Food in Nepal
Daal-bhaat-tarkaari is the national dish of Nepal. Spicy lentils are poured over boiling rice and eaten with tarkari, or spiced vegetables. This is served two times a day, at 10:00 and 19:00 or 20:00, in most Nepalese households and teahouses. If rice is limited, aata (cornmeal mush), barley, or sukkha roti (whole wheat ‘tortillas’) may be substituted. Dahi (yogurt) and a tiny serving of ultra-spicy fresh chutney or achaar may be served with the meal (pickle). This dish is traditionally eaten with the right hand. Freshwater fish is frequently accessible near lakes and rivers, and curried meat, goat or chicken, is an occasional treat. Beef is prohibited since Hindus consider animals to be holy, although it is nevertheless available for a premium price in certain high-end restaurants, owing to the fact that it is imported from India. Some people eat buffalo and yak, while others think they’re too cow-like. Some tribes consume pork, but upper-caste Hindus do not. Vegetarian groups and tribes exist in the United States, much as they do in India.
A variety of snacks may be offered in addition to the major morning and evening meals. Tea with milk and sugar is an excellent pick-me-up. Although maize may be cooked and partly popped, it is not popcorn. This is known as “kha-jaa,” which means “eat and run.” Rice may be steamed and crushed to make “chiura,” which is similar to raw oatmeal and can be eaten with yogurt, hot milk and sugar, or other flavors. Sweets made with sugar, milk, fried batter, sugar cane juice, and other ingredients can occasionally be obtained, as may fritters called “pakora” and turnovers called “samosa.” Make certain that such delights are either freshly prepared or fly-free. Otherwise, flies would settle on the human excrement that litters the streets, then on your meals, turning you into a walking medical textbook of gastrological disorders.
Different ethnic groups typically have their own specialities as a result of Nepali society’s multi-ethnic character, varying degrees of adherence to Hindu dietary standards, and the great variety of temperatures and micro-climates across the nation.
Newars, a Nepalese ethnic group that originated in the Kathmandu Valley, are food lovers who lament that eating is their demise, while Pahari Chhetri is believed to be downfall by sexual excess. The cuisine in the lush Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys typically includes a wider range of products, especially vegetables, than that of the hills. As a result, when compared to Nepal’s other indigenous regional cuisines, Newari food is very unique and varied, therefore keep an eye out for Newari eateries. Some even include cultural performances, making it a great opportunity to eat well while learning about Nepalese culture.
The Terai lowlands’ cuisine is almost identical to that of India’s neighboring regions. Tropical fruits produced locally are offered alongside subtropical and temperate temperate crops grown in the mountains. In addition to the usual bananas (‘kera’) and papayas (‘mewa’), jackfruit (‘katar’) is a local delicacy.
Some Tibetan foods, especially those from the Himalayan area, are somewhat spicy. Momos, a meat or vegetable-filled dumpling akin to Chinese pot-stickers, are one of the delicacies to search for. In the last several decades, momos have grown very popular. Momos are virtually ubiquitous in Kathmandu and other Nepalese cities, whether in a large hotel or a tiny eatery. Other delicacies include Tibetan Bread and Honey, a fluffy fried bread with a thick raw honey filling that’s perfect for breakfast. Potatoes are the Sherpa people’s main food in the Himalayan highlands. Potato pancakes are a popular local cuisine (rikikul). They’re best served hot off the griddle, with dzo (female yak) butter or cheese on top.
Pizza, Mexican, Thai and Chinese cuisine, and Middle-Eastern cuisine may all be found in Kathmandu’s, Pokhara’s, and Chitwan’s tourist areas. Eating local cuisine can save you money if you are on a budget.
Keep in mind that many small restaurants are not equipped to create a variety of meals; stick to one or two dishes if you don’t want to wait while the chef attempts to make one after another on a one-burner stove.
Eat solely Nepali rural goods as much as possible. It will assist them financially if you exclusively eat items made in the community.
Drinks in Nepal
- Raksi is a transparent beverage with an alcohol level comparable to tequila. It’s typically brewed “in house,” which gives it a unique flavor and intensity. This is by far the most affordable beverage in the nation. It is often given in tiny, ceramic cups (Salinchha in Newar language) that contain less than a shot on special occasions. It’s a great mixer for fruit juice or seltzer. It may be referred to as “Nepali wine” on menus.
- The hazy, mildly alcoholic drink jaand (Nepali) or chyaang (Tibetan) is often referred to as “Nepali beer.” Rice is the most common ingredient, especially in Newari culture. Even if it isn’t as strong as raksi, it will nonetheless have a significant impact. This is often served to visitors in Nepali households, diluted with water. Before consuming this beverage, ask visitors whether the water has been sterilized for your safety.
- Beer manufacturing is a developing business in Nepal. Some local beers are being exported, and beer quality has improved to meet international standards. In metropolitan regions, international brands are popular. Two well-known local brands are Everest and Gorkha.
- Cocktails are mostly available in the tourist regions of Kathmandu and Pokhara. A number of pubs, restaurants, and sports bars offer watered-down “two for one” beverages.
Although not as well-known globally as Indian brands, Nepal has a sizable organic tea sector. The majority of the plantations are in the east of the nation, and the kind of tea cultivated is quite similar to that grown in Darjeeling. Dhankuta, Illam, Jhapa, Terathhum, and Panchthar are well-known types (all named after their growing regions). Over 70% of Nepalese tea is exported, and the tea you see for sale in Thamel is just the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, while serving as token memories.
- Boiling milk with tea (with or without sugar) is known as milk tea.
- Chai is tea with milk added to it, as well as ginger and spices such as cardamom.
- Suja is a salty tea prepared with milk and butter that is exclusively found among Tibetan, Sherpa, and a few other Himalayan communities.
- Wild flowers from the Solu Khumbu area are used to make herbal drinks. These teas are usually exclusively offered in high-end restaurants or those owned by Sherpas from the Solu Khumbu in Kathmandu.
Water that you may drink without becoming sick is uncommon due to a lack of water treatment and sewage treatment facilities. It’s best to presume that water that hasn’t been chemically treated or boiled is dangerous to drink, which is one reason to stick to tea or bottled water. In many towns and villages, filtered, purified water may be available for purchase. Along the Annapurna Circuit, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) has set up a number of clean water stations where visitors may buy water at a reasonable price.