“We harvest them ourselves from rivers and ponds,” says Chaudhary, who is from Sunsari. “We had a pond near our home, and brought handfuls of snails from the river and put them in. They multiply fast, and there is enough ghonghi to last a year.”
Snails are eaten as a hors d’oeuvre or with the main rice meal, and has a slightly slippery texture, tasting like creamy mushrooms. In general, Tharu cuisine is known to be very healthy as it includes fresh leafy greens which are boiled and not fried, very little oil is used.
Full of proteins, snails are said to heal wounds and broken bones faster. However, ghonghi is not well known outside the Tharu community and many Nepalis are not even aware that snails are edible.