Monday, August 15, 2011

Nepali "Lunch"?

Last week I attended a meeting that began at 7:00. In the morning. I recognize that such an hour for a meeting is not de facto crazy, but for someone looking to escape the 9-to-5 grind, this is not exactly what I had in mind.

Nor was the "lunch" they served. I say "lunch" because the meeting agenda had it scheduled to begin at 9:30 in the morning. That the meeting ended sooner than anticipated and the meal began at 9 did not help the case for calling this lunch. Even using the term brunch at that hour is a stretch in my book. Call it what you want on your agenda, Nepal, but any meal consumed before 10 in the morning has to be breakfast.

But then this landed in front of me.

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On the right hand side of the plate are fried chapati bread and two jalebis. Jalebis are like bright orange South Asian funnel cakes. Deep-fried curlicue dough is soaked in syrup for a super-sweet treat. What it was doing on my plate at 9 in the morning was beyond me, but the fact that I might get away with characterizing it and the chapati as breakfast breads helped me to wrap my head (and mouth) around them without much hesitation.

On the left is a bag of cauliflower curry. Seeing curry in a bag is not new to me in Kathmandu. If you order a take away or "home pack" meal from a restaurant here, you will likely discover your liquid dish neatly tied up in a plastic baggie. Seeing cauliflower curry as a main course before noon is, however, something new.

Judging by the Nepalis around the table unquestioningly digging in, this unexpected meal was no catering or menu mix up. And judging by the relish with which they were attacking their curry bags, I could tell that they were just as hungry as I was and that this meal could not have been half bad.

Cauliflower curry, you just might be the world's next Corn Flakes.

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