Food in Nepal – Potatoes, rice, a lot of vegetables, bananas and surprisingly good pastries

I was part of Air Asia X media trip to Nepal earlier in November 2012 for the launch of their One Child One Laptop (OLPC) program with OLE. Throughout our 6D5N trip, we were very well fed and for our safety, health and convenience we only ate at hotels and mostly established restaurants. In fact we even complained that we didn’t sample enough of authentic Nepalese fare, and thus towards the end of our 6 days trip, our kind guides arranged for more Nepalese cuisine to be incorporated into our meals.

Upon landing on the 1st day, we were whisked quickly to a nearby Airport Hotel for lunch as we were already late for our journey to Chitwan.

Kathmandu nepal - Air Asia X trip Rebecca Saw (54)

Being in a big group, meal times were mostly buffet-style. I was pretty excited as this is our first meal in Nepal and I had anticipated authentic Nepalese fare. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Most of the dishes were very Chinese don’t you think?

DAY 1:  Lunch upon arrival.
Fried rice.

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Fried noodles. You will be seeing a lot of this noodles in this post. It seems to be the only type of noodle available here!

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Shredded Fish with Hot Bean Sauce.

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Cauliflower Manchurian.

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Pot Roast Chicken.

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Tawal Mea Soup – the most Nepalese kind of dish during our lunch. Basically chicken soup with the same noodles as above.

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My favourite; stir fried vegetables!

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Some salads that well; looked and tasted like your usual western salads.

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Fruits for dessert.

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Even a creme caramel! This is obviously an “international spread” . :DD

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Then it was the long journey to Chitwan National Park. You can read about it HERE.

Upon arrival at our hotel for the night – Westwood Resort, we were served dinner after a welcoming cultural dance.
Dinner was again buffet style, with carbs from noodles, rice and potatoes.

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DAY 1:  Dinner.

Meat and fish are almost a luxury. But we did have some form of chicken stew which was not spicy despite its colour. Also, throughout my trip, I realized that the Nepalese cook their potatoes very well!
They are usually fried and perfectly seasoned. In fact their fried potatoes were an absolute delight to eat! Perhaps it’s due to the variety that’s grown here?

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Told you that you will be seeing a lot of this noodle.

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Kathmandu nepal - Air Asia X trip Rebecca Saw (151)

 

Chicken stew.

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The soup was much appreciated after such a long horrendous journey; especially so for me since I had motion sickness.

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You might be surprised to hear this but Nepalese rice are very much nicer in texture than ours. It was after my Nepal trip that I realized our rice sold commercially and at economy rice stalls are inferior to the rice the Nepalese eat daily!
Nepalese rice grains are long, firm and whole, unlike ours which tends to be sticky, soft & in broken grains. Steamed or fried, all the rice dishes we had were fluffy and aromatic.

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Typically the fried noodles or rice we had are light on seasoning and non-greasy. Unfortunately it’s not possible to ask the cooks exactly what seasonings were used, but tastewise it did not defer far from our Chinese fried style.

DAY 2:  Breakfast.

We had breakfast just before we set out to Chitwan National Park for elephant back riding the next morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was relieved to find familiar breakfast items such as bread, butter, milk and eggs.

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Free flow coffee and tea, a must for every breakfast.

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Help yourself to fresh butter and jam.

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I’m sure sausages are not typical Nepalese breakfast but we are staying in a reputable hotel so I guess this is more premium than what you’ll usually get.

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And more POTATOES.

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Potatoes are a staple so there’s no escaping them. The sausages were actually tastier than the ones you get from the buns in our local night markets or even Bread Story!
Oh, if you ask me what is a typical breakfast for the Nepalese, it’s milk, bread with butter and oats. And potatoes.

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Well, frankly I don’t mind the oats here. It’s cooked well – soft but not mushy. Do remember to enjoy the milk here too. It’s very fresh yet light. None of the overly creamy and rich aftertaste.

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Breakfast - westwood resort chitwan nepal (1)

Day 2 Lunch:
Coming back from our elephant ride, lunch was at the same restaurant. I think Westwood Resort has only one dining outlet.

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Which was well stocked with liquor too if one is inclined to drink.

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Lunch was rice, noodles, vegetables, POTATOES, some sort of vegetable stew, PORK (they don’t serve beef anywhere here. Anyone can guess why?) and soup.

Noodles. Are you getting sick of seeing it yet? 🙂

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Lunch - westwood resort chitwan nepal (6)

POTATOES!

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Soup.

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Pork. Almost the sweet and sour kind.

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Lunch - westwood resort chitwan nepal (8)

My fellow travelers washed it all down with Coke but I prefer plain water. Be sure to only drink bottled water in Nepal. Boiled water is safe to drink in restaurants and hotels. Generally.

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Lunch - westwood resort chitwan nepal (12)

Day 2: Tea time.

We checked out & traveled to our next destination – Pokhara. The journey was long so after 4 hours we stopped for a tea break.

Even for rest stops, our guides made sure they chose the bigger and reputable ones. This large rest stop has a sundry store, serves meals & drinks and is equipped with very clean washrooms. 🙂

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Nepal is famed for its Masala tea and it was here that we finally got to sample one!

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It was ok only though as it was rather diluted so it was light on both taste and aroma. Still, it kept us toasty and chatty.

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rebecca saw - kathmandu nepal - air asia x masala tea

After checking in at our hotel in Pokhara, we had dinner at one of the biggest restaurant in Pokhara city.

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But before that, we stumbled (or rather I did) this German bakery.
Oh.. you know me and breads right?

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I inched closer to check out the variety and nearly passed out in glee when I saw these.

Chocolate Apple Crumble for Rs165 (RM3++).

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Not bad! They even have the healthy types that I love!

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And the cakes. Aren’t they amazing? Well, it’s more amazing considering that we are in a smaller city (Pokhara, not Kathmandu) and there’s actually good breads and pastries here!
Heck I can’t even get these in KL! I nearly cleaned out the bakery. Ok, I’m joking but I did buy a lotttttt.

Swiss Apple Pie. Rs100 (RM3.50+).

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This is really good! Very fresh apples (Do you know that apples are one of Nepal’s main fruit produce?) and balanced in sweetness with a good cake-y base.

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Apple Nut Cake Rs70. (Rs100 = RM3.50).

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Moist outer layer with half a whole apple inside with loads of raisins and cinnamon!

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Cheesecake. This tasted rather weird. It could be because local cheese was used and I’m not used to its flavour.

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For something savoury I took a Veggie Pie.

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Tasty julienned vegetables in cooked in spices, almost somewhat like the vegetables you’re served with during a banana leaf rice meal.

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Our dinner took a while to be served (the restaurant is really popular) and some of us dug in to some pastries to hold off our extreme hunger.

This was bought by someone else and if I remembered correctly it’s Apple Pie.

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BELOW: Full house! Our dinner took 2 hours to arrive.

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Here’s the menu. As you can see, it’s a rather touristy restaurant that serves anything from Italian to western grills and Mexican!

We ordered the “local” Nepalese sets called “Thali”. Vegetarian Set = Rs375, Chicken Set = Rs455, Mutton Set = Rs475. By the way, 100 Nepalese rupees = RM3.50.

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Here’s my Chicken Set. The curries in Nepal are usually mild but their vegetables are very tasty. In fact, one might begin to enjoy eating vegetables are being in Nepal for a while.

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It was nice to see Mr. Azran Osman (CEO – AAX) during dinner! 🙂

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Next up – Day 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 meals!

** This is a media trip with the Air Asia team and media from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia. We were in Nepal for the Air Asia X CSR launch of the OCPL programme, a community outreach project in partnership with OLE Nepal.

Nepal 2012 Group Photo

*Group photo credit to Djamilah from Indonesia.

Our 6D5N tour was handled by Incentive Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd who did a fabulous job taking care of us!
For any enquiries about traveling in Nepal, do drop me a comment here! 🙂

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