For most of us Nepalis, dumplings are everything. We don’t need an occasion to devour momos from our favorite restaurant. It’s the food for any day and every day. Moreover, we all already know that dumplings don’t get to the stomach, they go to the heart. To cash in on the dumpling-mania that has been going on forever in Nepal, restaurants have begun to serve different types and kinds of dumplings, taking inspiration from all over the world.
In the case of Da-pow, for over a year, they have been trying to introduce the taste of Darjeeling to the residents of Kathmandu. Owners Dipen Pradhan, Raymon Das Shrestha, and Shrawan B Mishra claim that their sheer love for food they make is what has made this restaurant so popular among people. Located in Gairidhara in Kathmandu, Da-pow’s special focus in on their dumplings – especially the “Da-pow” which is bigger than an average-sized momo and is packed with flavors unique to their place of origin.
The restaurant has a rustic and industrial theme. The wooden crates and wooden tables and chairs give the place an informal feel where one can relax and chill. Da-pow has both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements where one can lunch and dine. The outdoor space is an airy garden mostly left in its natural glory and has minimalistic decor. The inside, however, is a comic-junkies’ heaven. The walls are covered with old comic posters and there is also a shelf filled with comic books that one can read while waiting for their food to be served.
Thanks to its soothing ambience and unique choice of food, Da-pow has become a favorite among people of all ages. The owners hope to open another outlet of Da-pow at a different location to reach as many customers as possible in the future. For now, we recommend you definitely drop by the restaurant the next time you are in the area.
Gairidhara Sadak, Kathmandu
Opening hours : 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Extras : Service charge
Parking : Available
Delivery : Through Bhojdeals and Foodmandu
Price: Rs 185 | 4.5 stars
This dish doesn’t disappoint. Da-pow heavily resembles the Chinese Cha Siu Bao, which is large-sized pork-filled buns. However, in Da-pow, you can get them with pork, chicken and vegetable filling (the one photographed here is chicken). Served in a bamboo steamer with sauces and soup similar to that of the dumpling, the Da-pows are as big as one’s fist and so, I recommend you take a friend along for this one. What surprised me the most was how well the bun was cooked and managed to hold together, all the while remaining soft and delicious. The filling inside was fantastic – it was juicy, tangy and chewy at the same time.
Pickled Pig’s Feet
Price: Rs 278 | 3.5 stars
Believe it or not, pickled feet are a delicacy all over Asia. However, I would call this dish a “curried” pig’s feet rather than pickled. The sauce felt very familiar, it was tomato-based and made with local spices and herbs. The meat (which was mostly just fat and skin) in the pig’s feet was very supple and it flaked right off the bone. It tasted like butter. However, just eating the meat will not do justice to the dish, one has to be brave enough to suck the juices right out of the bones. So, I’d say, this too is an acquired taste. Served with beaten rice, the dish pays homage to the almost obsolete local Nepali cuisine.
Price: Rs 138 | 3.5 stars
The whole idea of Da-pow’s warm and homey food shines in the Aloo Dum. The gravy looked extremely appetizing thanks to the bright orange color of the potatoes. They looked thoroughly coated with the sauce, which was a blend of typical herbs and spices used in most Nepali households, and was topped with coriander. It tasted like one’s typical Aloo Dum – the tomato-based sauce and spices on the outside gave way to the inner softness of the potatoes. However, even though the color made it look spicy and tangy, the dish, overall, was surprisingly subtle and easy on the palate. All in all, this is a great starter to get ready for a full meal.
Price: Rs 250 | 4 stars
Served on a bamboo steamer, the dish gets an A for presentation. The dumplings were also complemented by four different types of sauces – the regular tomato sauce, soy and vinegar sauce, chili sauce and Da-pow special “churpi” sauce (which I will admit is an acquired taste) and a wonderful broth soup. The filling was well-flavored, juicy and stood out on its own without the help of the sauces. However, the sauces gave the dumplings an extra edge. The portions were big and generous and worth the money. It’s great to order on a rainy day, as both the soup and dumplings will leave you warm and full.