Sunday, 15 June 2014

Food stuff part 2, Pokhara, Nepal July 2014

Nepal meat, eat with caution....

Away from the tourist strip breakfast is a pretty mediocre affair. The locals are not big on the first meal of the day. What's available off the strip varies only slightly from the rest of the day with the addition of eggs and bread - the famous (or infamous among the west) bread omelette, or quite simply an omelette sandwich. Rice of course is the main constituent of any meal, breakfast included, and  so when it's not eggs typically expect to eat that popular Nepali dish of Dahl baht, just not quite so spicy. Although widely available in supermarkets cereal tends to be limited to the tourist strip, along with fruit juice, yogurt and occasionally, bacon! Yes, breakfast is expensive on the strip but timid westerners are hanging out there much to the delight and relief of restaurant owners - rents and overheads are high on the strip, according to Mr. Pandey at Lumbini's. 

Meat, not consumed in big quantities among locals and in my opinion should be avoided altogether. The local scene is limited in choice - chicken, goat or Buffalo, take your pick. Trouble is meat preparation is not given any consideration in terms of hygiene and cleanliness with vendors routinely chopping and segmenting those buffalo portions in the open air. If that hasn't put you off then get this. Meat is left for hours in hot sunshine, and yes, the local fly population dive in to take their chunk. It that's not enough to make you balk, then just consider the air pollution - diesel fumes and dust adding to the contamination. Meat is dirty, no other way to say it really, and particularly in Kathmandu. Not so bad here in pokhara as I have spotted a traditional butchers where meat is pulled around on marbled slabs situated high off the floor but I didn't see any refrigeration - which would be useless anyway during the power outages. Oh, and the fish. Being a landlocked country there isn't a huge supply of fish and what there is here in pokhara comes form a dirty lake - the same lake locals wash their cloths in, bath and spit in. Yes, you guessed it, I don't eat the fish either! And so when that sign on the strip cites fresh fish from lake as a special dish - well, it could end up you taking a special trip to hospital!

Well, part 2 seems to be rambling on more that intended so I'd better go away and return with part 3, how I reduce the possibility of getting poisoned. Just before I go though a quick word about chicken the way locals have it. Well, you can't say it's not fresh because 10 minutes ago the bird was running around happily pecking in the pile of nearby garbage before getting the chop. And when chicken is served up, well it's a struggle to actually find any meat. Yes, just like in Vietnam, all bone and no chicken, no exaggeration! So there you have it. I wouldn't trust the origins of any meat prepared in Nepal, and I only ate the chicken because Mr. P was giving it to his Kid. Vegetarians have it easy around here, locals seem to prefer them and the variety isn't bad, but more on that next time, possibly.

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