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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A visit to Himalayan Spice

I've driven by Himalayan Spice a zillion times since it opened about a year ago, but have never stopped to sample the Nepali menu. I was nervous about recommending it to my Friday-night pals, since several of them dislike Indian food, which has a heavy influence on Nepali cuisine.

But I convinced them to go and, to my surprise, everyone liked it. In fact it earned rare designation as "a restaurant I'd return to."

You can read Brad Kaplan's quite positive review of the restaurant and read Creative Loafing's blurb about its lamb choila, designated one of the 100 best dishes in Atlanta.

I'd never eaten Nepali food before. I did have a Tibetan meal at Shangri La in Marietta a few years ago. I also visited a Tibetan restaurant in Paris, where I had a cup of the infamous yak-butter tea. The drink is popular throughout the Himalayas. When I asked our server if it was available, he said "I wish."

Most of us at the table ordered thalis, the circular, partitioned metal plates that provide a taste of several dishes (right photo). When the server asked if I wanted my food spicy-hot or mild. I ordered the former and it wasn't the least bit hot to my palate. A fair assessment, I think, is that Nepali food is generally quite mild, compared to Indian.

Probably the best dish on the table was a starter of mo mo (top photo), steamed dumplings filled with chicken. (As with other sections of the menu, vegetarian-style is also available.) The mo mo, served with a tomato dip called achar, were so juicy they reminded me of soup dumplings. I also liked the chicken 65, a dish that draws many diners to Zyka in the Decatur area.

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