Food Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Food

The 4 Best Places To Eat In Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel is Kathmandu’s backpacker district but that doesn’t mean this part of Nepal’s capital city doesn’t have some of the best food travelers can eat. Vibrant and full of local, some locally a hole in the wall, options, these are 4 places you should eat in Thamel.

1. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen

tibetan and nepali kitchen thamel

There’s plenty of space inside but you might miss this family run business cooking up amazing thali (tasting of local curries), thenthuk (wide noodle soup), and of course momos. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen is cozy inside with the kitchen in partial view and the food served on order with quick turnaround times.

2. Mo Mo Cave

mo mo cave thamel kathmandu

You’ll have to walk through some construction and under a building with a questionable foundation but believe me, the momos at Mo Mo Cave are worth it. Momos take time here in this small family operation that makes the best momos, small, steamed or fried dumplings with vegetarian, chicken, or beef options. Eat here at least once when you’re in Thamel and it probably won’t be your last visit.

3. Himalayan Java

himalayan java

More on the beaten path, this small coffee chain is a little hipster with a lot of local love for good reason. The coffee at a place called Himalayan Java (as one would hope) is good with pastries to match, not to mention excellent free wifi. A nice place to relax, especially during the slower afternoon hours.

4. Yangling

yangling kathmandu thamel

Almost combining a little of the above, Yangling serves up hot Tibetan classics with some local favorites. Yangling’s crowded and the tables slightly messy from the meal someone had before you but the food is tasty, comforting, and served fairly quickly. Being on the edge of Thamel, depending on where you’re staying, Yangling is a longer (10-20 minute walk) but if thupka (thin noodle broth soup) makes you’re heart sing, it will carry your feet away.

More Food For You

A few other places worth mentioning are Black Olive Cafe for breakfast and if the weather is nice, a warm patio to get your day started. Speaking of morning, next to OR2K which has a large variety of Westernized vegan and vegetarian dishes, there’s a small coffee stand with no name. It’s right on the corner here and hard to miss on the ground but if you want freshly brewed local coffee with Thamel’s unique flavor, this coffee stand has your name on it.

How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan A Trip

travel blog pizza

There are a lot of travel blogs on the Internet but as websites keep procreating, many independent sites get lost under search garbage. Travel blogs used to be a primary source of vacation planning until everyone and their weird relatives hopped on Facebook to scream at each other. Still, there are many independent creators focused on writing specific and personalized information about the places you want to go.

Here’s how to find and use travel blogs to plan a better trip than a bland web search can get you.

The Benefit Of Blogs

As clearly biased as this is going to sound, blogs are probably the most free places online. Generally independent from the pressures of algorithms (like YouTube), few worries of shadow banning, and not being like based, many blogs are run by people who inherently enjoy sharing information. Blogs typically live and die by Google search results and since competing with larger sites on common searches has become more difficult, crafty bloggers tend to get specific. Really specific, like the “the best way to get a taxi in Istanbul.”

best taxi istanbul

Blogs are often updated more frequently than tent pole pages in mainstream media because there are a lot of travel bloggers, blogging about somewhere you want to go, at any given time.

Finding Good Travel Blogs

Sifting through abandoned blogs and sites made purely for search engine optimization (SEO) to find quality travel blogs isn’t too difficult. To find a site first, enter in the search term you’re looking for (e.g. “best places to eat in Moldova“) followed by “travel blog.” This sounds silly I know, but entering in “best places to eat in Moldova travel blog” will get you past Google’s generic recommendations and a bunch of bland TripAdvisor recommendations.

Ratings from those sites, short reviews written by anonymous people, and everything being 4.7 stars doesn’t actually give you useful travel advice. But by searching through travel blogs you get detailed articles such as solo female travel in Bangladesh by locals, expats like Turkey’s For Life, and travelers who’ve extensively explored a destination (how about Alaska).

tokyo japan

It’s a good idea to look at the dates of posts to see how recent they are and check the latest posts to see how fresh a given blog is. A lot of blogs don’t add dates to posts because of a misguided understanding of SEO (please, stop doing that) so seeing how active a given blogger is on social media can help with your site freshness check.

How To Use Travel Blogs

Many travel blogs have information categorized by destination or country, mode of travel, or even cuisine. Depending on the site design, I recommend going to the “blog” or “about” pages. The blog page will usually show you recent topics and the about page will give you an idea about the person writing everything. Does the blogger travel like you, have the same interests when visiting a city… there’s a lot you can learn.

Some travel bloggers also run diverse tours and can be contacted with feedback – a lot of us are happy to help. Your question might even turn into an entire blog post about how to use travel blogs to plan your next trip.

Although they’re not as easy to find through a Google search (try DuckDuckGo anyone?), the blogosphere is thriving, independent, and full of useful advice and thoughtful creators. Once you find a blog or blogger that vibes with you and is especially helpful, make sure to sign up for their newsletter, YouTube, or other social channels to keep up in between trips and have a handy resource before the next one.

How To Cook Turkish Borek The Easy Way

Turkish borek is a food you might be familiar with since there’s a version of it in most cultures. Dough with tasty things stuffed inside then cooked until the exterior is crispy and the insides soft. Creating borek is traditionally a time consuming task but switching from an oven to a stove top, you can prepare the dish within 15 minutes.

Once you’re ready, it’s only about an hour to cook this vegetarian Turkish dish. You can watch the entire process in this video (with my mom!) or read on.

What You’ll Need

There are some key ingredients like the phyllo dough, olive oil, and eggs (or egg substitute to make it a vegan Turkish recipe).  In this recipe we’re using a classic spinach, onion, and tomato filling but you can get creative! Just keep the basic preparation steps in place and in proportion.

turkish borek receipe

  • 1 package 3-layer phyllo dough
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons black cumin seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 large bag of spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water

Preparing The Filling

Start by chopping your onion, spinach, and tomatoes into bite-size pieces (i.e. not too fine). Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot, toss your chopped spinach, tomatoes, and onion in, and set it to a low to medium heat until it simmers. While that’s cooking, in a separate bowl crack an egg, pour 2 cups of water, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk until it’s thoroughly mixed and let it sit while you move on to the next step.

Getting The Dough Ready

Using a tablespoon of olive oil, coat the bottom of a large pan. Take a tablespoon of cumin seeds and sprinkle them across the bottom. Then take your phyllo dough and cover the bottom in a layer or two. It doesn’t have to be uniform, which saves you a lot of time, just make sure the bottom layer especially isn’t too thin.

turkish borek

After the first layer of dough, pour some of the egg mixture and add your (now lightly cooked) filling. Then start tearing more dough and put it on time. Then, another layer of egg mix and filling, then dough.

Cooking The Borek

The final step is to pour the remaining mixture on top of the entire borek; this helps keep the dough soft while it’s cooking. Once that’s done, sprinkle another tablespoon of cumin seeds on top. Now, you can place the borek on the stove at medium heat. Cook until it’s lightly brown (approximately 30 minutes) on the bottom, then flip it over. Once both sides are light brown, it’s time to let the borek cool to room temperature and eat!

To add to this meal you can make mercimek koftesi (spicy lentil balls) or some of these lesser known classic Turkish foods. Afiyet olsun!

What’s The Best Country In The World? The India vs. Pakistan Debate

Nuance is often the antidote to controversy and the relationship between India and Pakistan is loaded with both. Recent comments suggesting a particular bias in my travel videos about both countries lead me to answer the question: which do I like more, Pakistan or India?

Well, that’s a deeper question about travel comparisons in general I talk about in the video here. It’s an answer, it turns out, a lot of us tend to get wrong for very reasonable reasons when we visit a place. Just like we’re moving though space, we can’t ignore time and happenstance either so our perceptions can be very narrow in a big world. After watching the video above, you might just be rethinking some of your favorite and least favorite destinations.

Not Wanting To Exercise Is Normal, Here’s Why

There are a lot of myths about fitness, including the notion that our ancestors were hulking super-humans who were always on the go. It turns out according to Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman, hunter gatherers do a lot more sitting than you think.

Dr. Lieberman is the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding and recently joined me on a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to discuss common myths above movement. We also talk about the Paleo diet and why eating from a Stone Age menu might not be ideal.

You can watch a clip of my interview with Dr. Lieberman in this video or listen to the full foXnoMad Podcast episode here.

Turkish Vegan Recipe: How To Cook Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

There are a lot of traditional Turkish dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in their original form. A popular local dish I‘ve mentioned before is mercimek (mer-ji-mek) koftesi (kouf-te-si), which are spicy lentil balls with onions and a few other ingredients. Last time I had my mom join a live chat here on the site to show you tips on preparing lentil balls.

For this recipe, I figured it even better to make a video with my mom showing you how to make mercimek koftesi so you can cook them for yourself, friends, or family any time you like. You can see the entire process in the video here.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Adjust as needed, just make sure to keep the ratios in proportion.

  • 4 cups red lentils
  • 2 cups thin bulgur rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bundles spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste (spicy)

Total Cooking Time

With preparation, about 3 hours.

Any Questions?

Overall these lentil balls are a good side dish you can make to go along with any meal. They’re completely vegan in their original recipe so if you’re traveling in Turkey, it’s a good best if you come across mercimek koftesi there will be no animal products in it.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and if you’d like to see more recipes on YouTube!

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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