What was once a great little inexpensive restaurant in central Thamel has now really gone downhill, the prices have almost doubled in the last 12 months (10% “Service Charge also now added) and the quality f the food has hit rock bottom.
I have been back twice this trip just to make sure I hadn’t gone on a bad day – But the second time I went the prices had gone up yet again (Only one week later) and the breakfast that I Was served was inedible
So – With some regret, as I had used this once fantastic little restaurant for more than 10 years, I have to say that I would now avoid it as there are many places selling better food for much less money.
There is a problem of adulterated food and drinks in Nepal. The good news part is that these thihng you find mostly in non-tourist establishments, serving Nepali locals. There has recently been a scare on Tuborg beer being added methylalcohol and of ghee (clarified butter) made from food waste, not milk, the latter was found in Amoul brand sweets.
A special care advice goes for those trekking along the Tibet commercially influenced areas on the northern border: the drinks imported here, especially the hard liquor should be avoided. There have been instances of maotai type drinks being added methylalcohol, leding to several deaths and cases of blindness. Stay away from any home made hard drinks in these area, and if they come in a bottle, be certain to avoid the ones with Chinese labels. They are also a real curse to the local society, as people here are not used to drink 50-60% alcohol, and quickly fall into alcoholism.
Dont even think about drinking the water from a tap..it will kill you! Bottled water is readily available almost everywhere you go, but make sure that the plastic seal is intact on the top of bottle...some places have re-filled the bottles from the tap!
Water from the tap is not safe to use for drinking, brushing teeth etc.
Bottled water is easy and inexpensive to buy.
We never had any gastric-related problems during our visit. We usually had food at restaurants, or bought at some from the great bakeries around.
Do not under no circumstances - sit in the Weizen Bakery in Thamel !!
I have been assaulted by one of the staff in the toilet , after catching him perform a " peeping Tom"
By the reaction of the staff it wasn't the first time this guy did this , nor it was the first time he has been caught , they actually started defending him.
It was highly embarassing and humiliating, I threatend them by tourist police - didn't have much reaction !
Spare your self the embarasement and happy travelling !!!
Okay, so maybe Nepal is not India, but germs travel. We were very careful with what we ate and drank, but how can you be 100-percent sure? The food is only as sterile, so to speak, as the servers and the general cleanliness of the kitchen. Also, if glasses, cutlery, dishes and dishware is washed out with tapwater, or in some cases whatever water is available, then you can guess you are ingesting some kinds of bacteria along with your food & drink.
Even though we were cautious I did manage to pick-up a stomach bug that caused at least loose bowels if not a touch of diahhrea. The funny thing is that it has stayed with me for almost a full month since returning from Kathmandu. It has not been acute, but a persistant re-occurance.
An absolute travel necessity is Immodium to stop diahhrea, especially if you are traveling and not near a toilet all day long. Keep in mind nothing could be worse than diahhrea when the only useable WC at hand is one of those standing toilets that are nothing more than a glorified hole in the floor.
Anti-biotics to fight worms and other intestinal problems are also a good idea to have just in case. If problems persist then see a doctor once you get home. Nothing like a good tapeworm to help you shed some unwanted pounds, but should be treated none the less.
When in Nepal I do as the following:
In Kathmandu I buy "mineral water", i.e. bottled water. This water may not be entirely pure, but probably OK - I certainly never had any problem. But check for seals etc.
In restaurants, lodges and homes, I ask for boiled water ("umaleko paani") - hot water ("taato paani") may be merely warmed up to just beyond luke warm. In many modern homes and restaurants and lodges, the water is often both filtered and boiled.
While trekking in the Jomsom/Mustang region bring a water bottle and buy water from the ACAP/KEEP pure water supply station at every major stopping point. Much cheaper and cleaner than the bottled stuff, and no plastic throw-aways afterwards.
For serious hikes or treks in areas where there are rural homes only and no services, I bring a water filter that is used by the whole group including porters. Weighs 0.6 kg but worth it for use for more than two persons. Takes out everything including viruses.
For short walks in an area where I am familiar with water source quality (i.e. drinkable, but who knows, really?), I bring micropur. As a backup when I am responsible for more people than myself I bring iodine solution or pills (Polar) with a foul-taste killer. Can also be used to soak foods and clean wounds, too, in case the water available is really contaminated. What to watch for in mountain streams even high up are ghiardia and e.coli from both people and animals excreta. You don't want to ruin your trip with this, which is avoidable...
Despite your best efforts, it is still possible to succumb to a rogue bacterium... at certain times of the year, notably just before the rains cleanse the air, it is possible to breathe in bacteria.
I swear by ORS: Oral rehydration salts. They replace very necessary minerals in your body. I take them everywhere now, and they can be used even before you fall ill (if, for example, you think you may have eaten or drunk something suspect take them in any case).
They can be found in any good sports / trekking supplier.
Don't let these warnings put you off visiting one of the world most wonderful countries... but do think ahead.
There are stalls around offering fresh fruit juice. Careful they may (and frequently do) add untreated water to the juice.
Other than in top hotels ice is also normally made of untreated water. Best just to avoid it altogether, even if you are warm. Similarly avoid salads (they will probably have been washed in untreated water) and also ice cream (which frequently is kept in an environment in which it can melt and refreeze).
I would add a couple of points o the warnings that everyone gives about not drinking the water.
You'll be able to buy iodine and other water sterilisation provisions in Kathmandu / Pokhara. DO IT!
Apart from leaving it in for long enough before drinking, make sure you open your drinking bottle a little, turn it upside down and shake it - the escaping sterilised water will get rid of any bacteria lurking at the rim of your drinking bottle.
Most sterilisation treatment tastes fowl... you can make it more palatable by adding flavours (you can get loads of fruit-flavoured powders in the supermarket).
Be careful about trusting boiled water in the mountains: water boils at a lower temperature at altitude, and is unlikely to reach the necessary 100 degrees for a while... below this it remains suspect.
Finally, remember to use your sterilised water when brusing your teeth and also keep your mouth shut under the shower!
You may want to ask your Doctor for a prescription for Cipro before going to Nepal. I personally did not get sick, but I was extremely careful about what I ate and drank, but my dad did get sick. When he got sick, he took Cipro and was better within a few days. I think he may have gotten sick in Chitwan since it is so remote that even though the resorts try, it is really hard for them to keep their resorts totally sanitary.
When you get a bottle of bad water while on a hike or a climb, you'll know it. This can be very dangerous while trekking, because you're out in the middle of nowhere and you're thirsty as all (so it's easy to convince yourself that drinking just half a bottle - even if it's contaminated - won't really hurt you). It happened to me and I could taste the difference immediately - I didn't drink more than three swallows before throwing out that water. Thankfully that wasn't enough to get me sick, and I made it to the next village where I bought a replacement bottle. What probably happened with the "bad" one, is they refilled a plastic bottle with regular tap water and then re-sealed the plastic (this can be done by heating a needle and melting the plastic back together along the seams.) There's a distinct difference in taste between authentic bottled water and the fake bottled water, and the only real way to discern it for yourself is to trust your taste buds. If you have even the slightest doubt, toss the bottle. It's not worth the amoebas and stomach problems that are an inevitable fallout.
NEVER drink the local tap in Nepal, the water is hardly purified and can get you very sick (I am talking from experience here). In rural Nepal natural spring water is OK to drink, but only OK. Rural tap systems come off of the rivers, so don't even let that water touch your lips untreated. Make sure to travel with iodine tablets to purify the water. When using iodine, make sure to put the tablets in, wait 5 minutes, shake, wait 20 minutes, than and only then is the water safe to drink. Boiling is another option, but it wasn't common, and iodine was actually preferable.
After getting back from Nepal I went into hospital with suspected typhoid which I may have caught from eating the lettuce. Don't let that put you off going to Nepal, just be careful! I would still go back.
I consider myself to have a stomach of steel, but even I couldn't eat in this local eatery. You can't make it out, but there were about 1000 flies having lunch. I did eat at the bus stops and crossed my fingers. Try and get them to put the food right in your hand. The plates they serve the food on are merely rinsed in a bucket of river water.