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Newari fare at The Village Cafe

How have I been here for six entire weeks and not discovered Newari food until today? (This is why spending ten days paid vacation in a country just will not do.) Newar people are Nepal's aboriginals and, not surprisingly, their cooking is like moksha on a plate (moksha = the Hindi word for liberation from the cycle of life and death; literally "self-realization"). The Village Cafe in Pulchowk is owned and operated by indigenous women who grow their own food. The best part is that they don't dumb it down for the Westernfolk; it's every bit as spicy as it should be!

The big white dumplings are yomaree, rice flour confections. One was filled with condensed milk paste and coconut, the other with molasses and sesame paste. The tacolike entity to the left of the yomaree is vegetable chatamari, a rice flour pancake filled with curried vegetables. The yellow patty above the chatamari is an egg bara, a pulse cake topped with fried egg. The small dish in the center is pickled black soy beans and garlic slices. Across the top, from the left is apricot chutney; tama aaloo: a tangy soup of bamboo shoots, potatoes, and beans; aaloo sandheko: seriously spicy potatoes prepared with sesame paste, cilantro, and green chiles; and on the far right is gundruk: dried fermented green vegetables mixed with spices. 100% vegetarian, 200% delicious!

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