Around the World in 80 Plates: Kathmandu, Nepal

Captain Create has floated her balloon all the way to Kathmandu, in Nepal! Nepal has the only flag on Earth that is not a rectangle! The two pennants have been used for a long time, but it wasn’t officially adopted as their flag until 1962.

That’s not all… Nepal has a lot going on!

Located in the Himalayas between India and the Tibet region of China, Nepal is a small and very interesting country. Nepal is home to 8 of the 10 highest mountain peaks on Earth! Because of this dramatic elevation change, it is also home to many different plants and animals. Nepal is home to 35 different forest-types and 118 ecosystems! This means there are lots of different plants to eat!

If you attend a meal with someone in Nepal, you’ll find that they serve food a bit differently than we do in the USA. Meals are centered around a cereal grain, like rice, and a few smaller and more flavorful dishes to go with the cereal grain. Instead of eating a meal in courses, everything is put on the table, or on a tray, together and you combine the parts of the meal that you want to eat.

Many of the dishes served in Nepal are vegetarian, but not all of them. Meats like chicken, lamb, goat, and buffalo are common, but its less likely you’ll find pork or beef. Spices like ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon, jimbu (like a green onion), and spicy chiles are often used to flavor the meat or vegetable side dishes, chutneys, pickles, and sauces served at mealtimes.

What do they do during the day between meals in Nepal? All sorts of things! When folks are not at work or school, they work in their gardens, go hiking, take lessons, and play sports just like we do in the USA. Cricket is the most popular sport in Nepal, and while it sort of looks like baseball, the only similarity is whacking a ball with a bat. Ask a grown up to help you look up more about cricket and how it is played. Soccer, which is called football there, is also very popular and played everywhere. Because of all the high peaks in the Himalayas, hiking is a big business, and the Sherpa people in the north are experts at living and hiking at high altitudes and some work as “sherpas” and carry things to base camps for folks hoping to hike to the top of the highest peaks like Mount Everest.

Doing all of these outside activities means folks get hungry! If you’d like to try eating like you’re in Nepal, cook some rice pilaf, and serve it along with this easy sekuwa recipe and tomato chutney!

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