For Western tourists who are used to a variety of food products, vegetables, fruits, dairy and meat, getting used to Nepalese food can be tough. Himalayan region has complex topography that on one hand makes it difficult to grow fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, the steep hills and lack of roads do not allow people to easily transport foods from the valley.
Most of the products that you can see at the weekly bazaar in Namche consist of instant, dehydrated foods which are easier to carry by pack animals or human porters (instant noodles, juices, tea, milk powder). Fruits are a very rare sight. An apple is a luxury.
The traditional Nepalese dish is Dhal Bhat. Local people eat it commonly twice a day and each family has its own variation of the dish. Main ingredients are plain rice, lentil soup and curry vegetables (mostly greens).
Locals also grow greens in their gardens, so frequently you get freshly picked ones on your plate.
Mustard green, cabbage, onion, coriander, celery, spinach, carrots and potatoes are some of the common vegetables.
If you are brave enough you can try some meat. Commonly served is chicken or yak. If you want to try a meat steak, do it in the Himalaya region where there is less pollution and colder temperatures to naturally preserve the meat from bacteria.
The hot drink of choice is masala tea with a variety of spices, black tea and milk. However, as already mentioned most of the time it is instant tea made from instant black tea and milk powder.
What I ate?
For breakfast I took oat porridge with apple and added some “upgrades” that we took from home such as chia seeds, dried fruits and walnuts. Believe me – you will be very happy to have taken these along!
If you are more into pastries for breakfast, try Tibetan bread.It is extremely delicious with honey. After two weeks of porridge I was ready to try something new.
Since I do not drink caffeine I was drinking cup of hot water in the morning. Nice alternative is ginger tea that is served with freshly grated ginger pieces in the cup.
Lunch & Dinner
My lunch as well as my dinner consisted mainly of dishes like fried potatoes with eggs, fried noodles with eggs or fried rice with eggs.
Since is all carbohydrates, I recommend something warmer and smoother for your stomach such as garlic soup (that is claimed to fight altitude sickness) or vegetable soup.
If you are craving some Western food
At Namche Bazaar there are a lot of cafes where you can grab a snack. My two top favs are:
German bakery Hermann Helmers (the newly opened Phakding location pictured above) where you can enjoy German wholegrain bread or pizza (my favourite is the vegetarian one). There is also free wifi and you can charge your phone for free.
Belgian Hot Waffles – another nice place to enjoy some European sweet goodies. You will easily find it by the familiar smell of freshly baked dough.
More pictures coming in Part 2.