KATHMANDU: Sekuwa — a local name for skewered barbecued meat — is a traditional Nepali dish. And ‘Bajeko Sekuwa’ is the first name that comes to mind when one thinks about enjoying mouth-watering sekuwas in the capital.
Zoe Aryan, manager of Bajeko Sekuwa at Battisputali, says, “The fact that the taste of Bajeko Sekuwa has not altered or deteriorated in the 33 years since its establishment has led to its popularity.”
According to him, Bajeko Sekuwa started as a small shop with just a few stools as furniture in front of the Tribhuvan International Airport. Dinanath Bhandary, the proprietor, prepared all the meat items himself while hungry patrons waited patiently for a plateful of sekuwa.
Recalling the yesteryears, Aryan says, “It was a typical family-owned business, where Bhandary prepared the dishes, his son served the customers and his wife collected the money.” According to him, the patrons who frequented the joint used to call Bhandary ‘Bajey’ (grand-
father in Nepali), which later on became the brand name, with a cartoon picture depicting ‘Bajey’ himself being created three years ago.
Aryan says, “Since the homemade natural herbs, spices and other necessary ingredients are mixed and put together by the proprietor himself, no one except him knows the recipe even today.” The marinated meat is reportedly distributed from Bajeko Sekuwa at Sin-amangal to other branches in the capital every morning.
With seating capacity of 300, ample parking space and smoking and non smoking zones, the Bajeko Sekuwa at Battisputali also offers Nepali, Chinese and continental dishes. However, as the name suggests, its specialty is sekuwa. Plain, sandheko, chhaalako, jhaneko, hyakula, fish, mutton, chicken, kalejo, chusta and vegetable are the types of sekuwas available at Bajeko Sekuwa.
While the most expensive is fish, which is priced at Rs 165, chhaalako sekuwa is the most affordable and is priced at Rs 75. Mutton sekuwa, however, is the all time favourite of their patrons, which is available for Rs 135.
Meanwhile, the restaurant also has unique offerings of fish and vegetable sekuwas, which cannot be found in other restaurants.
Claiming that at least 90 per cent of Kathmanduites are well-aware of and familiar with the brand, Aryan boasts, “Some 100 to 120 customers come to try the available varieties of sekuwas at Battisputali alone, although the number of customers varies as per the seating capacity in each of the Bajeko Sekuwa branches.”
Clarifying about the research done by Kathmandu University students on Bajeko Sekuwa branches in Anamnagar and
Battisputali about the number of customers visiting the restaurant, he adds, “The data was astounding, as it showed that around 600,000 patrons visited both the branches within five to six months.” Additionally, the data included is not only of the daily customers visiting the place, but also people who organise parties at the venue, et cetera.
The restaurant asserts that its customers are from various walks of life — ranging from business and corporates to school children and families. Elaborating on the marketing strategy, Aryan says, “Since Bajeko Sekuwa is an established brand, we have not felt the need to advertise it. Our latest strategy to attract more customers is by upgrading the place so that it has a new look and better ambience.”
The first outlet of Bajeko Sekuwa was opened in Sinamangal. Over the years, it has extended its branches to Battisputali, Nayabazar, Anamnagar, Sorhakhutte, and Gairidhara. Bajeko Sekuwa now has plans to open other branches in Lalitpur, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Dharan, among other places in the near future.