Our group of 13 listened to whatever Sahadev had to say. It was so interesting to hear his story about coming to America, getting a job through a connected person in a supermarket and working every night, 8pm to 8am for six months straight. Our meal was great, but none of this ambassador stuff is really about the food. It’s about the connection of cultures and people. Queens, NY is the greatest ground for all of this.
This was our 2nd Nepalese ambassador, and we will do as many as possible in the future – this is just too interesting and important an immigration into NYC to ignore. I was so happy to be in my position at the end of the night. Much more to come – we have a lot more to do.
Here’s Ambassador loyal Fanny Farkas with her rundown of our most recent Ambassador Program at Malingo with our Nepalese ambassador Sahadev Poutel:
Tuesday February 5th 11 of us met with Sahadev Poudel to sample his native food at Malingo, a recently opened Nepalese-Japanese restaurant. We were seated in a tatami room which made for an intimate evening where we got to meet old friends and make new ones.
Sahadev started by explaining that there are at least 70 tribes in Nepal with their own food customs. He comes from a Hindi family who are strict vegetarians; Sahadev has relaxed his dietary restrictions to include chicken and fish, still no beef though. We were most fortunate to have such a knowledgeable Ambassador and our menu was very copious.
The beverages of choice were Sake, Mango lassi, Salt tea with Milk and Butter a very traditional way of serving tea, that in this case was delicious. Sake was served instead of Raksi which is a stronger alcoholic drink frequently distilled at home from different grains.
We started with Vegetable Pakora a deep fried fritter, Chicken Lollipops made from the wing again deep-fried, Chicken Chili, and Aloo Sandero – a delicious cold spicy potato dish. The truly different dish was Bhatmas Chiura. This was full of surprises, soybeans cooked al dente, next to them flattened rice mixed with, what we all thought were scallions, green chili peppers very spicy but quite delicious.
On to the main courses, I think we all felt as we were guests at Sahadev’s house the way he described the customs of cooking and eating. We had Chicken Thali and learnt that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for seconds in case you finish one of the small plates. A thali is a meal made up of a selection of various dishes served on a metal tray. There are several variations on the theme, in this case there was dhal, a yellow lentil soup, mustard greens, yogurt, rice pudding and chicken. We also tried Dherda or Dhido which resembles poy but is made of corn flour and buckwheat flour poured into boiling water until a thick porridge is formed. This is considered food for the poor, the wealthy eat rice. We were also served the national dish of Nepal, Gundruk thali, which is made of fermented and dried vegetable leaves.
What is a Nepalese meal without Momos? – this country’s version of dumplings. Ours were filled with chicken and accompanied by several tasty sauces ranging from mild coriander to spicy hot chili.
And What is dinner without dessert? – impoverished to say the least. We ended our lovely evening with a delicious rice pudding and Gulab Jamun fried cheese balls in a perfumed sugar syrup.
Sahadev was not only a gracious host, he is very knowledgeable about food and explained how each course was made and talked in length about Nepalese food customs.
A great evening was had by all.
- Fanny Farkas
Malingo 43-16 Queens Boulevard