Eating habits in Nepal differ greatly from Europe and adjusting can prove tricky. People usually sit on the floor and eat with their right hand from a metal plate. Hands and face are washed before the meal. Eating breakfast or drinking tea or coffee before brushing your teeth is seen as dirty. Water is drunk during meals and should you order a coffee without further instructions, it will be brought to you after the meal. Talking comes before the meal; people rarely talk during it. If you are invited out to eat, chat amiably before the meal but leave after it. Women and children eat separately and only after the men have finished. Guests are often the only ones to eat, while the host concentrates on your service. This is a sign of politeness, but can make Europeans feel uncomfortable. Nepali eat three warm meals per day.
Many Nepali are vegetarians for religious or moral reasons. Even eggs are often avoided.
Breakfast: Cornflakes, toast, jam, butter and eggs are the standard fare in hotels and restaurants.
Lunch and dinner: For residents of the Himalaya valleys and the Terai, dal is known as ‘dal bhat tarkari’. Dal is porridge-like in texture, is made from lentils and is the most important source of protein for the Nepalese. Bhat is rice, and is used in quantities that westerners find unbelievable! Tarkari is the tastiest of the three and varies in nature. It is a cooked vegetable dish with masala, which is a combination of spices. Leafy vegetables, potatoes and cauliflower are often used. In Kathmandu and Pokhara, the range of international food is large, varying from pizza with moussaka to rösti (a Swiss potato dish) with deep-fried chicken legs. In the popular hiking routes in the mountains, food like chow mein and spaghetti will also be on the menu.
Tap water: Tap water is not suitable for drinking. You will have to buy mineral water or use the drinking water produced in middle-class and expensive hotels and restaurants. This water is boiled or filtered with a bacteria filter. Mineral water is relatively expensive. For this reason, it sometimes happens that bottles are filled up with unreliable water. Always take care that bottles are properly sealed. Only in good restaurants are ice cubes made of clean water.
Fruit: One of the greatest attractions of Nepal is the nearly infinite offer of the most exotic fruits. They come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, but they outdo each other in taste. To explore this region is to surrender wholly to the strangely looking fruit piled up along the road or sold by women who make a living out of fruit selling on the beach or in the street. Some of the most delectable fruits are mango, rambutan, papaya, pineapple, royal coconut, sour sob, jackfruit, mangosteen, durian and the many types of banana.