Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Nepal’s speakeasies

Kathmandu’s hidden diners offer those in the know snacks of buffalo brain, testicles and intestines — all washed down with a fiery gin-like liquor

By Deepak Adhikari  /  AFP, KATHMANDU

Because bhattis are hard to find, they have never been counted. And although there were several bhattis in every alley ten years ago, their numbers are diminishing, according to food experts.

“These places emerged before fast food and the arrival of dining out culture. Back in the 1970s, creative people used to hang out there and spend hours over plates of the snacks and drinks on the side,” said food writer Shekhar Kharel.

Kharel believes diners have become more knowledgeable and cosmopolitan as Kathmandu has opened up to the world in recent decades, gradually rendering restaurants serving only one type of cuisine obsolete.

“Bhattis are now the poor cousins of the neighborhood’s upscale cafes,” he said, adding that it was not all bad news.

“Although they are threatened by the newcomers, there are some who enjoy a loyal following. They might retain their glory if they modernize a bit because you won’t get the authentic taste anywhere else.”

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