02/25/14 1:20pm

How to Order Authentically Spicy Nepali Food

Ramen noodles get the chaat treatment.

Spiced correctly, sandheko waiwai is one of the fieriest snacks around.

Welcome to the eighth installment of C+M’s ongoing series of audio guides on how to order authentically spicy food in ethnic restaurants. As a service to C+M readers Anne Noyes Saini has been compiling a series of audio guides demonstrating phrases in several relevant languages, which can be used to navigate ordering situations fraught with tricky cultural and language barriers. Today a primer from Kamala Gauchan chef and owner of Dhaulagiri Kitchen in Jackson Heights on how to make sure your Nepali fare brings enough fire to melt the Himalayas.

Gauchan, the godmother of Himalayan cuisine in the hood, hails from Kathmandu. I count myself a huge fan of her little restaurant and turned Andrew Zimmern on to it. He absolutely loved it as did The New York Times in a recent review.

“American people come in and I ask, ‘Oh my god here Nepali food is very spicy, you eating?” Gauchan says with a chuckle and continues with her imitation of a fearless non-Nepali eater, “Oh, no, I like that is spicy.”

Whether you’ve eaten Nepali food before or whether or just discovering at Dhaulagiri or elsewhere, you’ll want to make sure your grub is authentically spiced. In Nepali the magic words for, “Make my food spicy,” are “Mero khana piro banai dinus.” And I assure you there is nothing more magical than a plate of crunchy sandheko wai wai, a crunchy instant ramen chaat, ablaze with the fire of green chilies,fresh garlic, and red chili powder.

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