Nepalese cuisine is enriched with ethnicity and deliciously healthy food. In addition to the main dishes, street food in Nepal is also worth trying. The capital of Kathmandu is a favorite destination of many foodies and offers some of the most tempting Nepali street food.
Nepali people are fond of traditional fried snacks, so you will get lots of them. They inherit the cooking techniques from their ancestors, so you will find that Nepal street food has its share of authentic flavors.
What Is Special About Street Food In Nepal?
While traditional Nepali dishes are influenced strongly by ethnicity and climate, you might not find as much diversity in Nepali street food. Nevertheless, it does feature some of the world’s most flavorful and healthy snacks.
Due to their proximity, there is a prominent similarity between Indian and Nepali street food. Popular Nepali snacks like jeri (jalebi), pani puri, samosa, and many more are available everywhere on the streets, and they draw inspiration from their Indian counterparts. However, there are some variations in names and recipes.
Follow this list of the best Nepali snacks and street food in Nepal:
Most Popular Nepalese Street Food
Momos is easily the most famous Nepalese street food and snack. They were first made in the Himalayan region but have spread across territories through time. These cute dumplings have become a significant part of Indian, Bhutan, and Nepali cuisine.
Many Nepalese consider momos as their national dish. These are steamed dumplings packed with a delicious filling of meat. In Kathmandu, it is made the size of a ping pong ball and served with Jhol Achar.
The delicacy is enhanced when enjoyed with a delicious sauce or Achar. Achar delivers the authentic taste of Nepali spices and herbs. Some people also enjoy momos with tomato dipping, sesame, or peanut-based sauces.
Fried Nepali Snacks
Gawaramari (Fried Puffed Bread)
Gwaramari is another delicious addition to Nepali street food. The name essentially refers to traditional round bread.
The simple yet delicious Nepali snack is made with all-purpose flour, salt, and other ingredients. When it comes to the texture, Tte bread has a delectable combination of crunchy exterior and soft interior.
This Newari baked product is prevalent across Kathmandu Valley. In many street food stalls, it is served hot with traditional Nepali tea for breakfast.
Sel Roti (Fried Bread/ Bagel)
Have you ever tried a bagel? Sel roti is just like a ring-shaped bagel or pretzel with a slight difference. This popular Nepali street food is the favorite breakfast of locals. Most probably wouldn’t mind eating sel roti with tea for a whole week.
The bread is deep fried, which gives a crunchy texture on the outside and a soft puffy texture on the inside. It is not too sweet but offers a little hint of sweetness. However, the bread is a little oily, so don’t forget your tea with this simple Nepalese breakfast.
Pakora is a popular Nepali street food among locals as they are typically served fresh and hot. You can also find some versions of this typical street food in many other Asian countries. Specifically in Nepal, pakoras are made from potatoes, chilies, and bitter gourd.
The Nepali version of pakoras is slightly different in its taste from the Indian pakora because of the added seasoning. Overall, it is savory, aromatic, and incredibly delicious. The crunchy snack includes vegetables dipped in a batter of chickpeas and spices and then fried.
This savory food is one of the best Nepali snacks for a quick bite. You can easily find many street food stalls selling these delights across the city. It comes with a tangy-flavored chili sauce, locally known as chutney.
Shapale (Tibetan Meat Pie)
Get ready to delight your taste buds with this Nepalese street food. Tibetan meat pie or shapale is a classic pastry that makes for a perfect brunch-time snack or appetizer.
This savory snack is a deep-fried pastry stuffed with a variety of minced meat. It is traditionally made with yak meat, but in Nepal, it is made with buffalo. Shapale offers a delicious combination of crispy and warm textures.
The dish is also a popular Kathmandu street food. You can often see locals and tourists enjoying it after a long day. You can pair it with chili sauce for a deeper flavor.
Samosa (Stuffed Pastry)
Samosa is a well-known snack that is also widespread in many South Asian countries. It is especially famous in Pakistan, India, and Nepal. This Nepali street food is available throughout the year but its popularity spikes during Ramadan.
Samosa is a triangular deep-fried snack filled with potatoes and other ingredients. It is traditionally a vegetarian snack but can also include minced meat or chicken.
In Nepal, samosa is served with spicy achar or sauce. You will see many stalls selling these stuffed pastries in Kathmandu. Shyam Chaat Bhandar is a popular place to indulge in this Nepali street food at a relatively low price.
Aloo Chop (Potato Croquette)
Aloo chop originates from the Indian subcontinent. In Bengali, aloo means potato, and chop means cutlet fritters or croquette. It is a beloved Nepali street food of natives and is recommended by many food lovers.
Aloo chop is a fried potato patty or croquette. It includes mashed potatoes, fresh cilantro, green chilies, and spices. The mixture is formed into a circular or oblong shape, breaded, and then shallow fried.
The patties have a moist, creamy, and smooth texture with a crispy and slightly crunchy exterior. It is a little bit spicy and tastes great with any sauce or ketchup. You might also get green chilies, salad, or muri (puffed rice) with it.
Nepali Street Food – Stew And Soup
Dal Bhat (Rice With Lentil Stew)
It’s time to turn towards some more filling and satisfying Nepali street food. Dal bhat is a simple and nutritious meal that you can even eat any time of the day, even for breakfast. When visiting Nepal, you should not miss a chance to try this staple Nepalese food.
Dal bhat contains steamed rice, lentils, and lots of veggies. The addition of local spices gives it a touch of traditional food culture. It is served with a variety of condiments, especially spicy achar.
The combination of simple and fresh ingredients is the reason for its tasty flavors. The high popularity and exquisite taste earned it the honor of being the national cuisine of the land. Some Nepalis love the dish so much that they happily eat it twice a day.
Jhol Momo (Momos Soup)
If you are a momos lover, then this next Nepal street food is a must-try for you. Nepali Jhol momos is a soup with steamed momos. It is also a well-known street food in Kathmandu.
Nepal is famous for its jhol, which is a thin gravy soup. The soft momos taste even better when paired with this soup. It has a tangy and spicy flavor.
The spicy soup is loaded with peanuts or soybeans and served hot in a huge bowl. This warm and satisfying dish is best to enjoy on a cold winter night.
Nepalese Street Food – Pancakes And Cakes
Malpua (Fried Pancakes)
Malpua is a famous street food in Nepal. It is a deep-fried pancake that can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack, and even as a dessert. In Nepal, malpua is the pride of festive events.
The pancakes have a crispy and fluffy character. They are made with wheat, sugar syrup, and cardamom powder and served topped with pistachios.
Look around small alleys in Asan and Indra Chowk to find this Nepali street food. You can even smell its sweet aroma from far away. The crunchy edges with a soft center make the perfect pair with a hot cup of tea.
Bara (Lentil Pancake)
Bara is a traditional Nepalese street food and an appetizer. The classic dish resembles a black lentil pancake. It is not only delicious to taste but also a relatively healthy meal for breakfast.
Bara is a vegetarian dish without meat and egg. The main ingredients include spiced lentil patties accompanied by veggies. Although some chefs add meat or top it with a fried egg to make it even more flavourful.
Every soft bite of this lentil pancake feels slightly greasy yet airy. The local restaurants are the best place to enjoy the authentic taste of this Nepal street food. These places serve bara at a reasonable price.
Bhakka (Rice Cake)
Nepali cuisine is famous for some of its healthy options. Similar to Bara, Bhakka is also a healthy Nepali street food. This dish comes from eastern Nepal and is eaten throughout the country.
With a slightly sweet and salty flavor profile, the steamed rice cake has a delicate and fluffy character, just like any sponge cake.
This zesty snack is a winter delight and makes a perfect match with warm tea. You can also eat it with tomato pickles for a spicy and tangy twist.
Chatamari (Nepalese Rice Crepe)
Chatamari is a Nepali rice flour bread similar to crepe or pizza. It is one of the noteworthy snacks in Nepal. This traditional Nepali food is especially popular in Basantapur and Kathmandu.
In Nepal, you can get vegetarian, egg, keema, or mixed Chatamari. The bottom base is made with rice flour and graced with different toppings. If you are trying this in Basantapur, you might find it slightly different.
The best thing about Chatamari is that every version is delicious enough to satisfy your tastebuds and stomach. The only challenge is that you might need to search for a while to find places that serve them since they are not as common.
Nepali Snacks – Chaat (Salad)
Pani Puri (Fried Crisps With Tamarind Water)
Everyone’s favorite pani puri is also a beloved street food in Nepal. This light snack is especially popular among the South Asian young women. If you are familiar with Indian cuisine, you might know what pani puri exactly is.
For those who don’t, it is a crispy empty deep-fried shell loaded with spicy chickpeas, potatoes, chutneys, and more. Finally, it is dipped in sweet and sour water along with ingredients and enjoyed. The crunchy and flavourful shell explodes in your mouth and delivers a burst of savory flavors.
You can easily eat half a dozen of this Nepalese street food without stopping. There are many stalls selling pani puri at road corners after sunset. Om Panipuri Chat Center, Khichapokhari is the most popular street stall to enjoy the best pani puri in Kathmandu.
Chana Chatpat (Chickpea Salad)
Chana Chatpat is one of the savory Nepalese snacks widely found on the streets. It is the favorite Nepali street food of teenage girls. The snack has a spicy and sour flavor that is well-loved by the locals.
It contains a nice combination of veggies, roasted beans, instant noodles, and puffed rice. All the ingredients are mixed well with herbs and spices. Finally, it is drizzled with lemon juice on top.
Although the food is super spicy, you can ask for a lighter salad. Look for street vendors in the local market to try this Nepali snack. It is traditionally served in a paper cone.
Nepali Snacks- Noodles
Laphing (Mung Bean Noodles)
If you are fond of spicy food, laphing is made for you. It is a Nepali street food that comes from the Tibetan region. Now it has become an important part of Nepali cuisine.
This spicy delicacy is a cold mung bean noodle that comes in a spiral shape. This unique dish has a super spicy and slippery consistency. It is enjoyed chilled and typically alongside a hot sauce.
This dish is a summertime delight and is especially loved by young Nepali girls. Grab a bite of this spicy and flavorful dish when you get the chance.
Nepali Street Food – Barbecue
Sekuwa (Skewered Meat)
Sekuwa is the barbecue dish of Nepali cuisine. It is a common Nepalese street food in major cities like Kathmandu.
Sekuwa is made with lamb, chicken, or pork. The meat is skewered and barbecued. It is seasoned with herbs, spices, and other ingredients and finally roasted on a charcoal fire.
You know the chef did a good job when the spicy meat is delivered to you juicy and tender. They can be served hot with pounded rice. A slice of tomato pickle in every bite further enhances its taste.
Jeri (Fried Funnel Cake)
Jeri is another popular Nepali street food. Similar to Indian jalebi, it is an orange deep-fried sweet that comes in a pretzel shape. It tastes sugary and has a delightful aroma.
Because of its high popularity, Jeru is found everywhere in central Kathmandu. You can try it fresh and hot from the food stalls of local markets. The back streets of Asan and Indra Chowk are famous places to find these delicious snacks.
We recommend trying this sweet Nepalese street food fresh when it is crispy and succulent. People enjoy it with a delicate thin bread called Swari. It also goes well with a hot cup of milk to wash down the sweetness.
Khurma (Deep-Fried Sweet Snacks)
This sweet Nepali street food is a kid’s favorite. Originating from the Marwari community, this dessert is especially popular in the Terai where it is part of special festivals.
Khurma comes in a range of sizes and shapes. It is also pronounced differently in different regions of Nepal but always remains similar in taste. Its main ingredients are wheat flour, rice flour, semolina, sugar, spices, and milk.
This Nepalese street food has a deep-fried cereal-like consistency with a reddish-brown color. In Nepal, it is usually served as a welcome snack to guests with a hot cup of tea.
Gudpak (Solid Milk Sweet)
Gudpak is a very sweet Nepali street food. The origin of gudpak is still unknown, but some people believe that sweet-shop owners used leftovers and mixed them to make gudpak.
Khuwa is the base of the making of gudpak. It is then mixed with buffalo or cow milk and other ingredients like dried fruits, nuts, dates, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
Gudpak is very common in the Newa community, where everyone loves this dessert regardless of their age. As this Nepali dessert is very sweet, it is recommended to eat only a few tablespoons at a time.
Ras Malai (Cottage Cheese Balls With Milk)
Ras malai is one of the common summertime Nepali sweets. It originated from Indian cuisine and is also enjoyed in Pakistan and Nepal. These Nepalese sweets are particularly popular street foods in Kathmandu.
It features soft, flattened cottage cheese balls in sweet, creamy milk. They are often topped with cardamom and saffron to give them a royal look. The confectionary delivers a heavenly creamy taste alongside aromatic notes of cardamom and saffron.
Ras malai is usually served during celebrations and parties, but you can also try it at any street stall.
Chocolate Pani Puri (Fried Crisps With Chocolate)
You might have heard of pani puri before; chocolate pani puri is a modern version of the classic. As innovation hits the food scene, the locals take it up a level by making chocolate pani puri. It might sound weird, but it is something you cannot ignore.
This sweet Nepali street food is quite expensive compared to regular pani puri. But the heavenly taste of cocoa is worth tasting.
Similar to standard pani pori, this Nepalese street food includes a deep-fried shell but is made with chocolate. The chocolate balls are further flooded with melted chocolate and whipped cream. It is a perfect indulgent snack and dessert for chocolate lovers.
Meetha Paan (Stuffed Betel Leaves)
Meetha paan is a sweet and rather addictive street food in Nepal. The snack is very popular in Nepal, Pakistan, and India. It is simply defined as a light and refreshing chewing snack of betel leaves.
This unique street food combines the flavors and aromas of different ingredients. Common ingredients used in paan are slaked lime, gulkand, dry dates, mouth freshener, and cardamom wrapped in leaves. That crazy combination takes you to a new world of flavors.
The overwhelming snack is a refreshing treat for your taste buds. After eating, your mouth delivers pleasing aromas of sweet ingredients. It’s almost like the chewing gum of the region.
Discovering Delicious Nepali Snacks And Street Food
One of the most amazing facts about Nepal is the mix of different cultures, and this is reflected in the food scene as well. From Tibetan-inspired cuisine to Newari dishes, there is an amazing food diversity that the country has to offer. While the main dishes are scrumptious, don’t miss out on the important Nepali street food culture.
There are so many delicious Nepal street foods and snacks that it might get difficult for your to select only a few. We recommend trying all of them at least once during your trip.