So you are excited about your teahouse trekking in Nepal? No doubt it’s a wonderful idea you will have a treat of a lifetime! Although the feeling of novelty and excitement is there, you are still a bit concerned about your dietary expectations found in these mountain lodges high up in the Himalayas, perhaps you are little worried about the food. Needless to say, but the importance of a well-balanced diet cannot be overemphasized during your trip. Well, here’s an overview on a typical Nepalese teahouse menu, and if you are on a camping trip this will serve as a handy guide likewise.
First, what is a “teahouse trekking”?
This one simply involves going from one teahouse to another during your entire trek for your food and accommodation needs. In the past, it was originally meant as a place where trekkers were provided with basic refreshments like tea (of course), local food and accommodation (mostly on the floor) at a minimal cost or even free. Times have changed and the concept of this style of trekking these days takes a different meaning. Nowadays teahouses basically mean small hotels established along the trekking routes that provide room and board at a nominal price. Most of these establishments are family-owned and home-cooked meals are served, which is an excellent way to experience the daily lifestyle of the local people in rural Nepal. One advantage of such a mode of trekking as opposed to camping is that you don’t have to carry your own camping gears like tents and other amenities, and bringing your own food.
Most teahouses in the Everest and Annapurna region are well managed and some of them even provide western style facilities like hot showers, flush toilets, and a selection of menus including beer. Around less travelled trekking routes, however, they offer basic facilities, and one might expect to eat the same meals as the family owning the property.
Tea at teahouses
As the name implies, teahouses typically serve tea during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Usually milk tea is the norm, but depending on the trekking route, black tea along with flavoured ones with mint, ginger, lemon, etc. are also provided. Coffee is also available but decaffeinated ones might not be readily available. Plan to bring your own brand of coffee, or buy some in Kathmandu, if you are one of those coffee buffs.
Other than tea and coffee, teahouses can also be a quick stop for trekkers to take a short break from a tiring walk, rehydrate and perhaps get their beverages refilled before moving on.
On more popular trekking routes, teahouses offer a wide range of western and local delicacies that include Nepali, Indian, Tibetan and Chinese varieties. Everyone eats in a common dining room, which normally houses a wood fire. In the evening, you could even try some local alcoholic brew to keep you warm as you plan for your next day ahead.
A typical breakfast menu may include some of the following: pancakes (plain, apple, cinnamon, lemon, etc.) served with peanut butter or honey; porridge; egg items (scrambled, boiled, fried, omelette); bread (toast, chapatti), or some varieties of the above.
At almost all teahouses, more or less a similar set menu of dal bhat, pasta, pizza, soup, momos and other rice and noodle based dishes are served. Of course, dal bhat (fried or steamed rice, lentil soup, curried vegetable, and some greens) is the way to go if you are famished. One good thing about this dish is that it is offered in an all-you-can-eat style, and your plate will be replenished before you even finish your initial serving!
Other than dal bhat, expect to find the following varieties for your lunch/dinner: soup (Sherpa stew, chicken, mushroom, vegetable); noodles (chowmein, spaghetti); potato (curried, boiled, and fried); and a range of other items like pizza, pasta, spring rolls, momos, etc. Some places even serve desserts, especially in a well-established stop along the route.
One thing worth mentioning is the availability of meat as you hop along the way. Normally meat products either have be flown in or have to be carried by porters or on the back of yaks and donkeys to these locations. So meat availability becomes rare and gets really expensive as you move higher up. Expect to remain on a meatless diet for some time during your trip unless you carry your own canned meat beforehand at the start of the trip.
What kind of teahouse accommodation can I expect in popular treks in Nepal?
|Everest Base Camp Luxury Lodge Trek: 15 Days||Luxury teahouse accommodations|
|Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes Tour by Heli: 8 Days||Luxury teahouse accommodations|
|Everest Base Camp Trek: 16 days||Wide variety of teahouse accommodations|
|Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes: 18 Days||Wide variety of teahouse accommodations|
|Annapurna Circuit Trek – 21 Days||Wide variety of teahouse accommodations|
|Annapurna Base Camp Trek-11 days||Wide variety of teahouse accommodations|
|Manaslu Circuit Trek: 18 days||Reasonable variety of teahouse accommodations|
|Rara Lake Trek: 15 Days||Basic teahouse accommodations|
|Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: 24 Days||Very basic teahouse accommodations with limited services|
What if there are no teahouses along the trekking route?
One question often asked by trekkers is the dining option available to them in places where no teahouses are to be found. Whenever possible, lunch will be carried along from the previous place of stay (if food is available). It’s true that availability of such mountain lodges become limited if one is trekking through a camping route or less travelled off-the-beaten-trails. Also, if you are combining your trek with peak climbing, camping is the only option as you approach the base camp area. During these camping sessions, a separate kitchen team along with a cook will prepare meals for the entire group. Understandably, the choices of food offered will be limited as kitchen equipment and food items have to be carried all along. But still you can expect to be served well-prepared hygienic food by these seasoned professionals.
We hope this article has served well to inform you about the food you can expect during your trek in Nepal. Try the local delicacies, drink the teas, eat well, avoid meat whenever possible, and have fun trekking through Nepalese Himalayas!