I was born in Russia, and when I first arrived in Nepal, I could not see the temples and mountains that seemed to take over the minds of all travelers, and no, I was not going to eat. I was actually pulled here. You see, the first time I was arrested in Nepal, I was six years old, so the general tourist attractions were not yet interesting to me. In fact, Nepal did not like me. My mother and her boyfriend at the time were going on holiday to Nepal and were visiting my aunt (my mother’s sister) who was married to a Nepali student who was studying in Russia at the time. Even though I have the memory of Nepal that I saw in the 80s, it never left me with a never-ending vision like FOOD; for the little I remember, for the most part, had nothing to do with the Himalayan mountains and the Pagodas. My mother and I later moved to the US and I did not get a real taste of Nepali food, other than the occasional taste of achhar (bitter Nepali pickle) or instead of “different” foods instead of Indians, until I was 24 when the food in Nepal, it also delighted my memories and tastes.
When I arrived in Nepal, this time in 2007, little had changed. The look of my family has always been, that now there are more cars, quotes were very crowded, but the essence of Nepal has not changed. I liked it, but what attracted me the most were the guests. Nepal is more popular today, than it was then, and the thriving tourism industry, sadly, in an attempt to embrace the Western tourist’s fear of trying anything new has obscured Nepal’s true taste by making it much easier to avoid. from Nepali cuisine.
Unlike thousands of others who now come to Nepal to experience the trek to the Himalayas, I try to do the same. Admittedly, the place I was traveling to, the Annapurna Conservation Area, was the most developed tour route in Nepal, but I was a little disappointed with what I saw. The locals who once served only Nepali dishes now offer pizza and Cesar salad among other common Western items to meet the taste of pedestrians.
Maybe my views are different from most, but when I get to the country I wish to hear as much as that country will give you. The people, objects and cultures and those who are able to achieve the above experience much of what Nepal is, yet at the same time, they leave much to the table.
I must say, for me it is close to the nails on the chalk board, it is a terrible visitor. I really fail to understand how people traveling thousands of miles to Nepal come in with such fears of traumatic diarrhea, which they will probably get anyway (they are still treated with over-the-counter drugs or even antibiotics available in Nepal), that they never get out of Hyatt for food, they all miss out so much. Just as Nepal is traditional, it is also very diverse in terms of cooking. I think my aunt put it very well, “the chances are, that the diarrhea that travelers get is NOT FROM Nepali food, but from tourists asking a Nepali citizen to prepare mushrooms, sausage and olive pizza.”
I don’t know about you, but I hope most Nepali citizens prepare what they know best and eat it every day, much more than trying to re-create Western food with a temporary refrigerator and “non-natural” ingredients in Nepal. Sadly, not everyone thinks the same way, as I found myself, traveling with many confused travelers, who during their journey, wondered how they got the runs, after grinding a burger made from imported meat (beef or beef, sacred in Nepal.) , swiss cheese and lettuce arriving at their dining table on the same 5-day journey they had just crossed. The moral of the story is, think of your brain, not just your stomach.
For one thing, not eating junk food somewhere would be less important if the problems associated with it were confined to the regular resting area of a passing traveler. Nepal is proud of its cultural, geographical and natural values and especially its food but the same “Eco-tourist” who comes to Nepal with ideas to preserve all Nepali “and help” the people of Nepali (a questionable proposition as it stands), often seen eating French Fires salad & Chicken Cesar to be eaten without knowing at all how this affects the local economy and the fast-growing (highly commercially based) environment.
The additional preparation techniques needed to fix these things certainly consume more fuel, in an area where natural gas is often scarce. If there is a growing demand for fossil fuels and fortified foods, those items should be collected or delivered where they are available, increasing the cost that eventually goes to the rest of the economy.
Those are certainly not the only reasons for trying Nepali food. Just the fact that it is fun, is very much related to that. With so much to try, it is a mystery in itself why many are afraid.
Nepal in central China (Tibet) in northern India and southern India, has for thousands of years been a hub for travelers from both regions. With these travelers, food and a mixture of foreign influences and local food have created a Nepali menu but not limited to that.
If one were to visit a website dedicated to traveling in Nepal, you would no doubt find out there a little that Nepal is culturally diverse as a country, with a host of nations, many of which have their own specialty food items.
There is Newari, “susti” which is a delicious pre-dinner and beverage, accompanied by jerky dried meat (ginger, ginger, garlic, onion, tomato, salt, oil and crushed green or red pepper. Slightly squeezed into a person’s hand, the meal is eaten as if one could eat peanuts, or chips.