Trekking Food: What You'll Eat While Hiking in Nepal

Worried about getting hungry on your trek in Nepal? Here's what to pack and what to expect to see on your tea house menu.

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Photo © Mark Whitman, Kandoo Adventures

If there’s one thing that trekking for eight hours does, it’s working up an appetite.

In the good old days of trekking in Nepal, you really only had one option on your menu: dal bhat (beans, rice and vegetable curry).

Today, with tourism now soaring in the tiny mountain nation, food options have become varied and often delicious.

So, if you’re planning on a trekking adventure, here are the best option available, plus our tips for making the most out of your culinary experience in Nepal.

Full Board Treks vs A La Carte

Until recently, most trekking agencies offered full-board treks, meaning your meals are provided and you ate what you’re given.

However, with the modernization of tea houses in Nepal, more and more trekkers expressed a wish to try the local cuisine on offer.

It’s now far more common to purchase a half-board trek and choose your dinner from the extensive menus available.

I would always recommend this option as it offers far more variety to your daily meals, gives you an opportunity to interact with the locals and allows for a much more authentic experience.

What’s on Offer

Thanks to a booming tourist industry, tea houses now offer menus with 30 or 40 options.

Dhal Bhatas most tea houses will refill any empty section of the plate as you go. This is perfect for the hungry trekker with a thirst for calorie replenishment!

Most menus in Nepal consist of potato dishes, noodle dishes, soup dishes, rice dishes, bread dishes, Dhal Bhat dishes and egg /porridge dishes.

It’s more of a gamble than anything else when you order. Each tea house offers different versions of the same thing and you never really know what you’re going to get till you get it. Makes sure to try the Sherpa stew though!

Most tea houses now offer up Western-style options too, such as pizza, pasta, and steak.

Be warned though, these are not what you would expect back home and can often be disappointing.

Mealtimes

Mealtimes are a busy affair. Trekkers from all over the area literally descend upon tea houses en masse.

Food is operated on a first-come-first-serve basis and I always advise to order as soon as you arrive to avoid disappointment.

Food comes out quickly and you get a lot for your money. Although food is exceptionally cheap, try to budget around $20 per day to accommodate all meals and (more importantly) drinks!

Bring Your Own Food

Trekking in Nepal. Photo credit: Mark Whitman, Kandoo Adventures

With so much walking, you’ll need to keep up your strength.

Make sure you bring along some energy bars to snack on as you walk. These are great energy boosters and will get you through the long uphill grinds.

Saying that, there are a number of shops and bakeries along the major trekking routes that will supply you with plenty of snacking options if you wish.

Dealing With Rubbish

Sadly, along your trek you’ll notice the lack of garbage management.

Due to the rapid westernization of Nepal, the country hasn’t quite figured out a way to deal with all of the trash left by tourists – Please don’t add to this problem!

Always keep your trash with you until you reach the nearest vehicle-accessible road. This includes drink bottles purchased at tea houses.

This article was written by our partner Kandoo Adventures in collaboration with Mountain IQ.

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