(By Joe Meny)
Asian Fusion’s good friend, and owner of Thakali Kitchen in Jackson Heights, Queens, Nabin Sherchan is funny, hard-working, genuine, and a very interesting person to get to know. We had the opportunity to talk with Nabin and get to know him better while recently having dinner at his restaurant.
When he first came to the United States from Nepal, Nabin worked at a Subway sandwich store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for nine years; he’s been running Mustang Thakhali Kitchen for five years. With the holidays upon us, we asked Nabin to describe the holidays in Nepal. “Nepal is home to many religions, primarily Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim. The people are honest, friendly, and brave. Hindus celebrate their holiday the first week in November when they dress in traditional garments and invite friends and family over for specially prepared home-cooked meals. Buddhists celebrate the holiday of Lhoser during the second/third week of February, also spending time with family and friends enjoying traditional home-cooked dishes – along with a little gambling”. In New York, Nepalese celebrations include Dhasai Thihar (Hindu) and Lhorer (Buddhist).
Every year, many people from Nepal move to the United States. Nabin explained that “…the Nepalese people have a population concentration in New York, Texas, and California. Most new Nepalese immigrants are students who are here to study information technology and engineering. Unfortunately, many drop out and move into a service industry such as retail or restaurants.”
What would be some reasons that we would want to visit Nepal? Nabin was quick to respond. “Our land is in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. It has a multi-cultural appeal, friendly people. It’s inexpensive. Once there, in just 30 minutes you can fly over the Himalayan Mountains and experience the beauty of a different land. The people in Mustang have many stories. They believe everything. There are spirits everywhere you look. It is a place of deep ravines, strong winds, and ancient cave homes. Mustang provides a true taste of Tibetan culture. The landscape of Mustang is a place of canyon vistas revolving around the enormous valley of Kali Gandaki. The eastern half of Mustang is a somewhat remote area that has some of the best preserved Tibetan Buddhist cave art in the world. The weather in Nepal is cold for 9 – 10 months, with August to October being the ideal months to visit.”
Since coming to the United States in July of 1998, Nabin has returned back home to his native Nepal only once. Yet, his love for his native land is very much evident in his daily life. When he’s not working at Thakali Kitchen, Nabin works within the Tibetan community, helping people who are looking for work, or helping a Nepalese family return a deceased family member back to Nepal. As is any business owner, Nabin’s days are very busy. But when he can, he enjoys doing a little cooking himself, “especially chicken or goat seasoned with garlic, chili, tomato, cumin powder, ginger and cilantro”. Sounds delicious! When asked what’s the secret to his success, Nabin was quick to respond, “My wife, the chef, my hard-working partner. She truly enjoys making delicious food.” And Thakali Kitchen serves that food seven days a week.
Mustang Thakali Kitchen
74-14 37th Ave. (at 75th St.)
Jackson Heights, NY 11372T 718-898-5088
Mon-Fri 11 am – 11pm