… today a somewhat different post, about FOOD!
Last time in Nepal I discovered something super-yummy: “Laphing”, a cold noodle dish which is served all over the Bouddha neighbourhood as it is a traditional Tibetan specialty. I just loved this spicy culinary gem – nice and cold on a hot day, good and spicy (you can ask the cook to make it just a little or very hot, adjusting it to your own palate), really a wonderful treat which is not to be missed.
Please find below the “photo essay” a little article, reposted from the wonderful ECS Magazine, which gives some background information on this lovely dish.
Here’s the repost from ECS Magazine, titled: “Exploring Boudha’s true culinary gem”:
Boudha is the melting pot of everything that has come to represent Kathmandu – religion, culture, chaos and good food. Multi-colored prayer flags flutter from the buildings, guttural chants waft the air and the peace that suddenly envelops as you wander the bustling streets is almost surreal. Stray from the main thoroughfare and you will suddenly end up in an intricate network of gallis, and it is in these hidden alleyways that you will find delicious servings of the relatively unknown lhaphing.
Try Lhaphing for three main reasons. First for its origins. Lhaphing was originally a Sichuan cuisine called liang fen, that is universally enjoyed as delicious street food across the Tibetan plateau. Secondly for its culture. This Tibetan dish has travelled via northern Nepal with the many Tibetan émigrés who have made Boudha their home. Here, the taste has been kept alive by the migrants and now the cuisine is finally catching on with Kathmandu locals as well. Third and most importantly, try lhaphing for its scrumptious taste. A cold summer dish, extenuated by spices, this culinary delight is bound to twist your palate. All in a good way.
So what is lhaphing like? Lhaphing is a noodle dish seasoned with spices. The noodle is made from starches extracted either from potato or flour, and is cooked overnight. Once the extract has settled, they are cut and formed into noodles before being dipped in a sauce made from dried chilies and vinegar. A variety of spices including garlic, cloves, onions and coriander is thrown in to add to its flavor profile, along with a healthy dose of sesame oil.
This cold dish takes your taste buds by storm, and is a culinary experience that you will not find anywhere else in the valley. Couple that with the rich history and culture behind the food, and it makes a mandatory Kathmandu experience.
The taste aside, lhaphing also makes for a delicious social food. It is light and spicy and you don’t necessarily need an empty stomach to enjoy the dish. It is easy to prepare (thus quickly served) and easier to devour over gossiping and merry making with good company. On your next escapade to Boudha, make sure you hunt down a good lhaphing pasal. I bet it won’t be too difficult!
Chirag Bangdel’s most recent painting exhibition „Incantation“ began June 24 at Manny’s Eatery and Tapas Bar in Shaligram Complex, Jawalakhel.
Two series: “Geet Govinda” and “Seasons of Hope”
He is showing 35 paintings, organized along two themes: “Geet Govinda” and “Seasons of Hope”. “Geet Govinda” is celebrating love: in one exemplary painting Lord Krishna is playing his flute, surrounded by his Gopinis. These are joined by white swans which also seem enthralled by Krishna’s music. The paintings of the “Geet Govinda” series are set against plain colored backgrounds of strong black, blue, or orange color. In the “Season of Hope” series, Bangdel uses more subtle colors, creating somewhat calmer images, such as e.g. a man and a woman with a white conch shell or a woman sitting under a blooming tree with white flowers which are also falling from the tree. The personages depicted seem to be praying and hoping for a good outcome in their lives.
Art with the intention to heal
An article in the HIMALAYAN TIMES quotes the artist as saying: “I created my paintings after the earthquake and the blockade. Through my paintings I have tried to heal everyone and they are symbols of love and hope for me”. Chirag Bangdel adds: “My paintings are like a prayer based on spirituality, my kind of prayer or offering to expect peace and progress in the country. And for me art, at the end of the day, gives a perspective to my life where I realise that art is beyond creativity, beyond themes, and motifs. Art has made me who I am and it is my definition of life and lifestyle”.
Chirag Bangdel held an interesting speech at the opening, explaining in more detail the meaning behind his most recent creations. An excerpt of this speech is provided at the end of this post. Please also note that a number of his earlier works are available in Europe via Chautara Gallery near Amsterdam (please contact email@example.com for details).
Chirag Bangdel’s “Artist Statement” at the inauguration of the exposition:
Almost of all these paintings were created after the earthquake and after the infamous embargo or the nakabandi, if you please.
My paintings for sometime have been based on spiritual and if I may, religious perspectives. If you ask me why religious, that’s because the core of every religion is but love. Though over the years we have altered and added elements to our religions to safeguard and promote our… selfish needs. For me every religion is the same. As every religion is based on the fact that we have but one creator and that all beings are created the same. So we ask ourselves, what good are religions if we end up killing one another, the beings created by the same creator. For me all religions are the same. And I am as much a Hindu, as I am a Buddhist or a Christian.
Since 2003, I along with a lot of artists in the country have been depicting the violence that we have gone through, since the days of insurgency. That was important. This is the reason why artists are called avant gardes . I have been creating a series of installation art works called “Experience Red”. But having said all this, I have come to realize that there is so much violence around us, that if I wanted a little piece of mind today, I would listen to some music, or read a poem or look at a painting. There is so much violence that if we used it in our arts, I am afraid we will have nothing left.
Among other things, I want art to be a healer. A healer for me and for the audience.
I have also come to realize that whatever progress we make, it is only love that will save humanity at the end of the day. And that’s something that I want to depict in my paintings. One of my series that I have been working on for a long time is called “Geet Govinda”. As you may know, Geet Govinda is a book of poems by the 12 th century poet Jayadeva and it celebrates the love of Lord Krishna and Radha. However, I just borrow the title from the book. The paintings are created out of my own imaginations. The paintings are but the celebration of love.
The other series I have been working on is called “Season of Hope”. We go through a lot in life but we live on hope. I have used the conch or the saankha as a symbol of hope. The conch in the Astha Mangal represents the beautiful, deep, melodious, and pervasive sound of the dharma, which awakens people from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others. The conch is also blown to create a good vibration and when you start something auspicious.
My other artworks are based on our thoughts, elements and beliefs. I think we have these two broad schools of thought on visual art. One that says art has to be all universal and not even patriotic. And there is one school of thought that says, art needs to grow out of the surroundings and should carry the fragrance of the soil. I think I fall in the second category.
More about the artist here on our artist page!