Exploring Local: The Himalayan

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?”

– Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain spoke a lot about the ability of food to capture the culture, and the spirit of a people or country. I’ve always agreed with this and think that food is one of the greatest ways to explore a culture. There’s so much soul and feeling in the food of a nation and no food is ever going to be exactly the same. While most likely sharing some similarities with neighboring countries, every are and ethnic group and country will have their own flair and spin on the dish that they serve you.

With travel being a little ways off for some of us still, I would recommend to get out and explore the tastes, smells, and flavours of another culture. There’s a good chance that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of exploring some Nepalese Cuisine. The Himalayan is a small restaurant that’s situated in a small strip mall on 17th Ave sw. They opened their doors back in 2010 and while I lived in the area I had never registered that it was there. It’s owned and operated by Sanjay Rajbhandari and his wife Soniya, who are both from Nepal.

I had never tried Nepalese food and dove in somewhat blind after doing a quick skim of the Menu. I figured, what better way to get to know something about Nepal, a country that I would love to explore one day. After all, the cuisine is the window to a cultures soul.

We got there a few minutes after they opened for the dinner service at 16:30 and it’s a good thing we did because we didn’t have a reservation and the place filled up quickly. Nepalese cuisine is what you would imagine it would be being so close to India in the Himalayas. There’s lots of curry dishes that would mimic an Indian dish. The curry’s I found were a little more mild in terms of smell and taste however. There’s also lots of noodle dishes that are more similar so some East Asian dishes. Which would make sense with their proximity to China and the rest of East Asia.

I ordered the Chau Chau dish, which was egg-flour noodles, with tofu, cabbage, carrots, soy sauce, and mild hot sauce. The Tofu was perfectly cooked and had a great “Meaty” texture. The sauce that was on the noodles was an excellent balance between salty, sweet, and spicy. I would likely order the noddle’s with medium hot sauce next time though for a little bit of extra kick. My dinner partner had the Dal Bhat with lamb curry. This is similar to an Indian curry dish that comes with small bowls that have different options to explore. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the red curry had a very savoury flavour to it without being overpowering. The Yellow lentil Dal and Spinach and cream curry that came with it were just as good. Most dishes have both a meat, and vegetarian option so there is something for everyone here as well.

Chau Chau with Tofu

The service was quick, and attentive and everyone in the restaurant was pleasant and helpful with all of the questions that we had regarding the dish.

This is a must visit restaurant. Whether you’re on a date, or out with friends or family, I would highly recommend The Himalayan. I would also recommend a reservation. It fills up quickly and we got lucky not having one.

If you want to check them out yourself you can find them at 3218 17th ave sw. You can also find their menu and contact information on their website here

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