Had a Nepali lunch at Mandala Restaurant in Market Square (Medan Pasar) late last year with a Bengali friend. It has a smallish dining room, filled with mainly Nepali clientele, on the 1st floor of the an old pre-World War I shophouse (Note: Malaysia uses the British system, whereby we have a ground floor, with the first floor upstairs, whereas Singapore uses the American system with the first floor being on ground level, and the 2nd floor is right above it).
We chose a table by the window, overlooking Market Square (Medan Pasar) with its squat Victorian clock tower.
I’d had good Nepali meals at nearby Khukri Restaurant, but this time, my Bengali friend who asked me out wanted me to try her favourite Nepali spot, so here we are instead.
We started off with Chhoila - a rather spicy grilled meat dish, traditionally cooked using buffalo meat but made here using mutton. It’s traditionally served with crisp, cornflake-like pulverized rice flakes called chiura.
The meat was chewier than I’d have liked, but I reckon its toothsome texture - wonder what the original buffalo version would be like - was one of its characteristics. Gave our jaws quite a workout, this one.
The Steamed Momo dumplings - we opted for the one with chicken meat filling, were absolutely delicious, although I still preferred the ones from Khukri Restaurant.
For comparison’s sake - the momos I’d always gone to Khukri for. They have a firmer appearance, and a more complex, savoury-sweet flavour compared to Mandala’s.
Chicken Sadeko - this is a rather refreshing chicken salad: grilled/pan-fried chicken tossed with raw minced ginger and garlic, slices of raw purple onions, scallions, coriander leaf and peanuts, and with a fenugreek-turmeric-mustard oil dressing, perfect with a squeeze of lime.
We ordered a some steamed rice, which came with batons of raw cucumbers and carrots, pickled vegetables, a dal/yellow lentil curry, a small demitasse of yoghurt, and a spicy red curry sauce (I don’t know what this is, as it wasn’t described anywhere on the menu, and I’d neglected to ask our waitress).
We finished off with some milky chai tea. It was a good meal - I think Khukri has better food, but Mandala has a quieter, more pleasant ambience (Khukri really packed the crowds in because of its popularity among the Nepali expat community).
Mandala Nepali Restaurant
18, First Floor, Jalan Medan Pasar
50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 20221087
Operating hours: 8am to 8.30pm daily