What to do? – One day in Kathmandu

Blogadda

First of all, let me set the context on how important & busy as a person I’ve become in the recent past. So much so that I have to go on ‘short international business trips’ Ohh Emm Gee! #EpicLoserLevelUnlocked 😛

Yeahh so my brand got launched in Nepal market and I was asked to plan a 2 day trip to Kathmandu (khi khi khi dil mein laddoo phoota) And to plan it on a Thursday/ Friday (ek aur laddoo phoota!) Ofcourse I stayed over on Saturday and then booked myself back on Sunday so that my old person’s body/ mind / soul can get enough sleep and then can be dragged to office on Monday morning.

So that left me just a day to ‘kar le Kathmandu mutthhi mein’. Luckily enough one of my pragmatic yet well travelled friend had visited Kathmandu earlier and knew the exact 4-5 locations to see and Google baba came to the rescue for my last minute planning.

Here starts my one day guide to Kathmandu!

  1. Thamel – First and last stop

Thamel is the place with night life in terms of pubs, restaurants, shops, tourists etc. in Kathmandu. That one particular area found in every city where travellers reside and make the hub. Unlike rest of Kathmandu which shuts down at 8pm, Thamel stays up and awake till wee hours for a lot of things which should be left unsaid.

Checked into a beautiful, awe-inspiring tiny little place in Thamel – Ambassador Garden Home ❤ Their rooms are small bt still don’t feel claustrophobic because of the warmth of the place emerging from all the wood work or even the amiable staff 🙂

Must try out their Nepali Masala Tea. Had atleast 5 cups in a day whenever and for whatever time I was there!

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Ambassador Garden Home is THE cozy and cute lil place to stay at if you choose Thamel area. Just look at this garden restaurant.

 

2. Pahupatinath Temple

After keeping luggage in the room I took a local taxi and went straight to Pashupatinath Temple for the World Heritage Site claim.

It is one of the few structures which didn’t get affected much by the last earthquake in Nepal but hordes of people (or as they call themselves pilgrims) have ruined the place enough. It would have been a beautiful structure to admire if there weren’t 1000s of people trying to push their way through cutting queues or being impatient to get a one look at the ‘God’. In fact there was a price list board put up by the temple administration for various rites & rituals you would want to perform. 0_o

The same temple premise has rituals being carried for newly weds or new borns and the back side of the temple as lifeless bodies being cremated which in itself is thought provoking.

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Felt like a black sheep at Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. People ruin places.

Gladly, didn’t spend more than 35-40 mins here that too because of the queues but go to this place when there is no festival around (which will be hard to plan of course) to admire the place

3.  Bhaktapur!

This was my favourite place in Kathmandu! So much so that next time I will even stay here 😀 This one of the oldest districts and rightly so you can see that in it’s brick-lanes and old temple & Durbar Square structure or architecture =D

Durbar Square are areas found all over Nepal which were meeting or shopping or key areas for the Royal Family of Nepal. Lucky to have chosen Durbar Sqaure, Bhaktapur (credit to our Nepal team for suggestion 🙂 ) as against other Durbar Squares in Nepal.

This area being 100s of years old got affected the most by the earthquakes but the spirit & beauty is still alive. Food is still kickass! People are still friendly story-telling enthusiasts & ohh new age rock bands playing in the hidden pubs inside these old brick architectural amazement!

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Would have loved to see it before the earthquake, loved visiting it now, will visit it after the restoration 🙂 Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal

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5 stone temple at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal – One wise owl told me that this was the biggest temple created to cut down on the powers of a super powerful God with an existing temple right across this one, who got out of control. Pehelwan at the bottom of the side statues is powerful but elephants on top of them are 10 times more powerful and then comes the tiger with 10 times more strength than the elephants but then the Garuda and the Goddess herself – most powerful evvvaaahhh!

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This was taken from the top of the 5 stone temple 😀 Now that’s the place for a cup of coffee or Nepali masala chai – Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal with the sleeping Buddha hills in the background.

 

And then my love affair with food started ❤ sparks flew and their was this unapologetic incessant touch downs at nooks & corners of Bhaktapur for Nepali food! (May Freud help me)

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Newari cuisine at Bhaktapur – A small nook and aunty cooking Bara-Wo fresh , vegetable & egg savoury pancake with buff + kala chana curry on top along with some mustard aloo bhaja o_O bacha lo!

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That’s what the final served Bara-Wo dish looks like. Frankly, I had my reservations before tasting this savoury atta pancake but glad that I did & then overate a bit 😛 Ek baar jo humne commitment kar di toh hum khud ki bhi ni sunnte.

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Another tinnnyy outlet at Bhaktapur, Nepal with just two tables to accommodate not more than 10 people sitting cramped up. All this that uncle makes is used as chakhna/ starters with beer or the local wine Chhang (which is yummy ki mummy!) Chakhna knows no boundaries for me now! Uncooked flattened rice, sauteed soya beans, uncooked meat (stop judging me for a second, it is chopped finely and then minced with hand so much so that the heat from all this friction makes it slightly warm & soft), buffalo fry and what not! Newari cuisine rocks!

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I shappath didn’t have more than one small teenie little piece of this dish 😛 Again a Newari dish at Bhaktapur- bone marrow fat filled in goat intestines tied with a thread and then fried a little *my heart* but that intestine was crispy crunchy yummy! Fat was a tad too much for sure

 

4. Swayambhu Stupa 

I did go there but wasn’t too kicked about it since I’ve had the pleasure of the view from the top of the stupa just outside Leh city in Ladakh. So go there for the Kathmandu city view in the evening and loads of harmless monkeys/ ancestors roaming around you peacefully and then let’s come back to Thamel for a night stroll in the quaint lanes 🙂

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Have you dinner at Khatali restaurant on Durbar Marg, Kathamandu which is centrally located (not far off from Thamel) and fall in love with the ‘Mustang’ kaali daal or the mutton curry or even the simple yet powerful saag 🙂 psstt, get 1 kg of this kaali daal back as souvenir 😀

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Check out time has never been a happy time for me but morning at this place sighhh….Y’allah har roz aisi jagah pe breakfast kara de! Thodi si toh lift kara de! – Ambassador Garden Home, Thamel, Kathmandu

 

One more sign-off pic to lure you to Kathmandu, Nepal….

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First meal of momos at Kathmandu with this view from the office terrace overlooking the king’s palace 😳 mekko rakh lo yahan!

 

A few helpful points to search and a keep note of before travelling alone to a new place:

  • Download offline maps in case you are not planning to buy a local SIM (I support you on this one since wi-fi can be found at almost all hotels & why else would you need a phone while travelling?! You! Yes you constantly on your phone) – Try maps.me app, has been helpful across various countries

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  • Google the local taxi rates for places like Nepal where there is no other prevalent mode of transport. And then negotiate like an Asian! Be a man, DO THE RIGHT THING!
  • Always look at visitor images on tripadvisor or any other travel booking site for hotels and don’t just rely on the 4 star ratings/ reviews. Your gut feel about the homeliness of the place will always be stronger than well crafted review words.
  • Don’t be afraid of taking a stroll on your own. If you show confidence, you get confidence and then it just happens.
  • Lastly, It’s never too bad or boring to spend some time on your own at your own pace 🙂

Mazze hain toh loot lo!

-Huggable

The Giggler !

 

Comfort Food : 5 Kick-Ass Pan-Asian Restaurants in Bangalore

Imagine those days when you just don’t want to put your mind to work. No way do you wish to think about what to eat. You need, want, deserve food but of course without taking too much of stress. This state is called – seeking comfort through food. It’s a topic for another day that this state comes wayyyy too often in my life. Anyhow! There are just 2 comfort food options for me on any given day – 1. Biryani 2. Pan-Asian cuisine

Oooh I am @the__giggler ! I am so hoity toity! Calling it pan-asian cuisine and all ‘eh. There was a time when I used to call it plain simple Chinese food. Anything remotely pan-asian was Chinese for me. Yup! Me. Here. I. yes yes, Faaine! judge the stereotypical me. o_O But now I know and I want you to know too.

Here are my top 5 PAN-ASIAN restaurant picks in Bangalore, trusted blindly. There is a surprise hidden gem at the end. My +1  for you B-)

1. The Fatty Bao, Indiranagar

Since the time this place came to Indiranagar, I have taken almost everyone along with me here and shamelessly ordered the same food over and over again! And whatte ambience this place has, so Bangalore ❤

Open terrace with subtle light, low music, enough space, #AwesomeSauce food and friendly bartenders. You might not even want to move away from the bar stools.

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Our food order at The Fatty Bao needs no menu! Mutton Bao, pork belly, fried calamari and pork ramen soup makes us go bum-chica-bao-wow!

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Little piglets on my plate! Baozi – pork filled bao , part of the special menu at Fatty Bao for Chinese New Year must be the cutest looking thing I have ever eaten.

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Guess my girls night-outs always turn out to be classier  at Fatty Bao 😜

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You shiny crispy soft fatty yummy slightly sweet meaty glazing tempting piece of Pork Belly! You make my head spin right round o_O

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These garlic and prawns momos with just so thin outer layer are so good with the 3 sauces at Fatty Bao! 😳 one more place for THE momos added to THE list 👍🏻

 

 

2. Singkong, UB City

Friday lunches made better. One of those rare places where Veg dishes and desserts compete with pork for my appetite…

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Need to stop eating out with these vegetarian friends of mine… They are polluting my palette with good veg food that too paneer based o_O yes I liked this Pandan leaf wrapped spiced cottage cheese starter @singkong_restaurant so much that we ordered for one more (don’t disown me pliss)

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Ohh you dear round dumplings… If only I could taste you in every form and stuffing… One day! 😎

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Non veg dumplings basket 😁 a little bit of this and a little bit of that made me a bit more fat 🤘🏼 Fish, chicken and shrimp dumplings basket

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Apni oriental chuski! Crispy layer covering shrimps on a sugarcane stick dipped in yummy sweet and sour sauce- Oriental shrimp nest at @singkong_blr , UB City 🤓

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Curry laksa with chicken and prawns … this creamy coconut milk based soup with boiled eggs, prawns, noodles and shredded chicken is so good that you would want to start and end your meal with it…

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You there! Yes you tiny piece of lemon cream! Come back and don’t ruin my look! Look at me when I am talking to you! Damn now everyone will want to taste you first 😦 😛 said no cake ever… Tres leches , home made style soaked cake is so light and creamy yummy with that perfectly sweet liquid to soak it in that I lost my mind for a while there 😀

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First time I tried Banoffee Pie =D I like it… Bananaaa!

 

3. Nasi And Mee Asian Canteen, Koramangala (Malaysian)

This place got launched in Bangalore and suddenly everyone around me was talking about it left- right and centre! Like why?! Why haven’t I eaten at that place? Why didn’t you guys call me?! You don’t like me! Faaine! Go!

After all this and much more cribbing to my friends, they took me there 😀 and we gave out our appreciation to this place in resounding burps 😛

Did you know Nasi means Rice and Mee stands for noodles in Malay?

 

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Dumpling! Momo! You sound as cute and soft as you taste 😁 especially when you have that light thin covering… Even veg dumplings seem to be good. One more favourite Pan Asian restaurant is here 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻 @nasiandmee 

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Ordering this stir fried fish in honey chilli mustard sauce turned out to be the best decision by us hungry bunch! Ohh the mustard 😍 along with the staple pad Thai noodles @nasiandmee Nasi And Mee, Koramangala, Bangalore 

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This place is talk of the pan Asian cuisine town right now and sure as hell it deserves the word! Massaman curry (Thai Muslim style curry with potato and chicken in a mildly spicy coconut sauce) , Thai red curry (veg) and sambal fried rice (Southeast Asian )…

 

4. Hae Kum Gang, Castle Street, Ashok Nagar (Korean)

Hungry and craving for some warm Asian food after watching a spine chilling movie like Everest we struck gold at this awesome sauce Korean place – Hae Kum Gang. Just above Plan B, this quaint little place is tucked away from the crowds.

The owners are such heart melting humble fellows who opened their kitchen seeing our hungry puppy faces. I can so get used to this!

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Just the 5 side dishes are so cool along with the slightly spicy veg and non veg Chulpan and sticky rice. And of course the largest pan on the table of Mushroom Jeongoi ( glass noodles, amazing mushrooms and other veggies in a non spicy broth). Kid you not, they didn’t stop there. Watermelon pieces dipped in just about right sweet and tangy syrup to make us feel fresh after this royal feast.

 

5. Taste of Tibet, Dubai Plaza, Brigade Road (Tibetan)

They remind me of the North campus area in Delhi 🙂 Simple, yummy tibetan pork, chicken, lamb dishes with red chilli chutney always accompanied by coke *bliss*

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Chicken momos, chicken Shaptra and tingmo (steamed bun) with that red hot chilli sauce at this small joint on #BrigadeRoad reminded me of the good old DU days and that short sweet trip to Ladakh where my dear friend’s late father had cooked the same tingmo for us on a cold winter night 🙂

 

Now comes the special +1 for y’all B-) Wait for it….

 

+1 . LanThai Restaurant , 5th avenue mall, Brigade Road 

You might need some serious google maps help to spot this place and then believe your eyes that this is the exact location.

But go ahead and just order the full fish with eyes intact 😛 or the sea food soup with quite literally the sea-food in a soup bowl :O

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One of the worst pics of mine but those tentacles deserved to be shown! P.S. This is quite an old pic 😐 @the__giggler

Tell me more about such Pan-Asian cuisine places for the next comfort seeking day around the corner … Ciao!

 

Always Hungry….

The Giggler