Lhaphing is a street food favorite
-   2017-06-21 | nepaltraveller.com
What makes Lhaphing so popular is its spicy and tangy taste
Boudha is many things; a door into the past, a holy shrine, a cycler pedaling on the roads to modernisation, a shelf stacked with numerous cultures its contents shiny and colourful like new books, and most of all, a carefully planned menu of exotic food. If you happen to walk on the stone paved streets of Boudha, you will surely encounter the Lhaphing Pasals.
Boudha is home to this popular street food that has been gaining popularity especially among the younger group of people. Originally, Lhaphing is a Chinese dish known as Liang fen literally meaning ‘Cold Noodle’. It entered Nepal through Tibetans who called Nepal their home and settled in the once vacant lands of Boudha and through them Lhaphing rapidly grew in popularity.
Today Lhaphing is not just confined to Boudha but has spread to other areas of the city catering to its expanding demand among people. What makes Lhaphing so popular is its spicy and tangy taste as it is made from extracting starch from potato, bean or wheat flour added with soy sauce, garlic extract, Szechuan sauce, red chili paste, sesame oil and vinegar. In summer, it gives a distinct yet similar taste of spicy noodles minus the inconvenience of hot steam.
I often watch the brisk hands of the shopkeeper cutting the flat piece of roti, proceeding on to add spices without the use of any measurement and then whisking it away with a spoon. And voila! It is ready within two minutes of waiting to satisfy eager taste buds.
But with so many Lhaphing shops opened in Kathmandu alone, it might be daunting to decide which one to try. We created a list of the best Lhaphing shops in the city to help you decide:
1. Yummy Lhaphing Center, Boudha
Situated against the backdrop of the Boudhanath Stupa; it is a perfect place to enjoy this street food with the Stupa at arm’s length. It is one of the busiest Lhaphing shops in Boudha that remains bustling with people from the late morning hours to about 8.30 pm in the evening. The owners start preparing Lhaphing from 4.30 am in the morning to supply it readily to people. We suggest enjoying a Barfi to cool the tongue after a hot serving of Lhaphing.
2. Dege delicious Lhaphing restaurant, Boudha
On the east of the main gate of Boudha, you will encounter many small lhaphing shops scattered on either side of the road. One of them will be Dege Delicious Lhaphing Resturant, catering to the needs of younger people, especially those who’d like additional flavors in their Lhaphing.
If you’re feeling extra frisky, you could even add raw noodles in your dry Lhaphing to balance soft with crunchy texture. This Lhaphing shop is perfect for customised servings of Lhaphing.
3. Himalayan Lhaphing Center, Boudha (Fulbari Chowk)
One of the busiest hotspots for college students is Himalayan Lhaphing Center. Especially busy after college hours, it serves a wide range of Lhaphing especially White Lhaphing which isn’t normally found in other Lhaphing shops. Made from spicy mug bean gelato flavored with garlic and chilies added with a special sauce, it is a perfect snack to enjoy amidst conversation with friends.
4. Cool Brothers Lhaphing Center, Ekantakuna
Away from the roots of Boudha but deeply close to its authentic taste is the Lhaphing served by Cool Brothers Lhaphing Center. It is situated near the Tibetan Refugee Camp. There has been no compromise in the taste and feel of the Lhaphing which is also served with dried noodles and chips according to one’s preference.