Beyond the standard sekuwa, Bajeko Sekuwa offers a cornucopia of grilled meats, such as hyakula, spine-adjacent bits of goat rib meat striated with chewy, crunchy layers of fat and cartilage. Kitchens dry their own meat for sukuti, a dense, exceptionally savory goat jerky. And they do choila with duck, grilling the flesh to make it more absorbent of other flavors, then marinating it in yogurt and spices to serve cold -- like a smokier chicken salad. This is in addition to other Nepali classics like goat bone soup, steamed wild boar belly, and all sorts of offal. The Sunnyside location isn’t carrying the pan-fried ostrich or spiced lungs (yet, anyway), but you can sure get gizzards stir-fried with fragrant chiles, plus all the crispy goat head you like. Executive chef Rayamajhhi considers the Queens flagship a testing grounds for the rest of the US: “We’ll be revising the menu in six months, seeing what works.”
Rayamajhhi isn’t sure yet how future locations will adapt their menus to local markets, nor how they’ll spread the word about Nepali barbecue in particular. The core Nepali audience is sure to get it, but it’s a tall order to sell the Texas brisket crowd on spiced goat kebabs. Instead, Bajeko Sekuwa franchises may find themselves acting as ambassadors for Nepali cuisine to a nation still relatively unfamiliar with Nepal’s foodways.
Even in dense communities around the country, genuine Nepali restaurants are rare. In order to attract enough business to survive, Rayamajhhi explains, most Nepali-owned restaurants have to focus on tried-and-true Indian restaurant classics like tikka masala and vindaloo. “It’s hard for Nepalis to get investment,” he goes on. “We’re lucky to have the support of a large brand, and we’re confident because of the community here.”