Can’t wait to taste the delicious Nepali food during your trip to Nepal this season? How about you learn some words for ordering food in Nepali to make your dining experience authentic? While there are hundreds of Nepali restaurants worldwide, if you want to visit Nepal and devour its traditional cuisine first-hand, I recommend you go through some basic food ordering phrases that will help you engage locally. If you want to learn more, continue reading!
Since Nepal is a tourist country, Nepali restaurants have English menus, and staff members speak English to help out foreigners and visitors. However, learning some native words and phrases in the Nepali language would seem friendly and polite of you, if nothing else. It will help you show respect to the Nepali culture and bring out a sophisticated impression of your personality. Moreover, getting acquainted with words related to famous food orders will only allow you to have a smooth dining experience by engaging with the locals effortlessly. So, shall we begin?
Dining Etiquette In Nepali Culture And Nepali Food
Before we start with our vocabulary lessons, let us have a quick overview of Nepali cuisine and dining manners.
Nepali cuisine is one of the most sought-after and unique in Nepali culture. Blended with several spices and flavors, Nepali food can make you drool like no other. Unlike western dishes like burgers and pizza, Nepali foods have a more subtle mix of flavors and are served chiefly with rice, like any Asian country. Indian and Tibetan cuisine has a strong influence on Nepali food, and once you taste it, you are likely to figure out the similarities found in the blend of spices and masalas.
Some of the famous Nepali dishes are dal bhat, thukpa (noodles with soup and vegetables), momos (Must try dish), Wo or Bara (pancakes), sel roti (rice flour dish), yomari, and Dhindho or dhido. Almost every dish comes with a side dish consisting of common ingredients like green chilies, onions, mustard oil, masalas, meat (pork/chicken), potatoes, sesame seeds, and fresh vegetables. Street food and Tea are also quite popular; spicy masala maggie, Chatamari, etc.
- One of the essential rules in Nepali food culture is to eat with your hands. So, washing your hands and mouth before and after eating would be best.
- Do not use your left hand to pass food or serve anyone. It is considered rude.
- Although most Asian culture has it that the oldest eats first, you might get asked to start as a guest in Nepali houses. However, whether you would like to wait or begin your feast is on you.
- In western culture, people rarely share food in restaurants or ask if anyone would like to have a share of it. However, whenever locals or friends accompany you in Nepali society, you must ask if they would like some. It is a customary gesture, and not following it might seem selfish.
- If a glass of water or bottle touches your lips, it is now unusable by others. So, do not sip water from someone else’s glass or bottle by making contact with your lips.
Ordering Food In Nepali
We will go through all the words and phrases that will help you in a Nepali restaurant in this section, from entering and ordering to billing. Learning these will also help you improve your speaking skills and enhance your Nepali vocabulary. Let’s begin!
Undoubtedly, the first thing you will do once you enter a restaurant is greeted them. Nepali people are courteous and always greet each other as a sign of respect. So, once you enter the place and see the staff members, you can greet them by saying नमस्ते- Namastē. The most common greeting in Nepal is bowing and taking your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest. You will see this commonly once you land in the country.
2. Do You Have Free Tables?
Translation: के तपाईंसँग खाली टेबलहरू छन्?
Once you are done greeting the staff, ask if they have any free or empty tables. In most cafeterias, you can enter and help yourself with a table, but on special occasions when the restaurant is busy or is a well-of cafe, you can also say, के म दुई को लागि टेबल पाउन सक्छु?- Kē ma du’ī kō lāgi ṭēbala pā’una sakchu? (Can I have a table for two?)
3. Menu, Please!
Translation: मेनु, कृपया!
After you find your table, you will look for the menu. If you find one, great, but sometimes, the table might need a menu ready. In such cases, you can make eye contact with a waitperson and say this phrase.
In case you find that the entire menu is in the Nepali language and is difficult for you to understand, you can politely ask for an English menu by saying के तपाइँसँग अंग्रेजी मेनु छ?- Kē tapā’im̐sam̐ga aṅgrējī mēnu cha? (Do you have an English menu?)
4. I Would Like To Order
Translation: म मगाउन चाहन्छु
The time has finally come to order your food. While in some restaurants, the waitperson themselves come to your table at the desired time; sometimes you need to give them a sign that you are done scrolling the menu. This will let the staff know that you are ready to order and allow them to take notes of your dishes.
5. What Do You Recommend?
Translation: तपाईं के सुझाव गर्नुहुन्छ?
Travelling to a new place, you only know so much about its authentic items. So, the best way to taste the finest is by asking for suggestions from the local members. In case you want to have a chef’s special or the dish of the day, you can use the phrase आजको विशेष परिकार के हो ?- Ājakō viśēṣa parikāra kē hō? (What is today’s special dish?)
6. Do You Have…?
Translation: तिमी सँग छ…?
Only some things that are mentioned in the menu are present to serve. So, to narrow down your choices to the available items, you can ask the staff. It will help them tell you whether they have the desired item at the restaurant.
7. I Would Like To Have…
Translation: म पाउन चाहन्छु…
Once you have decided what you want to order, you can say it and start mentioning your dishes. Doing so will allow the staff to write down your order as per your need.
8. That’s All
Translation: यति नै
After the person recorded your list, they are most likely to repeat the ordered items to make sure they are correct. If the items are right, you can say this to confirm your order. In case there is a missing item or something misplaced, you can say होइन, मैले आदेश दिएको छु… Hō’ina, mailē ādēśa di’ēkō chu… (No, I have ordered…)
9. Can I Have The Bill, Please?
Translation: कृपया, मैले विल पाउन सक्छु?
Once everything is done and you have finished your meal, the next thing to do is ask for the bill. While some cafes provide you with the receipt beforehand, some may require a call for action. In such cases, you can utter this phrase.
10. Thank You For Your Service!
Translation: तपाईंको सेवाको लागि धन्यवाद!
Hold on! Before you leave the restaurant, you can at least thank the staff for serving you throughout. So, the best way to do that is by saying thank you. This will make the people smile and bring in a bright day!
More Food Words And Phrases In Nepali
Here is a list of more Nepali phrases to help you communicate efficiently and state your concerns without any language barrier.
Over To You!
There you go! Now you know all the important words and phrases that will give you an authentic experience in a Nepali restaurant. From ordering food according to your need to avoiding unwanted clashes in food items, you will have zero casualties and enjoy your meal to the fullest. If you want to read more articles like this to help you in different circumstances during your travel, I recommend you download the Ling app. Apart from food orders, you will learn various phrases and vocabulary in just a few weeks!
Learn With Ling App
If you are new to the Ling app, don’t worry! Ling is an easy-to-use language-learning app with unique features to guide your learning journey. It covers over 60+ languages on various topics such as clothes, culture, hobbies, weather, health, etc. One of the best parts is that you get to listen and learn as native speakers personally record audio to put up on posts and ensure that you pick up the correct accent.
Moreover, the AI Chatbot system of the app lets you engage in interactive exercises that improve your communication skills. So, if you are looking forward to becoming a fluent Nepali speaker in the future, Ling is the best source for you. Download the app now from Appstore or Playstore and start learning Nepali!