What Do the Nepalese Eat?

Updated February 21, 2017

Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia; it is nestled between India and China. Mount Everest is located in Nepal, and 29 million people call the country home. The Nepalese people eat a wide variety of foods, most of them colourful and flavourful due to wide variety of spices they incorporate.

Dal Bhat Tarkari

A typical Nepalese meal is dal bhat tarkari. Dal is a type of lentil dish, a spicy, soupy concoction of lentils made with onions and chillies. Bhaat is boiled rice. Dal bhaat is the staple daily diet of the majority of the Nepalese people. To kick the meal up a notch, they add curried vegetables, takari. This dish is commonly accompanied by pickles, fresh chilli peppers and/or chutney.


The Nepali diet is relatively simple but it is not without flavour. The people use a great deal of spices in their cooking to enhance flavours, most notably ginger, garlic, coriander, turmeric, pepper, black peppers, cumin, chillies, cilantro, methi, mustard oil, mustard seeds, ghee, cinnamon, sesame seeds, cloves and even yak butter.


Meat is consumed occasionally by the Nepalese. When they do eat meat, they tend to go for roasted or grilled meats such as chicken, duck, wild boar, goat, buffalo, pork, fish or mutton. They also eat dried meats which have been prepared over a charcoal fire. Steamed or fried pork dumplings is another consumed meat. Sometimes the meats are included in hot or cold soups. Beef is rarely eaten, mostly due to religious preferences.

Other Foods

Vegetables make up a healthy portion of the Nepali diet. Nepalese often consume spinach, mustard greens, green beans, cauliflower, cabbage and potatoes with bamboo shoots. Sometimes fruit is on the menu; popular options include lemons, mandarin oranges, Asian pears and limes. Rice is eaten every day. Hot or cold soups are a part of the Nepali diet and they are usually made with grains. Flat breads are munched on for a snack between meals.


Unlike many parts of the world, desserts are not served with every meal in Nepal. When it is eaten, it usually involves curd of some kind. Curd is eaten on its own or with some fruit (usually dried) added. Silky yoghurt is another consumed dessert, as is rice or carrot pudding. Milk balls (boiled milk, vinegar, and sugar) are another treat.


Many Nepalese start their day with a hot, milky, sweet tea for breakfast. Another popular drink is chang, a rice or barley-beer-type drink that is made in people's homes. Keeping with the alcohol theme, rakshi is a spirit that is made from grain, rice or potato. Tonga is consumed as well, a form of homemade wine.

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About the Author

Toby Welch has been a full-time freelance writer since 2003. She has published in the "National Post," "Cottage," "Opulence," "Alberta Parent," "The Real Estate Magazine" and Living Safety," as well as many more articles online. Toby holds an accounting degree from the University of Calgary.