Nepali Times
Life Times
Stuff Nepali People Like - I


There are many ways of defining a nation, and Nepal's had a harder time than most in recent times. The sheer diversity of Nepali identities, with the suffocating aura of the Shah crown now dissipated, looks to burst the country at the seams. Still, it's nice to know there are certain things that unite us still, high and low. It's a list, and by its very nature will be incomplete and debatable. Which is why Nepali Kukur is inviting its readers to dig deep into their collective memories and ask, "What do Nepali people like?" Momos to mountains, hating India, loving India, speechifying, singing and spitting, let the series begin.
Nepali Kukur


What is it about momos that transfixes Nepalis home and abroad? There are hundreds of types of dim sum, but it's the steamed buff dumpling, with few variations, that gets our tongues into a twist. What's standard snack fare in urbania across Nepal is cultural glue in the momo parties of the diaspora.

Hawking and spitting

"Khaaaak-thook!" How many times do you hear this a day? Perhaps the most disgusting of our physical tics, hawking and spitting may have been tolerable in the open spaces of our hills and valleys and plains but in the city streets, it should go the same way as blowing-nose-into-fingers-and-wiping-on-lamp-post seems to be going out of fashion. Sometimes it seems we hawk and spit as a sort of a segue between activities, in much the same way Americans say 'like' to link sentences. The argument that it's more hygienic to let it all out rather than use a piece of tissue and carry it around doesn't really hold as far as those around you are concerned.

Telling folks they've gained/lost weight

It's not because Nepalis are rude that they greet you with: 'Amai, ke bhako? Kasto motaeko/dublaeko!' Really, they are just very concerned about your health. Whether you are bursting or starving in their opinion, however, they will insist on

Forcing you to eat
It doesn't matter if you've just had lunch. Your aunt will still force two rasbaris, a bowl of yoghurt and a cup of tea on you. If you try to resist, she'll pull out some reference in the scriptures to the sin that will visit her if you leave empty-stomached. In the meantime, if you're not otherwise engaged, everyone present will

Exhort you to get married

Apparently there is a season in life for everyone, vegetable-stylee, to be picked off the shelves. Woe befall those who do not heed the call of Father Time. For anyone who knows one of The Unheeding, however distantly, it is a duty most solemn to impress, ad nauseam, how important it is that you yoke yourself to another, bullock-stylee, to plough the merry fields of life.

Hating India, loving India

Up in the hills, we love to blame India for everything that's wrong with the politics and the economy. But most of us subsist on the petri dish of Indian culture, from the Mahabharat to Bollywood.

Calling white people racist

It's probably in the same vein that we like to blame white people for all the rest that's wrong in the world. They're arrogant, self-centred and racist, confirm the more hemmed-in Nepali diaspora, even as they aspire to be just like their hosts. What could be more racist?

Stuff Nepali People Like will be an ongoing series. Comment is free at

The lake that was once Kathmandu
Take me to the river

1. jhankri
This type of column has been done to death already, and many others for various nationalities, if you want to make it interesting you have dig up some stuff that's not clich�. 

2. - nepali forum
"... is cultural glue in the momo parties of the diaspora.". Love that one!  Wonder why Momo is popular among the Neplis living abroad...

3. Sanjit
Please scrap this article. its poorly written, poorly argued and makes very very vauge and brief generalizations. Looks like it has been pulled out of a "Teen Vogue" instead of an esteemed publication like this. Considering it started out with Nationalism, it is a ridiculous excuse for an article. I am sure there are better ways to fill up space. Gets some ads instead or something.

4. Sam

Oh let's not forget the symbolic jerking of the neck from left to right or right to left. One of the prominent part of our culture is a mutual care of neighbors. The morning in the neighborhood always begins with, Chya Khayo? After that, every other encounter that you have with the neighbor that you have already seen follows with swinging of the neck from one side to another as if to imply, 'You're good?' Then the respondent's response with a similar swing implying, 'yes, you good too?' Love it!

5. Chandra Gurung
Agree with Jhankri. It is done already a lot of times and it is not even fresh. Make it more interesting to merit a publication of Nepali Time's quality, dude.

6. kabulekanchho

I have a problem with the last para where writer generalizes Nepali diaspora as white hating bunch of "brown (?)"racists. I think this is unfair. There could be some who have imported this view from some of their southern (south of the old country!) neighbors, but most of the Nepali diaspora does not give a damn about one's skin color. There are some who live on staple of Bollywood potboilers and Hindi TV dramas, there are still significant others who have no desires to have their cable connected to Indian channels. So the diaspora population is divided as it is in Nepal!

7. viking
yes means no, no means yes, 90% of time answear do not mean what is said...
blame all problems on not take own responcibility...
feel pity and sorry...masters of complaining....but can�t do anything real.


co-operate only if see own benefit...

8. Davis
This is the new trend is unfortunate and i think it has it's roots in the caste system. It goes like this,

foreigner, "You know your roads are really dangerous you should fix them.."

- rich gora, what do you know, give me the money and i will fix it or smoke it...

foreigner,"Why do tell these lies to me...?"
- That's our culture you must be racist.

foreigner,"Could you make some food that is not spice or oily?"
- You don't like our food- That's our culture you must be racist.
foreigner" i really like nepal i think i'll stay a few months."
-He must be a bum in his country, why would he stay here?
-foreigner' I'm going to help you with a new business but i expect you to work hard.."
- You don't understand our culture, you must be racist.
foreigner,'please stop burning plastic every where.."
- you don't understand our culture.....
foreigner,'i don't want a guide or porter i like to trek on my own.."
- you don't want to help us , why do you come here?

9. Meena
I find very hard to see people spitting every where. One day I was  in the airport waiting my friend arriving. But I find very very unpleasent to see the policemen were spitting eveywhere. I do not know how we going to change Nepal and Nepali people attitutues.

10. chandra Gurung
When I was in China, I saw them spitting everywhere, and then using their shoes to "crush" the spit. When I was in Italy, I saw them smoking indescriminately in trainstation and spitting. When I was in appalachian region of Virginia, I also saw them spitting randomly. 

Two hundred years ago, Europeans were dirty. Japanese were the cleanest. So, people change. We too change. Twenty years ago, everyone in my village used to go to river to relieve themselves. Today everybody has toilet in their home.

So despair not. we all change. It takes time, but we all acquire better habit over time. 

11. Bhim Pande'

I thk we all lived around the world known by there nationality.........

so every where there is good and bad things.........

then why anybody blame to so and so nationality are good and highlited bad.......


12. Daittya
Oh, the pain of defining , the irony in generalisation of the whole demography. Yet in one's subconscious it seems to be so right like kukur is a piercing eye, but how miss the nature...

-break the law ( नेपालको कानुन दैव जानुन)
-blame it on others (after all, सतीले सरापेको देश)

And, I feel so wrong to say so, it feels its wrong (see I used repetition).  but is it?

A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

13. neo
"Calling white people racist" - thats a new one... White people are worshiped like gods in Nepal (or for any second/third world country, including India) for they are the harbingers of the foreign currencies that weigh more than NRs... hmmm

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)