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February 11, 2012 - Kathmandu, Nepal

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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The weird part about internet cafes and Skype is that it's almost impossible to not overhear what should be a private conversation.  One guy was leaving Nepal early because he thought the food was bad and expensive.  On the whole I would have to agree IF you were just eating in the backpacker's ghetto.  The restaurants try to do foreigner's comfort food without really knowing what they're cooking, and trying to do it with ingredients that aren't readily available.  I try to eat local food because that's what they do the best. (Seen on a tee shirt - "Dal bhat- 24 hour power"). 

Having said all that I freely admit that I'm addicted to the Szechuan place next door to my hotel.  It started out that it was late, I was tired and cold and just wanted a quick bite to eat, so for convenience, I popped into the next door joint and asked for tomato soup with egg.  I had low expectations, thinking at best, it would be canned soup with a fried egg on top.  Instead they served a huge steaming bowl of fragrant, made from scratch chicken broth, with lightly cooked vegetables and an egg swirled into it.  I was hooked. Breakfast's fried potatoes are expertly seasoned with green onions, chiles, and ginger. 

The Potala Guest House, where I am, used to run the next door restaurant, and closed it for unavailability of cooking oil.  My speculation is that the Szechuan Tong cornered that market - their chef is the Paula Dean of Szechuan cooking - each plate has a week's worth of oil, and a month's intake of sodium.  One of the regulars, a businessman from Chengdu, said that the chef is famous.  (I met him, unlike Paula Dean, this guy is skinny as a rail, I don't know how he does it).  The place is not fancy - instead of paper napkins, there is a roll of toilet paper in a plastic holder on each table, and the tooth picks are out of a plastic beehive with it's own restaurant haiku:Design with meticulous care. The external appearance. Beauty is generous. Usage convenience.