious Indian menu. We’re bummed that they’re only open for dinner, because the cravings for curry creep up on us constantly. There are also a few international markets to please foreign tastes, and they even have a few Nepalese RaRa noodles I think and jars of a fossil fuel processing byproduct known as mango pickle.
This weekend we found the Himalayan Kitchen in Salt Lake, thanks to a great review from this region’s McAlternitve weekly. It was a nice time seeing some familiar items from Nepal, like the prayer flag lined up on the wall, and pictures of stupas. That’s where the familiarity ended though. The food was a lot different than the garlic soup and potatoes that we had on the trek. We had saag, naan, and other dooble vaawel naamed foods. I asked them to make it spicy, and that’s what I got. As I was choking and dripping sweat (checking the ceiling for a leak) I concluded that food should not be painful like that. Sadly no potato pancakes or yak jerky burgers, and they looked at me incredulously when I tried to describe it to them. On top of all that, it was even more expensive than the Bombay House. I know I’m looking at this from a skewed perspective, and I only experienced a small corner of the country’s geography and culture. I just got the wrong impression based on the name of the place. Maybe if they had called it “Swarming Land Leech Kitchen” I would have walked in knowing what to expect.Kathmandu Nepalese culture prayer flags restaurant spicy food Utah