THE flavors of Nepal will surely tickle your taste buds as the newest addition to food palate of the city, serving authentic Nepali cuisine has opened.
Half and Half is a partnership between Juilan and Andria Shakya and longtime friend Bernie Figer, opening their doors to the public last month with the aim to bring authentic Nepalese and Himalayan food to the mountain city.
All spices from the pure Himalayan salt to the cadmium and basmati rice is taken from the markets of Nepal sent to the city to assure an authenticity that make Half and Half, as the only Nepalese restaurant in the Cordillera.
Andria explains the name of the restaurant has a double meaning, pertaining to traditional hand gesture in Nepal when the words "Namaste" is uttered, putting two hands together in greeting “So two hands or two halves make a whole.”
Half and Half is located at Outlook Drive and houses a large dining area and basement pub serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee.
The restaurant aside from the food is decorated with odds and ends of authentic stones, wood art, metal, gold and copper accessories with masks, metal crafts including Tibetan and Nepalese traditional crafts, prayer wheels and carvings all from the collection of Namaste, a local shop where Nepalese treasures can be found.
Andria said the meaning of the moniker is likewise meant to denote the fusion of cuisine they want to eventually serve, which will be a mix of Filipino, American, Chinese, Himalayan and Nepalese.
“We would want to serve a little of every culture. To give our customers a wholesome experience. Half of everything we can give to make a whole,” said Andria.
Nepalese cuisine is branded to be spice rich, blending flavors to make your ordinary chicken, beef, pork and vegetable base stand out, with the proper mix of spices.
Best seller is the Nepali favorite steamed momo, a stuffed dumpling filled with grinded chicken or pork meat, one of the most popular dishes in Nepal. This dish is an example of Tibetan influence in Nepali cuisine.
Another favorite is the Dhal Makhani, a lentil dish cooked in butter [makhan]. The dish literally means to cook lentils in rich butter for hours to yield a creamy, thick and best tasting soup like dish best paired with rice or roti [bread].
The Half and Half Samosa is taken from the well-known Nepal appetizer made from curried potato and peas filled into a pastry dough deep fried until crispy dipped in a green-spicy chutney usually served alongside the somasa.
The star of the show is the Chicken biriyani, a one pot meal made out of basmati rice with marinated chicken full of flavors and spices and herbs.
In Nepal, it is usually made with rice, chicken, green beans, and carrots with an added range of spices such as cardamom, bay leaves, coriander, ginger, onions, chili and garlic.
The dishes are made by the 23–year-old self-taught Nepalese chef Nabin Lama, who holds a treasure trove of passed on recipes from Nepal which he is sharing in Half and Half and now to the entire city.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on September 01, 2017.
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