If you're not familiar with Nepalese cuisine, you're not alone. I certainly wasn't before I visited Himalayan Kitchen, which has been an SLC favorite for several years but recently moved to a new location at 360 S. State Street. Logically enough, I found that Nepalese cuisine is similar to Indian cuisine with some Chinese influences, and Himalayan Kitchen is a wonderful place to give it a try.
On my first visit to Himalayan Kitchen, my companion and I tried the popular lunch buffet, priced at $9.95. The buffet includes naan, basamati rice, a couple of chicken dishes, vegetable pakora (seasoned, battered and fried mixed vegetables), and a number of other vegetarian dishes, such as mattar mushroom (mushrooms, peas, onions, tomatoes and spices), saag paneer (creamy spinach with mild homemade cheese), and chana masala (garbanzo beans and onions in a spiced tomato sauce). I especially liked the saag paneer and chana masala. For dessert, there's rice pudding and mango pudding. I tried the rice pudding and found it fresh tasting but too sweet for my liking.
On my next visit to Himalayan Kitchen, I ordered off the menu and tried the vegetable samosas (excellent) and the Nepalese chicken chili--tender chunks of chicken breast, lightly floured and deep fried, then combined with stir-fried onions and bell peppers in a tangy, spicy, tomato-based sauce flavored with chili, garlic, cilantro and sesame. The chicken chili is amazing. Eat it once, and you'll dream about it for the rest of your life. Like most of the entrees at Himalayan Kitchen, the chicken chili comes with both basamati rice and naan.
Besides the chicken chili, the thing that sets Himalayan Kitchen apart from a standard Indian restaurant is its selection of Himalayan specialty dishes. These include momos (wonderful steamed dumplings), Tibetan vegetable and chicken noodle soups, and vegetable and chicken stir fries with noodles.
Be warned, the service at Himalayan Kitchen can be inconsistent. Some of the servers are wonderfully attentive, but if you're there for lunch and don't get the buffet, service may be slow. Himalayan Kitchen's old location on 400 South was small and somewhat dumpy, so their move to a larger, nicer location on State Street is a big improvement.
360 S. State St.
Salt Lake City, UT