Having grown around in a neighborhood with significant population of Tibetans and Nepal’s largest Buddhist pilgrimage site – Syabhaley has been ubiquitous in my day to day food quirks. With the sprawl of Tibetan community (more than a 100 years now), there has been a natural onset of a good number of Tibetan eateries in and around Boudhanath Stupa. And to this day, new openings are coming up. With this onset, Syabhaley was among many other Tibetan imports that seem to assimilate in the Nepali food culture. With all the travelling and influence that Syabhaley took to get here, it has become a deviation of its own to differ from what Syabhaley in Tibet actually is. It is interesting to note and study what changes occurred though this entire cultural and geographically withering journey. However for now, we get to the basics of Sybahaley.
Above: Syabhaley at Tibet Kitchen,Boudha Circle. The only reason we would recommend the Syabhaley here is for the view and the ambience. But Tibet Kitchen offers a lot of better options to eat on that front
Syabhaley is a meat-filled deep fried pie or an Empanada sort of Tibetan snack. To us South Asians it would more over compare to a samosa but with meat and a different shape. I can recollect telling my mom that I just ate a ‘Tibetan samosa’ while she inquired me as I came back after hanging out with my street friends in the evening post school. Calling it samosa helped her instantly associate it as ‘that fried Tibetan snack that looks like flat samosa’. Although there is a noticeable difference between cooking methods and the taste characteristics of the two.
A good Syabhaley is characterized by being fluffy and crunchy. Never too full of the meat filling but always juicy.
Here is a Kathmandu Foodie’s guide to eating Syabhaley the ‘Syabhaley Way’. We recommend Syabhaley at New Mechung Restaurant, Boudha Main Street.