Get to know a thing or two about Nepalese cuisine and eating customs before you book your next trip there through any of these Nepal tours.
Nepalese traditionally eat their meals either seated or squatting on the floor.
As diverse as Nepal’s culture and geography is, one dish that is common throught the country is Dal-bhat-tarkari, served on either brass or stainless steel plates called thali. All Nepal tours will offer this meal at least once in their packages.
Dal is a soup made of lentils and spices. This are served in small bowls, later to be poured over the bhat, boiled rice or other grain. Tarkari is vegetable curry.
Dal-bhat-tarkari are served with small servings of side dishes, usually fresh or fermented pickle, known as chutney, lemon or lime slices or fresh chili peppers. Yogurt and curried meat or fish are served based on availability.
Nepalese eat with their fingers and use their right hand, never the left. The left hand is reserved for to clean themselves after conducting their toilet.
Ritual pollution is mostly ignored these days but may still be practiced in traditionally minded upper caste households. Water and food cooked with water are subject to ritual pollution. When ritual pollution occurs, clay and wooden containers are thrown out, while metal containers have to be cleaned according to custom. A lower caste person cannot prepared these foods for a higher caster person.
Dry-cooked grains, rice pudding cooked in milk and raw fruit are not subject to ritual pollution, and may be accepted from any caste except the untouchables.
When land limitations prevail, adaptations are made. For instance, when rice is not readily available, bhat is replaced with roti or chapati (unleavened flat wheat bread) or with dhido or ato (thick porridge made from boiled maize, buckwheat, barley or millet).
Tarkari can be with any type of vegetable – spinach, fermented and dried greens, radish, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin among others.
The highest Brahmin (Bahun) caste, will only eat goat meat. Observant Hindus never eat beef nor will they eat buffalo and yak meat, which they liken to beef.
The Newars incorporate a lot of buffalo meat in their cuisine. They brew a homemade rice beer called tho and distilled liquor called aela.
The Tamang, Rai and Limbu have Kinema (fermented soybeans), yangben (Reindeer Moss), a variety of bamboo shoot dishes, bread made from millet or buckwheat, and tongba (millet beer)
The Terais have a more varied diet because proximity to neighbouring hill regions makes a greater variety of crops available to them.
The Tharus get fish from local rivers and include rats and snails in their diet.
In the Himalayas, buckwheat, barley and millet feature prominently as noodles or tsampa (toasted flour) or made into raksi (spirits made in rustic distilleries) and millet beer (tongba or Chhaang). Yak provide meat and milk.
The Thakalis consume a large variety of vegetables daily. Radish and beetroot are often dried and prepared with mutton. A favourite condiment is timur-ko-choup, made with red chili powder, black pepper, salt and local herbs.
If all this talk about food made you hungry, you should follow on with another gastronomic adventure on these India tours. You will probably find some similarities in the food during your India tours.