My first trip to Nepal in 2013 is still buzzing around in my mind, ever since my first trip it is one of my favorite countries to visit. Even after more than 150 countries as of March 2023 and the most amazing adventures around the world, Nepal still stands out! In this blog you can find my adventures looking for the best Nepal street food in Kathmandu, including a funny video.
Apart from visiting Kathmandu for the Himalayan Travel Mart in 2019 I also went trekking in the Langtang Valley, a 6-day trek up to 4.770 meters / 15.650 feet. Another highlight in my 7 years around the world for sure. While trekking in the Himalayas (read all about it in the link above) you get served the same kind of food day in day out in the tea houses along the way so when I got back to Kathmandu and found out about the Backstreet Acamdemy Kathmandu food tour it was super excited to finally try something else than Chowmein.
Backstreet Academy food tour Kathmandu
Trying the best Nepal street food is why you want to go on this tour, and I can tell you already it is totally worth it! Backstreet Academy is apparently active in loads of Southeast Asia countries I found out but co-founded by two Nepalese guys in 2014. Running Kathmandu food tours in their own city started as a passion for Nepal street food and now became a big company. Well done guys!
Vegetarian or Vegan? No problem
The Kathmandu food tours of Backstreet Academy are perfect for vegetarians as apart from the Momo place everything is purely vegetarian. The momo place serves buffalo and chicken momos, but vegetarians can choose veggie momos instead of course.
In case you are vegan no worries, there also are vegan options as well as gluten free travelers. Just let your guide know and they will make sure you get your share of Nepal street food.
Here is my vlog about about finding the most tasty Nepali street food in the Kathmandu streets:
Is it safe to eat Nepal street food?
Totally understand where the question comes from because everything that is not prepared according to all our Western regulation we automatically question. But just like most things in the news about foreign countries: don’t believe everything they say! Let just say there is a higher risk of getting ill than in a Western country. But hey the Kathmandu food on the streets is totally fine to eat. On this Nepal trip I spent more than a week in Kathmandu and ate the most random Kathmandu street food. Yummy and cheap. So yes, please try the Nepal street food!
Update your adventure on the streets in Kathmandu while on the go! Don't wait for shitty WiFi in your hotel room, check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Nepal. Local prepaid sim cards are super cheap, easy to get and you will have a 4G internet connection while traveling in Nepal.
Kathmandu walking tour to secret food stalls
The Kathmandu street food tour is a walking tour at the same time as we met up in Thamel and walked together through Thamel to the old city where the actual food tour took place. Thamel is the popular tourist district where you can find all the shops, guesthouses, restaurants and nightlife. Obviously these Kathmandu restaurants are catered to tourists and although they everywhere say ‘traditional Nepali food’, these are NOT the restaurants where you will find authentic Nepal street food.
One of the things I liked most about the Kathmandu street food tour with Backstreet Academy is that they brought us to places I would have never gotten myself. Most of the Kathmandu restaurants we visited were in busy narrow and dark alley’s somewhere in the old city of Kathmandu. Even though you would find these narrow streets then you would have still not guessed which doors or passageways to enter. Looking back at our food tour I think it is definitely one of the best things to do in Kathmandu.
Before the Kathmandu food tour starts
Our meeting point was in Thamel and we got a little briefing about the tour. First we were offered face masks as the streets of Kathmandu are pretty polluted. Non of us opted for one, but in case you want Backstreet Academy offers complimentary face masks. Also included in the tour is drinking water so whenever you are thirsty let one of your guides know and they get you bottled drinking water.
We were informed that there were 5 Kathmandu street food stalls/restaurants where we would stop, in fact it turned out to be 6 from what I remember. Depending on how busy we would be filming and taking photos the tour would last approximately 2,5 to 3 hours.
You basically don’t need to bring anything, but I would recommend you to bring your cameras, GoPro’s, smart phones, etc as you will get to unique places to visit in Kathmandu. Obviously keep your belongings close and use common sense although there is no need to worry about your expensive gear. Kathmandu is a safe place!
You might want to bring hand sanitiser by the way, always handy before trying Nepal street food in the dirty streets of Kathmandu!
Kathmandu food tour
The walk from Thamel all the way to the old city of Kathmandu takes about 20 minutes through narrow bustling streets. There is so much to see on every corner that it took a little longer as we constantly were taking photos everywhere. You will pass by the local street market and a dozen interesting shops here and there.
Stop 1: Barra
At the time we reached our first stop I was laughing because I could not believe where we were going. Into this tiny passageway? Really? I barely fitted in and had to stoop. At the end there was a tiny little Kathmandu street food joint serving Barra.
Until now I still don’t really know what Barra is but in my own words it is something like a savory small pancake with some kind of slightly spiced curry on the side. Our Nepal street food tour started off amazing, because I was a fan of this dish straight away! Barra was probably my favorite Kathmandu street food we tried that day! YUMMY AF.
At the same street food stall we also got to try Yomari, a kind of dessert I reckon. It was a big steamed dumpling with inside some kind of sweet substance. It kind of reminded me of condensed milk. Sweet, nice for a bite, but I’m not really a sweet tooth.
Stop 2: Best Momos in Kathmandu
Obviously we had to try Momos on this Kathmandu food tour, the most famous Nepal street food. You will find Momos everywhere around Kathmandu, but where to get good ones? I had tried several already on my Nepal trip and honestly non of them were bad, so when they told me we are now going to try the best Momos in Kathmandu I was like yeah right.
Sounds cheesy now but I must say these Momos were the best I had on my whole Nepal trip. Just like stop 1, we would have never found this Kathmandu street food joint as it was somewhere hidden in a fallen apart courtyard in a narrow passageway. When I walked in I was like yeah right where are we eating Momos then? LOL. End good, all good, they were delicious!
Momos differ per etnic group in Nepal, some only make vegetable Momos, some only with chicken, buffalo, etc. Momos in the mountains are much bigger and everyone has its own sauce as well. I like the Momos with the spicy sauce in Kathmandu the most. While trekking in the mountains in Nepal you are often served Momos with ketchup but that is just laziness of the chef!
Stop 3: Tip Top Samosas
Why Tip Top? Because of a tailor shop! Yeah I admit that sounds a little bit strange, but of course another hidden courtyard off a busy street in Kathmandu center you will find one of the most famous Kathmandu street food stalls. On a small courtyard full of scooters there is a tailor called Tip Top and now the whole courtyard is called Tip Top. As this is where they apparently sell the best samosas in Kathmandu the place is now well known as the Tip Top Samosas.
Apart from the delicious samosas we also got to try Pani Puri and a Jalebi for dessert. Pani Puri is a fried crisp containing a bunch a spices in flavoured water or at least that is what I wrote down. It looked like a Calimero egg with some weird coloured substance in it. It was delicious though…
Jalebi is deep fried flour soaked in sugar syrup. Super sweet, good for a little bite. I would say something so sweet, may be it is better to share! :)
Stop 4: Flavored soda
It was time for a drink after all these delicious Kathmandu street food stalls. Water was served by our tour guide, but we now stopped at a special place where they made their own sodas. Be careful it will make you burp. These homemade sodas come in a long list of varieties. Some are obvious like lemon, raspberry, mango. But there is also German Flag and a bunch of other weird names.
I tried the ginger cola and the raspberry watermelon. Apparently, it is good for digestion and you have to drink it out fast as the fizz is gone quickly. It tasted pretty salty and wasn’t really my thing, it also made me burp like crazy and my tummy made weird sounds for the next 10 minutes. Nothing wrong though, surely good for digestion!
Stop 5: Dahi Puri Chaat
We already got to our last food stop and this was a delicious one. We earlier already got to try the Pani Puri and now we tried another Puri. The Dahi Puri Chaat was a plate of fried crisps filled with masala and chutney and topped off with yoghurt. The mix of the refreshing yoghurt, the crisps and the chutneys definitely made this one of my favorite Nepal street food dishes.
The places looked a little like flat iron building with a lot of fantasy! LOL
Stop 6: Lassi
To end our Kathmandu street food tour we went to the most famous lassi place in Kathmandu. It is located right in the heart of the city center on a busy crossing. The bustling streets and the crazy traffic give this lassi place an even more authentic feel. You would probably never think about stopping here for a lassi, but when I tasted it I was happy we did. It was the perfect place to end our food tour.
My Experience with Backstreet Academy
We did the food tour in the afternoon. We met up around 15.00 and finished our tour around 18.00. At the end of the tour we were all full and dinner that night was postponed a little. As you have been able to read and see in the embedded video I had a great time strolling through the busy streets of Kathmandu finding these hidden street food stalls. Without this Backstreet Academy food tour I would have never enjoyed Nepal street food so much as it is hard to know where to go and find quality street food.
Backstreet Academy also runs breakfast tours and for the daredevils they have a special food tour in Kathmandu: Fear Factor Tour. In this tour you will get to try some crazy food like: brains, lungs, testicles, penis, etc. You know what I am going to try next time, right? :)
Thank you for keeping up with the Traveltomtom adventures I hope you liked my experiences in the streets of Kathmandu. In case you are interested in more about the Backstreet Acamdemy food tour in Kathmandu then click here for more info.
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Enjoy your trip to Nepal!