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Look Who’s Eating: Five Questions with Ashak Chipalu of Bridges Nepali Cuisine | Food & Drink Features | Cincinnati

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Photo: Ashak Chipalu

Ashak (left) and Rose Chipalu

CityBeat is resurrecting our popular “Look Who’s Eating” column, where we ask local chefs and food industry insiders five questions, from where they’ve been dining to whether they prefer chili or goetta.

Ashak Chipalu runs Bridges Nepali Cuisine with his parents, Rose and Manoj. Rose and Manoj moved to Cincinnati in the wake of the earthquakes that devastated much of Nepal in 2015; Chipalu was already in Cincinnati studying medicine. Being reunited with his family prompted him to join his mother, who had been a restaurateur in Kathmandu, in the kitchen.

Bridges started out as a food tent at Findlay Market in 2015 and the family now runs two restaurants — the first in Northside, which opened in 2017, and the second in near the courthouse downtown, which opened in 2019.

Bridges is known for its authentic Nepali food and the restaurant’s name encourages diners to use food as a means of connecting to new cultures. The menu features build-your-own bowls, soups, samosas and more, highlighting uniquely spicy and smoky delicacies from the Newar tribe, the Kathmandu Valley’s earliest settlers. Bridges’ momo dumplings have become so popular you can now buy the savory morsels in the frozen section at Jungle Jim’s International Market.

click to enlarge Bridges Nepali Cuisine - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER

Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Bridges Nepali Cuisine

CityBeat: What’s the last great thing you ate in Cincinnati?

Ashak Chiaplu: Alabama Fish Bar. They had closed for a while for renovation and I was craving their delicious, crispy fish. Waited in line for about 30 minutes to get the best fish in the city. It was so delicious.

CB: What’s your go-to carry-out spot?

AC: I really don’t eat out much, but if I’m hungry and need something quick, I go to Raising Cane’s and have their chicken fingers. My mom is my personal chef and she makes me healthy, delicious meals almost every day, so when I eat out, I usually go for something out of my healthy food choices.

CB: Favorite place for a drink?

AC: I enjoy a chilled lychee bubble tea from Boba Cha. I also enjoyed a really good fresh mojito from Chef Jose Salazar’s Goose & Elder.

CB: Which is Cincinnati’s better culinary export: chili or goetta?

AC: Goetta, because I enjoy sausage and fell in love with this greasy, delicious breakfast as soon as I tried it. I am not very adventurous when it comes to food. There are many people scared of what I serve in my restaurant and I am scared to eat chili too (laughs).

CB: Best soup in Cincinnati?

AC: I love wonton soup and go to Shanghai on Elm to have a nice bowl of their wonton soup with their spicy chili sauce.

Bridges Nepali Cuisine is located at 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside and 133 E. Court St., Downtown. More info: bridgesnepalicuisine.com.

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