Attending a traditional Newari feast (lapate bhoye) in Bhaktapur is one of the best ways to try Newari food. In fact, the Newar cuisine is famed in the country for its range of different dishes.
At a lapate bhoye, all the guests sit on long, narrow straw mats (sukuls) facing each other. A lapate (leaf plate) is placed before each guest, accompanied by a pala (small clay bowl).
The eldest is served first, and the feast begins with two handfuls of baji (beaten rice) followed by curries like gainda gudi (a mix of different lentils), hariyo saag (green spinach), and alu Tama (curry of potatoes and bamboo shoots). Alu Tama has a unique aroma and you’ll surely love its taste.
Spicy achaar (pickles) follow: alu kerau is a spicy mixture of radish, potatoes, and green and small brown peas, and tamatar ko achaar which is a ripe tomato pickle. Now that the groundwork has been prepared, the buffalo meat curry is served and the guests will start eating. The feast is on.
More dishes follow in succession. These include a selection of a dozen or so tasty morsels of meat from different parts of the animal.
Hakuchoila (broiled spiced ground meat), senla mu (liver that’s steamed and then sautéed), swanpuka (lungs stuffed and fried), bhuttan (fried intestine and other abdominal parts), and mainh (fried pieces of the tongue) are some of the tongue-tingling dishes that you might be served.
While these delectable tidbits are being served, someone else will be busy pouring Aila (homemade liquor) into your pala.
The next item on the menu is something called chhuse musse that is a mix of raw carrot, radish, cucumber, onion, and tomato slices, and soaked peas. Towards the end of the feast, a handful of beaten rice is again served, followed by yogurt and some sweetmeats.
The yogurt served at such feasts will probably be from Bhaktapur, known famously as juju dhau (king curd). It is a really delicious yogurt. That’s dessert and signifies the end of the lapate bhoye.