Spice of Nepal brings flavours of Kathmandu to Newton

Not only are there many dishes commonly found on Indian restaurant menus, it also offers heaping servings of Nepali Chinese cuisine

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      Newton is at the centre of more than its share of negative stories in the mainstream media.

      But this area of Surrey also has the most ethnically diverse population south of the Fraser River. And that means there's a bounty of affordable international cuisines available that sometimes escape the attention of urban food writers.

      This weekend, I decided to drop by Spice of Nepal (13486 72 Avenue). It's in the heart of Newton, just west of King George Highway, and it's been owned by businessman Bishnu Paudel since 2018.

      Coincidentally, he shares the same name as Nepal's finance minister, a long-time senior Communist Party official in that country.

      I've eaten a lot of Indian food over the years, but only tried Nepali cuisine at Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen in Vancouver's West End and the now-closed Café Kathmandu on Commercial Drive.

      It's safe to say Nepali cuisine is like a lighter version of Indian food. However, this multi-ethnic country of 30 million also features influences of neighbouring Tibet (a.k.a. the Tibet Autonomous Region) and China.

      That's clear on the Spice of Nepal menu, which includes many varieties of handmade momo. These are steam-filled dumplings commonly served in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and northern and northeastern Indian states.

      Another staple of Nepal, Dal Bhat (rice and lentil), is served in different ways. In addition, Spice of Nepal offers many meals commonly found on northern Indian restaurant menus.

      For something different, I decided to try two Nepali Chinese dishes—a heaping serving of Vegetarian Hakka Noodles and Chicken Manchurian.

      The tasty noodles came on a large platter, but it was a little short on green veggies, 

      The Chicken Manchurian was delicious with a tingly, tangy sting of green chili, ginger, and garlic. It's suitable for those who like things spicy.

      For an appetizer, I ordered honey garlic potato. This dish arrived as french fries, doused in a sticky honey garlic sauce. Most of them disappeared by the time the main courses arrived.

      Honey garlic potato is an affordable appetizer.

      The interior isn't fancy, but it did include references to Nepali culture and it was spotlessly clean. The service was efficient and friendly.

      Will I be returning to Newton in the near future? Possibly not.

      But when I eventually make it out there again, I won't hesitate to drop by Spice of Nepal for a second meal.

      Maybe on that occasion, I'll order some momos.