Nanglo Restaurant has leveled up its game by offering a unique Newari Dashain Bhoj. The aspiration behind this is to bring together families regardless of ethnicity and have them enjoy this extravagant bhoj during Dashain time even if it is in a restaurant. But when you enter Nanglo, it hardly feels like a restaurant. The space couldn’t get any homier with the beautiful ambience of warm lights on white backgrounds. When we asked Mr. Taijash Kakshapati, about his inspiration behind the whole concept of Dashain Bhoj, I was intrigued to discover the history it unraveled, and elated to see how beautifully the modern touch and traditional roots blended together.
Can you give us an insight on what Dashain Bhoj is?
Basically, Dashain Bhoj here at Nanglo contains a set of menus that incorporates a lot of food more like a Laptey Bhoj. But this is done during the Dashain time, that starts from Ghathasthapa. It is a one-month event and we serve a thali to our valued guests that has anywhere from 18-19 food items that they can choose according to their preference. It is a pretty elaborate menu and we had been thinking about implementing this properly since a long time. Just last year, we planned a special menu and decided that since October is the month of Dashain and a time for celebration, let us just tap into it and do a Dashain Bhoj here every year.
What inspired you to do a Dashain Bhoj here at Nanglo?
All my life, I grew up eating and loving these foods and one day I realized that the food is so delicious that it must be shared and taken to a larger audience. So, we did our research and created a menu especially for the Dashain time so that families who don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking during the Dashain time can easily visit here and enjoy the meals here.
What was been the most rewarding thing about serving the Dashain Bhoj?
For me, the most rewarding thing has been serving the food itself because it is a unique and different sort of experience for us. The delicacies that we provide are things that are available only during the Dashain time at people’s households. So, being present in the service for more than 40 years, we have been trying to prepare and serve exactly the homely food that people eat during the Dashain time. The food that we are serving is very limited to Newar households. So a lot of people do not have the opportunity to taste it. Having a client base that is rather diverse and taking into consideration everyone’s fair share for the love of Newari food, we are trying to bring this cuisine into a mainstream platform so that people can taste the beauty of Newari cuisine.
Can you name the food items that are served in Dashain Bhoj?
The items are served starting with vegetables so that it would be a light meal. It then gradually moves on to meat items such as choila, fried fish etc. It is a very seasonal menu which is why it is served specially during the Dashain time and comprises of foods like chuira, mutton, chicken, fried fish, spinach, cauliflower, taama and aalu, choila, micha pau, chukauni ko achar, kerau jhol tarkari, geda gudi tarkari, mula ko achar, golbheda ko achar, and dahi.
Do you have any interesting facts about the Dashain bhoj?
The reason why Dashain Bhoj is special and interesting is because we cook the food items with what is available during the Dashain time, which is called regional cooking. The Micha Pau in the menu is made of lapsi that is only available in Kathmandu during Dashain and there are other extraordinary items that are seasonal in October. Unlike the era of globalization that we live in today where we can import anything, way back in times of our grandfather where seasonal farming was the only source of food, we would get the best produce during the Dashain time and celebrate the bhoj eating what was available. Moreover, there is more to Dashain Bhoj than just delicious foods. It has also been a way for us to preserve our culture because I feel all of this history is dying. There is more to Newari food than just Bara and Chatamari. I want to go back to my roots, and showcase the versatility and diversity of the cuisine that I grew up with, and share that with everyone.