Cake made of Himalayan nettle plant on display. Photo: Arpana Ale Magar
KATHMANDU, Feb 24: Sisnu (nettle) cake has become a major attraction of the Food Festival 2019, which kicked off at Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu on Friday.
The festival is organized by the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control.
Under the banner of Nettle Products of Nepal, entrepreneur Binti Gurung, who works in the field of archiving and promoting herbal products of Nepal, is selling sisnu cake at the festival. Her product has attracted large number of visitors in the first two days of the event.
“Especially, the youth are more excited and curious about sisnu cake,” she said.
"Although the herb sisnu has been known to have several health benefits, we are yet to explore its different uses," she added. "Nepali people are habituated only with curry or soup of sisnu. We just want to introduce the many items that can be made from sisnu."
"Sisnu cake is gradually gaining popularity in the international market, but it is still a new thing for Nepal," she added.
“There is a concept among Nepali people that sisnu is a plant consumed only for health reasons or by poor people. But we want to establish it in the market in different forms and tastes,” she said.
Pickles, muffin, and dumplings made of sisnu are other attractions of the festival.
Republica caught up with Sarita Baniya from Kathmandu, who had come to the stall with her husband and daughter to taste sisnu pickle. At first she could not believe pickle could be made out of sisnu, but she appreciated it when she tasted it.
“We never had it before. This is first time I came to know that we can make cake and momo from sisnu,” Baniya said.
Talking with Republica, Gurung expressed her gratitude to visitors coming to her stall. "We are happy to deliver our products to the people,” she added.
At the festival, visitors can taste typical food items of many different communities of Nepal, such as Newars, Tamangs and Tharus. There are 75 stalls in the festival.
According to the department, about 10,000 people visited the festival on Friday and 25,000 on Saturday. “The festival is going smoothly as we can see large number of visitors. The best part of this year's festival is that we have many unique food items,” said Sanjeev Kumar Karna, director general of the department.
Till Saturday, the total turnover has been Rs 2.5 million, according to Karna. The event will continue till Sunday.