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Frequently Asked Questions – Eating Out in Nepal

by samyak
Frequently Asked Questions – Eating Out in Nepal

Frequently Asked Questions:  Eating Out in Nepal : Nepalese Cuisine

Drinking and Dining

What kind of Nepalese Food and other cuisine can I have during my trip to Nepal?

The staple Nepalese food consists of “daal, bhaat,tarkari” (lentil soup, curried vegetables with rice). Tarkari or curried vegetables can be bit spicy, hot and oily to people who are not used to eating spicy, hot and oily food. Nepalese food is a mixture of Indian cuisine, Tibetan and Chinese cuisine.  Nepalese momos are dumplings that are popular not only in Nepal but also very much in India.

Nepalese Food

Delicious Nepalese Food; momos

To avoid any stomach problems in Nepal, I would suggest that foreigners stick with their normal less spicy food, at least in the beginning.  Daal and Bhaat are not spicy, so go ahead and taste them. For tarkari, you should gradually try it in lesser amounts, until you get used to it. Another thing that one should be aware of while arriving in Nepal is Drinking Water. Drink only bottled mineral water unless you are sure that the water is boiled and filtered.

In Kathmandu and Pokhara, you can also find plenty of restaurants that offer International Cuisine such as Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Indian and so on. In Kathmandu, you should try Newari cuisine a sub variety of  Nepalese food. The Newars (original inhabitantsof Kathmandu Valley) have a very rich history of culinary art. Another food that you shouldn’t miss to eat in Nepal is “MOMO”. Momo can be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian types. For more on vegetarian momo, see below. Unless you are a veg person, I would recommend you to taste Non-veg Momos. You can find this food in any Nepalese restaurants and I would like you to discover this new food by your own during your visit to Nepal.

However, outside of the primary tourist hubs, you may not have much in terms of dietary choice. Trekkers will probably end up eating “daal, bhaat, tarkaari” (lentil soup, curried vegetables with rice) for every major meal.

Since Nepal is a Hindu Kingdom, beef is strictly prohibited among both the Hindus and Buddhist. Hence it is little bit difficult to find restaurants that offer beef.

For drinking, Nepal produces over half a dozen of larger and light beers. Dark beer is available. An amazing variety of other hard liquor such as rum, whiskey, gin, vodka etc. is also produced in Nepal.Imported liquors are available at exorbitant prices. You will also come across a few types of Nepalese home brewed alcohol called “raksi” or “ayla” along your trekking routes. Bottled water is available everywhere, and should be the only water you drink. Coke, Pepsi and other major international brand name sodas are also available.

How much do you think I should expect to spend on drinking and dining?

Eating out in Nepal is generally very reasonable. For about $3, you can buy a good dinner (excluding drinks) in a restaurant of the main tourist centers. A 750ml bottle of beer costs you about $1.75 in a restaurant, and $1.50 if you just buy it off a store. Other Nepalese made hard liquors are quite cheap. If you want an imported alcohol, however, expect to pay an exorbitant price. Sodas such as Coca-Cola, 7UP, Pepsi cost about $0.20 in shops. All these prices are for most of the road-accessible areas of the country. But as you move further into remote areas, the prices rise. For example if you are in Naamche Bazaar in the Everest region, the price can be as much as seven or eight times higher. For an average budget traveler, $10 will be enough for all your daily expenses on drinking and dining.

I am a vegetarian.

There is no problem in this. There are many vegetarian restuarants. And even if you drop into normal restuarants, you can easily get vegetarian food. Just for your information, Vegetarian in Nepal means non-consumption of both meat and egg. Milk and other animal product is allowed.

You can even find vegetarian momos that are delicious.  Here are some ingredients commonly used.

1 Cup Mushrooms
1 Cup Cabbage, grated
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 Cup Onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Soya sauce

You can make great momos with tofu stuffings.

The outer wrapping can be bought at any Chinese, Japanese or Korean grocery store.  Please send us an email at [email protected] if you want more details. We will be happy to help.

Do you think it is safe to eat freely in Nepal?

In general, yes. But, it’s always good to take sensible precautions in order to avoid any health problems.No matter how tempting –and it can get very tempting after a long trek– avoid drinking any other water than bottled water. If you have to drink non-bottled water, purify it with iodine or chlorine tablets (available readily in most drug stores in Kathmandu). Asking for bottled water in restaurants is always a best idea.

Do not eat roadside food that is exposed in the open air. Avoid buying and eating raw and unpeeled fruit and vegetables. Other than that, it is fine to have boiled, fried or properly packaged food items. Read the FAQ on Health and Insurance for details on what to do in case of health problems.