So, you’re going trekking in Nepal! That’s amazing. The mountains, the scenery, the people – it’s all incredible and you will have the time of your life.
Even though you are so excited and can’t wait for the adventure, I bet you are a little worried about the food … Maybe just a tad? Well, it’s your lucky day, because we’ve been there and created this handy guide on how to dissect a Nepalese teahouse menu! You’ll be a pro in no time.
How does it work?
Each night on your trek, you will be staying in local teahouses. Originally, teahouses were a place for hikers and mountain climbers to drink some tea (obviously), eat and sleep for free overnight (usually on the floor). Nowadays, it’s a bit more formalised and you book rooms or beds for a small charge with an expectation that you eat your meals at the teahouse. Most teahouses are family run, which means you get an amazing insight into the local culture.
So how does it all work? When you arrive at your teahouse each day, you’ll be given a key to your room and you can go dump all your things. Depending on your pace and how long you walk that day, you are usually there in the mid-afternoon so you’ll have a tea to relax. There are SO many options for tea – my personal favourite was Honey, Lemon and Ginger (which was sometimes spelt Zinger or Ginzer in the menu).
Usually, you put your order for dinner in by either 5.00pm or 6.00pm so the kitchen can prepare. You’ll let them know what time you want to eat – most people eat around 6.30pm – 7.30pm. There will be little notebooks that you can write down your order in with your room number on the top. You will also order your breakfast on the same page before you go to sleep and specify the time you want to eat in the morning.
I absolutely loved the options for breakfast! There was so much to choose from and I figured that since I’m here trekking and not just lying by the pool drinking cocktails, I was allowed to have some slightly unhealthier (but yummier) options!
My go-to was often porridge. Sometimes I’d have apple on top, sometimes just honey and cinnamon. It was easy to digest as well when I started to lose my appetite at higher altitudes.
My treat option was french toast! One day I even had it twice – once for breakfast and then again for second breakfast (yes, that’s a thing) in the mid-morning. If you trek to the Everest View Hotel (which is a beautiful view point of Everest a couple of hours walk from Namche Bazaar), make sure you have a coffee and french toast – it was literally one of the best things to ever happen to me.
You can also have eggs – fried or omelette are the most common. I also had toast with honey quite a few times.
Lunch and Dinner
Dal Bhat is the go-to meal in Nepal. Locals will often eat two or even three meals of Dal Bhat per day. It will differ from teahouse to teahouse but generally, it’s made up dal soup, rice and usually a small mix of veggies in a curry style sauce. You will usually have pappadums or roti on the side too. It’s delicious and the bonus is that you will likely be served seconds … and thirds. No one’s judging!
Other than Dal Bhat, there are SO many options again. Most of the menus are very carb heavy – lots of potatoes, soups, noodles, rice dishes, pasta and of course, momos!
Sometimes you’ll even come across pizza or amazing dishes like Lasagne on the menus! If you are trekking with a guide, they will usually always tell you what the best food options are at each teahouse as they all have their specialities! One day in Tengboche, we were recommended the Lasagne and it was incredible (see the pic!)
*Handy hint* If you are hiking to Everest Base Camp, it’s best to avoid meat. All meat is flown into Lukla and then carried by porters or yaks, so you can pretty much guarantee it’s been out of a refrigerated environment for some time.
The prices at the Teahouses are much cheaper than you are used to in Australia. The rule of thumb is it will get more expensive as you climb higher.
For breakfast, you are looking at around 300-450 rupees per meal ($3-$4 AUD). For lunch and dinner, it will cost you anywhere from 400-900 rupees per meal (depending on what it is). That’s about $5-$12 per meal. So if you are taking the most expensive option it would be about $28 a day for your food and then including any snacks you get for morning or afternoon tea. Tea is about 80-120 rupees. I budgeted about $35-40 AUD per day for food/drink and it worked out well.
So there you have it! Trekking through Nepal is an incredible experience, and staying in the local teahouses makes it that much better because you really get to live like the locals, as well as learn more about their customs and culture. So next time you’re in Nepal, make this your new mantra:
Don’t eat the meat, try the french toast, drink all the teas and have fun!
[mgl_instagram_user username=”inspiredadventures” cols=”6″ number=”6″]