Nepalese Cuisine – In Brief

Posted Jan 21st, 2009 under Food & Accommodation, Travel Guide,

A casual greeting in Nepalese goes “Khana khanu bhayo?” (Have you taken your meal?). This gives us an idea about the important role that food plays in Nepalese daily life. The staple fare in Nepal is dal, bhat and tarkari (rice, lentils and curry). Dal is a soup made with lentils, while bhat is boiled rice and tarkari is vegetable curry. This is accompanied by achar or pickles and sometimes masu or meat curry. Though dishes vary in range and type according to the region, dal-bhat gets the vote for the national dish as every Nepali kitchen prepares it. But the ethnic cuisines are worth trying, and well, if you want to dip into Nepalese culture one needs to be more adventurous with ones taste buds.

The following text gives you a brief description on ‘what’s cooking’ in different Nepalese kitchens.

Kathmandu: Kathmandu is the home of Newars, a community famous for their elaborate feasts (bhoj). Momocha ( steamed or fried dumplings), choyila (buff cubes fried with spices and greens), palula (spicy buff with ginger sauce) ,kachila (a paté of minced raw buff, mixed with ginger and mustard oil), chatamari (a sort of pancake or pizza made with rice flour),woh or bara(fried lentil-flour patties), kwati (a soup made with several varieties of sprouted beans), musya palu (a dry mix of roasted soya beans and ginger) , bhuti (boiled soya beans with spices and herbs), pancha kol (a curry made with five vegetables) , alu – tamaa ( potato with bamboo shoot), all find a place in the Newari platter. Usually mustard oil is used for cooking and for seasoning, spices such as fenugreek , cumin, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger , bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chili, mustard seeds, etc. are used. Newars prepare some of the dishes only during festivals and certain time of the year. For instance, yomari a sticky rice cake stuffed with a mixture of jaggery and sesame seed is prepared during the Yomari Punhi, a full moon festival celebrated during December.

newari_food

[Newari Dish – popular cuisine in Kathmandu – consisting of Bara, Chewra, Choiyla, & Achar]

yomari

[Yomari ]

Jomsom & Mustang: Along the trekking trails of Jomsom and Mustang one may come across Thakkali tea- houses and lodges with neat and tidy kitchens that serves tasty Thakkali fare. It is believed no one can beat the Thakkalis when it comes to serving the best dal-bhat and tarkari. Like true connoisseurs, the Thakkalis pay close attention to the presentation and visual appeal while serving food. Thakkali cooks give a distinct flavour to their preparation by using unique Himalayan spices like Timur (a sort of pepper with a fiery taste , commonly used in marinades and achars) and Jimbu (Himalayan herb, used fresh or dry),

In the Hills: Among the highland Bhotias the staple is tsampa or ground roasted barley flour. It requires no cooking and is taken with tea and yak cheese. In Khumbu, the Sherpa homeland, they reap a good potato havest. Boiled potatoes are peeled and eaten with salt and pounded chilies and garlic. Rigi kur is a delicious crispy potato pancake served with a lump of yak butter.Thukpa, or noodle and vegetable and meat broth is also quite popular.

Saelroti: Saelroti, a spongy rice doughnut prepared from well-mixed fermented rice batter, is a food item that is uniquely Nepali in character. Important festivals like Dassein and Tihar are incomplete without the preparation of saelroti.

[Photo Credit: Reshma Shrestha]

All You Need to Know about Accommodation in Everest Base Camp Trek

Posted Feb 4th, 2020 under Blog, Food & Accommodation, Travel Guide,

We all know that Everest Base Camp Trek is an adventure that includes a fair amount of walking every day. You need to walk continuously for 6-8 hours. So, most of us are concerned about ideas and information related to walking or day time activity. But what about the nights? After a whole day of rambling through the rocky terrain and relishing the sparkling peaks, what you need the most is a bed where you can lay your head. After all an intrepid adventurer seeking some raw Himalayan adventure also needs a peaceful sleep at the end of the day. So, accommodation  in Everest Base Camp Trek is a crucial matter. And the region’s remoteness adds its importance more as accommodation can be a tricky affair in high altitudes. So, it’s a very sensible thing for every trekker to know about the accommodation facilities that are available during the Trek. So, here is all you need to know about accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek.

Accommodation in Everest Region - Hotel Everest Inn Lukla

Hotel Everest Inn Lukla 

Where to Stay?

During Everest Base Camp Trek, you will find numerous teahouses, lodges and hotels that provide accommodation facilities to make your well-earned sleep comfortable. You can also go for tented camps but it’s almost outdated as there are many accommodation providers along the trail, and camping trekking is environmentally not very friendly. So, most of the trekkers choose teahouses or lodges.

  • Teahouses are small outlets run by local people. They provide basic facilities like room with small beds and blankets; hot shower and dining services. The facilities are basically modest.
  • There are also some lodges with more luxurious amenities in major stopovers like Lukla, Phakding and Namche. They provide better services like comfortable beds with electric blankets, attached washroom, hot water showers and free WiFi services.
  • Hotels like Everest View Resort (one of the highest hotels in the world) and Yeti Mountain Home lodges (Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Thame and Kongde – the highest hotel) provide deluxe facilities. They have spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms, heated rooms, thermos and electric blankets etc.
Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - Hotel Everest View

Hotel Everest View (3880m)/Photo Courtesy: Hotel Everest View

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - A Tea House in Monjo

A Tea House in Monjo

Rooms

Basically, rooms in teahouses are small with twin beds. The bed has a mattress, bed sheet, pillow and blanket. Night are extra chilly, so always make sure to bring a sleeping bag as there is a very less chance of getting extra blanket especially during peak season. Rooms can have simple furniture like table and chairs, in some cases nothing at all. Dorm rooms are also available. In some teahouses, you can also have single rooms and en-suite rooms but in limited number. However luxury lodges and hotels, as expected of, have more spacious room, en suite bathrooms, electric blankets, heated rooms, luxury furniture etc.

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - Tea House Hotel Room in Everest Region

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - A twin room in a tea house twin room

Twin Room in a Tea House

Toilet and Shower

You can find western style toilets throughout the route but most of the time they are very basic. You have to arrange toilet paper by yourself and you are not supposed to flush it down the pan. You have to trash it in a bin placed next to it. As water gets frozen, toilet paper tends to block the drain. So, follow it with all honesty. Hot Shower facility is available but using it incurs an extra cost from $5 – $10 per shower. Shower room is generally a small common room with a hot water tap. In most cases, water is heated by solar power. You have to arrange toiletries and towel on your own. In deluxe room, you can also get attached shower facility. In luxury lodges and hotels, you will have 24 hour running hot shower facility.

Laundry

Hotels, lodges and some teahouses (up to Namche) provide laundry facility with extra charge depending on the number and type of clothes (not exceeding $1/2 per piece). Beyond Namche, you can ask for hot water and wash yourself. This also incurs extra cost (approximately $2/3 per bucket) as in high altitude fuel is really scarce. You also need to keep in mind that days are usually not very warm and sunlight hour is short. So, while washing make sure the day is really warm and the next day is acclimatization/rest day.  Beyond Dingboche (second last stopover before reaching Base Camp), normally people don’t think of washing clothes because of the freezing temperature.

 Dining

Every tea house, lodge and hotel has a big dining room with a big heater in the middle of the room. The heaters are fuelled with firewood (in lower elevation) and yak dung. Such rooms are communal rooms where you eat, relax and socialize. Some dining rooms also have a television set and a bookshelf with a small collection of books. Generally people tend to spend most of their evenings in dining room as such rooms are warm and lively with full of people. Dining menu of teahouses has limited options of continental and local foods. They have breakfast and lunch/dinner menu with simple choices of beverage.

A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region

A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region

interior of a tea house in Pheriche

Interior of a tea house in Pheriche

 Price

As with the other services, the price of accommodation in Everest Base Trek also depends on the altitude. As you go higher, the price also tends to be higher though the services tend to be more basic. The accommodation price is somewhere between $2 to $5 in teahouses. In teahouses, you are expected to eat where you stay. Otherwise, you may have to pay twice or thrice the price of the regular room price if you are not eating. As you won’t find fancy restaurants or many dining choices in most of the places, it’s sensible to eat where you stay. Though teahouses have budget price, the price in some luxury lodges and hotels can go as high as $200+ depending on the facilities. You can also find mid-range rooms from $20-$40. In places like Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Syangboche, Kongde and Thame, you have the options of mid-range and high range accommodation facility.

WiFi

Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You have to pay extra charge for this service about $5 (per stay) up to Namche though you can’t be really sure about signal strength. Beyond Namche, teahouses normally don’t have WiFi facility. A better option is to use Everest Link network which works throughout the region. It has better connectivity and faster speed. You can buy the data package at approximately $2 (10GB) and $3 (30 GB) valid for 30 days. You can also use Ncell and NTC network but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher.

Electricity

Everest region has the facility of electricity powered by hydro-electricity in lower elevation and solar energy in higher elevation. So, teahouses, lodges and hotels have electricity facility. But due to remoteness and altitude, people have to use it economically. In teahouses there won’t be charging plugs in rooms. Charging facility is available in dining room (common room) with extra charge ranging from $5 to $10 (depending on the devices like mobile phones, camera battery, power bank etc.) But, most of the time such facility is fully packed. So, it is sensible to bring a fully charged power bank. Rooms, washrooms, shower and corridors are well lit. So, you won’t have much problem during night time. However, it’s better to have a head lamp or torch handy. In some teahouses, you can also get electric blanket and electric heater for a charge of about $20 per night.

A Hotel in Gorak Shep

A Hotel in Gorak Shep

Food during Everest Base Camp Trek

Posted Jan 26th, 2020 under Blog, Food & Accommodation, Travel Guide,

Food is an extremely important part of any travelling and when it comes to high altitude adventure like Everest Base Camp Trek, its importance becomes even more prominent. Your level of performance and degree of fun during trek is highly dependent on what and how you eat.  So, it’s very crucial to know about the food varieties, their availability and “do’s & don’ts” of eating during Everest Base Camp Trek. Despite being far-off region, Everest Region is more comfortable compared to other trekking regions of Nepal when it comes to food specifics. You don’t have to stress much about food but still it’s not an easy affair like the luxury you enjoy back home. Better prepared than be surprised (or shocked?)! So, here are few things you need to know about food during your Everest Base Camp Trek.

Lunch at Thukla during Everest Base Camp Trek at Dughla

Lunch at Thukla during Everest Base Camp Trek

Where do you eat?

A Teahouse Dining Hall at Pheriche in Everest Region

A Teahouse Dining Hall at Pheriche in Everest Region

It’s very rare to find fancy outlets for food and drink during the trek. However, in some busier hubs like Lukla, Phakding, Namche, you can find nice restaurants, cozy pubs and cafes with wider range of choices. Otherwise, in most of the places, you eat at the tea houses that are strewn along the trail. They provide modest food and lodging facilities (with exception of some luxury lodges that provide upscale services). Every tea house has a big dining room, most of them with a big heater in the middle to keep you warm during evenings. Normally, such rooms are more than an eating area as it also serves as a place for gathering, socializing with fellow trekkers or passing time reading books and doing other leisurely stuffs. You are normally expected by the tea house owners (a kind of de facto thing) to have breakfast and dinner at the place where you sleep. In some cases, if you don’t dine at your lodge, you may also have to pay twice thrice or maybe ten times the normal price of the room for your stay. So, it’s better to eat where you spend the night …this way you will also save yourself from the hassle of haunting an eating place at the hour when all you need is a peaceful rest. Lunch is a more flexible affair. You have lunch somewhere in the mid-way, in one of the teahouses you come across.

What is available?

A Lunch Platter of bread, fries, fried chicken, boiled vegetables, fried mushroom, cheese balls and momo Everest Base Camp Trek

A lunch platter of bread, fries, fried chicken, boiled vegetables, fried mushroom, cheese balls and momo

As expected of any remote areas with very limited option of transportation, food menu in Everest region won’t come with extremely wide varieties of options. So, you need to compromise a bit with your palate. However, tea houses have a decent range of continental and local foods. Most of the teahouses have similar menus. In breakfast, you can find items of bread, eggs, porridge, cereals like muesli and corn flakes, pan cake, hash browns, fries, chapatis etc. Lunch and dinner menu is same, in which you find items of some vegetables (limited option), spaghetti, pizza, noodles, sandwich, soup, momo etc. Fruit is rare and you don’t find any seafood in the menu. Nepali staple diet “Daal Bhaat”, which is a platter of boiled rice, curry, lentil soup and pickles is available everywhere. You can also find simple choices of hot beverages that include different types of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot lemon honey etc. In some places, you can also find simple dessert menu that include apple pie, chocolate roll, custard and pudding.

Daal Bhaat, a platter of rice, curry and lentil soup Everest Base Camp Trek

Daal Bhaat, a staple diet of Nepali, is a platter of rice, curry, lentil soup, pickle etc. However, it can have certain modification as in the picture- it has an omelette and no pickle.

What is the price range?

As almost every food item is generally transported from Kathmandu via planes (or from lower valleys) and carried up higher by porters, yaks and zokyos, the prices tend to be much higher than in Kathmandu. With the increase in altitude, the price also increases. In average, you will spend about $8 for a meal including hot beverage. So, for 3 meals a day, it will total about $24. You can also get snacks like chips, energy bars and chocolates. Your expense on snacks depends on how frequent nibbler you are!

Drink Menu at World's Highest Bakery Cafe at Lobuche

Drink Menu at World’s Highest Bakery Cafe at Lobuche (Prices in Nepali Rupees)

Drink Menu at one of the teahouses in Deboche

Drink Menu at one of the teahouses in Deboche (Prices in Nepali Rupees)

Water

Keeping yourself hydrated is quite important during the trek. Bottled water is available throughout the trail, with price ranging from $1 to $4 per bottle (1 liter). If you are travelling through a travel agency, they will arrange filtered water for you. However, in Gorak Shep (the last stopover of Everest Base Camp Trek), you have to buy bottled water as tap water is not available due to water scarcity. It’s recommended that you carry chlorine pills or sterilizing device just in case you run out of filtered water or bottled water in the middle of your way.

Food Tips during Everest Base Camp Trek:

  • It’s better to eat soupy foods like noodles, soups, stew etc. as they are quite good in high altitude.
  • Normally, the standard meal number is three (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with snacking as per your wish. So, don’t over stuff yourself while eating as it might be difficult to walk with heavy stomach. You may also feel lethargic and experience stomach cramps in heavy stomach.
  • Instant coffee is easily available throughout the trail. However, it is recommended to reduce your caffeine intake. You can substitute coffee with hot drinks like tea, honey lemon, hot orange, hot mango etc.
  • Alcohol consumption can cause serious health issues at higher altitudes. So, you should refrain from taking alcoholic drinks. Nonetheless, you can always party at the end of your trek in Lukla. So, curve your craving till then!
  • Due to altitude, you are less likely to feel thirsty. However, it is necessary to drink plenty of water. You should ensure 3-4 liters of liquid intake per day including water, soup and tea.
  • As you need a lot of energy while trekking, you should take food that are rich in carbohydrates like porridge, rice, pasta etc. But you also need to take protein giving foods like eggs, lentils etc. and vitamin giving foods like available vegetables and fruits to make your diet balanced. You can also take food supplement if it is an essential part of your diet.
  • Though meat has rich nutritional value, consuming meat is not recommended during the trek. Slaughtering is not allowed in the region due to religious principles. So, all the meat is transported from Kathmandu or lower altitude to Lukla and then carried by zokyos or porters to its destination without proper refrigeration. During this process, the meat loses its freshness and becomes unhygienic.
  • To ensure freshness of foods, eat at busy teahouses as they are more likely to have food with shorter storage life.
  • Avoid junk food and oily food as much as possible as it becomes difficult to digest such foods.
  • Carry dry fruits, nuts, energy bars and chocolates. They will constantly refill you with energy during much needed time.
  • Personal hygiene is quite important. Make sure you wash your hands or use sanitizers as frequently as possible. Washing your hands may not be possible all the time, so keep a hand sanitizer always handy!

Happy Eating! Happy Walking!!

Homestay in Nepal- an authentic Nepalese living experience

Posted Dec 30th, 2016 under Food & Accommodation, Photo Essay,

 

Homestay in Nepal

Are you visiting Nepal for an experience? Then staying at a homestay in Nepal might just be what you are seeking for. The traditional way of accommodation has emerged as an exceptional attraction for travelers visiting to remote areas of Nepal since few years. These homestays do not only provide only a bed to sleep and meal to eat but also an authentic Nepalese living experience. They allow travelers to observe how people in Nepal spend their daily lifestyle and also to participate in it if interested too.  

Typically, a traveler is welcomed from the heart offering Tika or Khada and they will also be exhibiting their culture through a cultural program. The type of the program depends upon what kind of ethnic tribes are in the village.

Travelers sometimes may not be able to get their own private room unlike any other hotels in the city areas and have to share with others but this is not something they should be afraid of. Likewise, attached bathroom should not be expected. However, they will be very precious memories you will be taking back home.

 In the meal, one can taste delicious cuisines which are way more hygienic as you will be served each and everything produced from the locality. You will experience hospitality in its purest form where it is served from the heart.

Homestay in Nepal

One can also explore the village to see things that are unusual, leaving you amazed for those who live in a more urbanized area. Trying to communicate with locals may also bring surprises that you didn’t expect.

The motives of these accommodations are to let travelers familiarize with a complete village life environment to get lost in nature for a whole new experience.

Here we have some 30 Photographs from and around Phoolbari Homestay offering you a glimpse of how does a stay in Homestay look like:

Accommodations in Nepal with authentic Nepalese Hospitality

Posted Oct 25th, 2016 under Food & Accommodation,

Are you visiting Nepal for an experience? Well, how about staying in the following listed hotels? The hotels don’t just provide you accommodation to stay or meal to eat. They are here to make your stay in Nepal even more memorable with the experience they offer to travelers. These accommodations in Nepal will surely give you something extra to remember through an exceptional traditional experience.

Kathmandu Boutique Hotel

Lying in the heart of Thamel, Kathmandu Boutique hotel is set in the 19th-century ruler’s Rana Palace. The exterior of the palace has been kept untouched while interior changes are made to meet the guest’s luxury and comfort. The hotel offers the life experience of Bygone ERA in Nepalese style.

deluxe room of Kathmandu Boutique Hotel

Photo: Kathmandu Boutique Hotel

Crafted according to the tantric rituals, each thing you see once you enter the hotel’s compound symbolizes something. The 5 story heritage contains 12 lavish rooms; each in different sizes offering different views than other.

Maya Devi Village

Built back around 20 years ago in an authentic Gurung style, Maya Devi Village, the home of Parahawking Project in Nepal is a beautiful guest house and restaurant. It was renovated and restored retaining its traditional style to provide modern facilities and home comforts.  The only a couple of kilometers away from the Lakeside, Pokhara , the lodge can be an ideal place to stay for bird lovers.

Maya Devi Village

Photo: Maya Devi Village

Maya Devi Village consists of 5 traditional round stone and thatch huts along with its main house and restaurant. Each hut features two floors with an outdoor veranda, inside living area and attached bathroom on the ground floor while the second floor consists a king size bed offering the magnificent view of the lake. During your stay, you will experience a homely environment in peace and tranquility.

Shangri-La Boutique Hotel

With a unique blend of classical paintings in the center of tourist hub Thamel, Shangri-La Boutique Hotel situates in a calm and peaceful environment with the greenery of its own.  More than just an accommodation, Equipped with all modern facility, Shangri-La vows to give its best to provide their guest a traditional Nepalese experience during their stay with hospitality at the best.

Shangri-La Boutique Hotel

Photo: Shangri-La Boutique Hotel

Hotel Nepalaya

Hotel Nepalaya situates in the center of Thamel offering easy access to some traditional heritage of Kathmandu. The hotel with the balance of functionality in the organization for the excellence in their service aims to exceed their guest’s expectations. Hotel Nepalaya offers service with modern-day guests requirement with the blend of hospitality served from the heart.

Hotel Nepalaya

Photo: Hotel Nepalaya

Mystique Highland Resort

Just in the distance of 15km from Pokhara situates Mystique Highland Resort on atop of a hill offering a calm and peaceful environment with nature experience at its best. The hotel is especially ideal for groups and couples. The hotel provides a rooftop restaurant offering the magnificent view of mountains. The night view of the Pokhara valley from the hotel is exceptional. The views from the hotel are beautiful to be it either the valley or the cliffs or the Seti River Climb view. The hotel has its own orthodox organic tea garden from where you can buy your friend a souvenir back home.

Mystique Highland Resort

Photo: Mystique Highland Resort

Happy Explorers

Our itinerary was suitably flexible.

- |Julie & Malcolm Barr, UK Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

Community Service

Community Service

We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.

Join our community services