By Kamilla Singh
Vancouver: Café Kathmandu is the home of the finest Nepalese cuisine; Local ingredients are transported from the far flung mountains of Nepal at Café Kathmandu. Kathmandu made the headline news all over the world about 7.8 earthquakes where over 7,500 people died and the estimation is that there will be more bodies are found in weeks to come. Recently the owner of the restaurant who is from Kathmandu himself opened his doors for the fundraising for the people of Nepal, on April 30th and again on May 7th.
The café Kathmandu is renowned for its distinctively Himalayan cuisine, delicately spiced lightly sautéed or lightly steamed, always appropriate for Western palate eager to savory the flavors and the textures of the mountains of Nepal. The cafe was founded in 2008 as the first Nepalese restaurant in B.C with the purpose of making a place for the Hindu-Buddhist culture of Nepal within the cultures and the cuisines of Canada.
From the beginning the owner of cafe is a big supporter of Nepalese-Canadian community. The two days when they organized the fund-raising for the people of Nepal the place got packed, the owner Abi Sharma donated every dollar that he made in that night for his fellow Nepalese to rebuild the country, people lined up for hours to get on both days. I went in a day after the fund raising the owner was recuperating from the previous night, every body came together to support his cause for this fundraising. When asked how did the fund-raising go? he replied. “It really went well but what the country needs to rebuild it far more greater then what we have collected. We are still open to receive collection if the people were unable to come on those nights to donate for this humanitarian cause, they can always come down and donate for the cause, it will take years for the country to be where it was before the earthquake.
This was my first experience eating at Café Kathmandu, where the food is eighty percent vegetarian or vegan. Their menu is simple but you need to know what you are ordering, I was very lucky when I walked in they just opened up and the owner had a lot of time on his hand to educate me on his cuisine. With his consultation I ordered Momo, This is steamed dumplings with a savory filling of your choice of vegetable, chicken and pork, served with tomato, cilantro, tamarind and spicy sauces, these look exactly like dumplings, I got vegetarian, half an order, full order is 12 pieces and I have half of it, Momo is the street food in Nepal and people love it. The fillings are made out of graded carrots, potatoes, root vegetable, tofu and different spices. He was right about the dumplings; I loved every bite of it. For the main course I ordered Maachchaa, this is marinated fish fillet in curry sauce, this is extremely full of flavors, and the servings are humongous, it came with basmati rice with assortment of vegetables. I was so full with momo that I ate half of what I got and the other half I asked him to have it packed for me to take it home for lunch for next day. I will go back and try some of the items which I couldn’t try in the first time. Before I had a chance say good-bye to him, he was swamped with customers and the place got packed, this is a very popular restaurant on Commercial Drive. Food is excellent and service is outstanding and very friendly.
“The kitchen at the Kathmandu is stocked daily with fresh local produce in season and organic, items when possible utilities and pots are separated for vegan and vegetarian dishes. The menu is dairy free and ninety percent is gluten-free” Mr. Abi Sharma told the Asian Journal reporter.
“Before I opened this restaurant I wanted to give the Vancouverites the real taste of Nepalese cuisine, people that haven’t been to Nepal we want to give them a taste of what Nepal cuisine is all about, our cuisine is typi
cal Nepal. Most of the people that came here from Nepal are vegetarian or vegan so we don’t want to comprise on the ethnicity of our food” he added. The restaurant is not too big, but to make sure that you are served you have to make reservation every night or else you will be out of luck. I had to leave in hurry so that my table could be cleaned for someone else to sit down. The place is tastefully decorated with yellow and blue paint on the wall and breathtaking photos of Nepal; you can sit there for hours glazing at the photos and never get bored. One of the pictures on the wall is the photo of the Buddhist temple, the temple is completely destroyed in the recent earthquake.
Fully Licensed, Located at 2779 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, open 6 days a week from 4:30pm to 10:30pm Monday to Saturday. Call for reservation at 604-879-9909 or visit their website at www.cafekathmandu.com
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