10 Mouthwatering Newa Dishes to Try in Kathmandu

Food is one of the key elements of human life. People also associate food with culture, livelihoods and traditions. Sure, food plays a vital role in your day-to-day life, but a good, delicious meal also brightens your day. One such appetizing experience includes various Newa food products.

Nepal, being a country with different cultural and ethnic diversity, offers foodies a plethora of options to taste. Various food items from the Newa community are prepared for every occasion and time of day. These items are usually eaten together, but they’re also great to devour individually. Some of the Newa foods that you can enjoy as snacks are:

1. Yomari

Photo: Nasana Bajracharya

One of the most popular newa foods is yomari. The word yomari is made up of two words, where “yo” means favorite and “husband” means candy. This one is made of rice flour shaped in a unique way, similar to a conch with a pointed tip. It is filled with chaku (molasses) or khuwa (dried evaporated milk solids) and is steamed. In one bite, one can relish the sweet oozing chaku/khuwa in the middle part.

In the past, this special Newa bread was only prepared on special occasions like Yomari Punhi. However, nowadays this Newa food can be enjoyed any day of the year in various restaurants in the Kathmandu Valley.

2. Wo and Bara

Wikimedia Commons

Wo and bara are some of the easiest Newa foods to prepare. They are also quick, easy and delicious to eat. Wo is a flatbread-like dish made from lentils while bara is a deep-fried donut-like dish. They can be eaten as a snack or an appetizer.

Wo and bara are made from a paste of lentils and spices. It can be plain lentils only or lentils mixed with eggs, meat or vegetables; it all depends on the chef. They taste even better with meat sauce, pickles, or with something spicy on the sides.

3. Lakhamari


Lakhamari is a typical Newa sweet which is crispy and appetizing. It is a sweet fried dough coated in sugar syrup. Lakhamari comes in a variety of forms and ingredients. Lakhamari is also one of the popular sweets at weddings and parties. It is also a popular teatime snack among the locals. A kind of lakhamari also comes in small, crispy pieces that are easy to nibble.

4. Chatamari

newa chatamari food items
Chatamari with meat. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Newa pizza, chatamari is one of the popular Newa foods that is commonly eaten as a snack. Chatamari has become very popular even among people outside the Newa community. It has a thin crepe crust made from rice flour. The crust can taste from soft to crispy, depending on one’s preference. It can also be made as plain chatamari or mixed with toppings like eggs or keema (minced meat).

5. Chhoila

chhoila meat lovers in kathmandu newari cuisine

Chhoila is one of the typical Newa foods, which is a non-vegetarian dish seasoned with authentic Newa spices. Chhoila is meat mixed with spices. The meat used can be boiled/pressure cooked or roasted/grilled.

Haku chhoila is another special type of meat which is spiced minced meat which is prepared by roasting it in the hay fire or on the charcoal until black. This popular Newa food is made from very juicy meat with an incredible texture that is hot, spicy and full of mouth-watering flavor.

6. Kachila

Photo: Newa Lahana Butwal

Kachila is raw minced meat (buffalo) marinated in Newa spices with mustard oil and spring onions. It is not found among the common foods in Newa because few people like to eat raw meat. However, locally it is a popular Newa food which is packed with juicy flavors which can be eaten separately or can be used in wo, bara and chatamari as toppings.

7. Sapu mhicha


Sapu mhicha is yet another unusual dish among Newa foods, but it is enjoyed by many. The name is the combination of ‘sapu’ meaning bone marrow and ‘mhicha’ meaning pocket. It is taken as a side dish consisting of a buffalo leaf tripe filled with bone marrow.

Shapu mhicha is a rare dish because it takes a long time to prepare, but people enjoy the chewy fillings that are full of different juicy flavors of spices. It’s worth the time and money.

8. Senlaa

This Newa food consists of meat cooked from buffalo, chicken or goat liver. Senlaa is also one of the easiest to cook yet delicious Newa foods. When preparing senlaa, all you have to do is steam the livers, sauté them and finally add a few spices only. Senlaa is very tasty with a soft and tender texture, which is mostly preferred while drinking.

9. Bhutan


Bhuttan (sometimes also spelled bhutan) is one of the weird but delicious Newa foods in the kitchen. Prepared from the organs of buffalo such as stomach, intestine, tripe, liver, bhuttan is a stir-fried snack. Some also saute it with shallots, onions, garlic and other herbs, special spices and finally the spicy and flavorful bhuttan is ready to be enjoyed. It’s a popular snack anytime, especially with the khaja ​​set.

10. Juju dhau

Juju dhau is not your typical yogurt. It is considered the king of yogurts and originates from Bhaktapur. It is one of the most popular desserts in the Newa community.

This yogurt (fermented milk) made in a clay pot is very soft, sweet and creamy, and loved by everyone. People travel to cities and even countries just to try this delicious Newa delicacy. Any Newa event or festival is incomplete without this dessert, making juju dhau not only one of the delicious Newa dishes, but one of the key elements of Newa culture.

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