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Vegetarian Travel Notes:
Nepal


   
  by Michael Marinelli
      Special to VegDining.com

A trip to Nepal can certainly be a tenuous one in many ways, but fear not, vegetarian food is everywhere!

Since the economy of Nepal relies so heavily upon tourist revenues, the restaurants do their best to cater to tastes from around the world. While the quality may not necessarily satisfy discriminating tastebuds, the quantity and selection will certainly delight any ravenous traveller.

A menu in a typical restaurant will include a wide array of ethnic delicacies. Any combination of the following cuisine may be represented: Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American, English, French, German and Nepalese. Vegetarianism is clearly understood in Nepal, eating meat versus not eating meat.

Unfortunately, veganism is not so clear. Not to worry though, the locals are quite accommodating once they understand your needs. As someone who is used to vegetarian selections consisting of steamed vegetables or grilled vegetables, it was pleasing to see the varied selection provided.

Choices may include but are not limited to the following:

  • dal baht - a native dish of nepal consisting of curried lentils served over rice
  • vegan pizza, with assorted toppings including tofu
  • pasta primavera
  • canneloni
  • momos or kothe - fried or steamed dumplings filled with vegetables
  • spring rolls
  • vegetable fried rice
  • vegetable patties
  • assorted potatoes
  • grilled and fried tofu stir fry
  • bean burritos

Notes on Food Preparation:

- most dishes are served with some sort of cheese or dairy product (vegans)
- ask that your food be prepared in oil and not butter or lard (vegans)
- make sure all vegetables are well cooked - do not eat anything fresh unless it has been soaked in iodine
- only eat peelable fruit
- DO NOT drink the water - bottled water is available everywhere except at higher altitudes (above 3000 meters)
- for environmental preservation bring a water bottle and iodine tablets to treat the water
- for a complete guide to all environmental considerations visit the KEEP office in Kathmandu

Useful Words/Phrases:

I found that knowing a little Nepali goes a long when requesting certain foods or bargaining or trying to make friends. The following are some useful words and phrases that can be used when dining:

I'm a vegetarian ma sakahari hu
I don't eat … ma … khandina
meat masu
fish macha
dairy products dugdha shalako khana
butter makhan
cheese cij
cream tar
ghee ghiu
milk dudh
yak milk caurigaiko dudh
yogurt (curd) dahi
The meal was delicious khana mitho lagyo
(a favorite among the locals)

   
  Michael Marinelli put his corporate life on hold while backpacking for a month in Nepal in April 2001. Michael is vegan and VegDining's New York City correspondent. He can be reached at Michael_Marinelli@VegDining.com. Photographs by Michael Marinelli.



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