|Frequently Asked Questions: Travelling to Nepal
Drinking and Dining
The staple food of Nepalese people is "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. To avoid any stomach problems or diarrhoea in Nepal, I would suggest any foreigners to stick with their normal spiceless food. Daal and Bhaat are not spicy, so go ahead and taste them. For tarkari, I feel you should gradually try it in very less amount. 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: 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. 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, besides these 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.
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.
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.
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.