Food On The Everest Base Camp Trek: What To Expect

Ever wondered what’s on the menu at 17,600 feet?
Let’s dig into the food on the Everest Base Camp trek. Knowing what to eat can make all the difference between a memorable journey and a challenging ordeal.

Food on the Everest Base Camp Trek

The food on the Everest Base Camp trek becomes more than just sustenance—it’s your lifeline to experience the breathtaking view from Everest Base Camp. Let’s look at what you can expect.

Breakfast Options

Ah, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you’re about to scale heights that touch the sky! But what does breakfast look like when en route to Everest Base Camp?

Common Breakfast Foods

  1. Porridge/Oats: A warm bowl of oat porridge is a classic start to a chilly Himalayan morning. It’s rich in fibre and keeps you full for longer.

  2. Toast Varieties: Whether it’s plain toast or toast with eggs, jam, honey, or even cheese, you’ve got options. It’s a quick and easy way to get some carbs into your system.

  3. Eggs: Boiled, scrambled, or in an omelette—eggs offer the protein you’ll need for those strenuous climbs.

  4. Tibetan Pancakes: A local delicacy, these are thicker than your average pancake and offer a unique taste of the region.

  5. Tea/Coffee: A hot beverage is essential for waking you up and keeping you hydrated.

Importance of a Hearty Breakfast

Now, why all this fuss about breakfast? 
Well, trekking to Everest Base Camp is no walk in the park. You’re burning calories at a rate you probably never have before. 
A hearty breakfast ensures you have the sustained energy to tackle the day’s challenges.
Did you know? The Sherpa community often starts their day with a cup of butter tea, a blend of tea leaves, yak butter, and salt. It’s a high-calorie drink designed to provide quick energy in the harsh mountain conditions.
ebc teahouse food
Enjoying lunch outdoors at an EBC teahouse.

Lunch to Keep You Going

If breakfast is the opening act, then lunch is the headliner of your trekking day. It’s the meal that will sustain you through afternoon ascents and tricky terrains. So, what’s cooking at these high altitudes?

Typical Lunch Options

  1. Dal Bhat: This traditional Nepali dish is a powerhouse of nutrition. It includes rice, lentil soup, and various vegetable curries. Sometimes, it comes with a side of pickled vegetables or meat curry.

  2. Fried Rice: Whether it’s veggie, egg, or even chicken fried rice, this dish is a quick source of energy that’s both filling and delicious.

  3. Noodle Dishes: From Chow Mein to Thukpa (a local noodle soup), noodles are popular. They’re easy to digest and provide the carbs you need.

  4. Sandwiches: For those who prefer a taste of home, grilled sandwiches with various fillings like cheese, egg, or even tuna are available.

  5. Local Soups: Garlic soup is a local favourite for its taste and supposed benefits in helping with altitude sickness.

Timing and Why It’s Crucial

Lunch on the trek is usually served between 11 and 12 a.m., which might seem early but is strategically timed. The reason? You must eat before the day’s most challenging sections, which often come in the afternoon. 
Eating too late can leave you feeling sluggish, while eating too early might mean you’re running on empty when you need energy the most. 
The timing ensures you’re adequately fuelled but not overly full, striking the perfect balance for the trek ahead.
Did you know? The saying “Dal Bhat Power 24 Hour” is more than just a catchy phrase. The balanced nutrients in Dal Bhat provide long-lasting energy, making it a trekker’s best friend.
tea houses everest base camp trek
A Skyhook group sharing a beer in a teahouse.

Dinner: The Final Frontier

As the sun dips below the towering peaks, you’ll find yourself back at one of the EBC tea houses, tired but exhilarated. It’s time for dinner, the final frontier in your daily culinary journey. So, what’s on the menu as you dine amidst the stars?

Common Dinner Foods

  1. Dal Bhat: Yes, it’s back! This staple is often served for dinner as well, but sometimes with a twist—like a side of fried fish or a different type of lentil soup.

  2. Pasta Dishes: From spaghetti to macaroni, pasta is a popular dinner choice. It’s filling and provides the carbs you’ll need to replenish your energy.

  3. Momos: These Tibetan dumplings are a dinner favourite. Stuffed with meat or vegetables, they’re a tasty way to end the day.

  4. Sherpa Stew: This local dish is warming and filling, a mix of vegetables and meat in a hearty broth.

  5. Pizza: Believe it or not, pizza is available at some tea houses. It’s a comforting taste of the familiar in an unfamiliar landscape.

How Dinner Differs from Other Meals

While breakfast and lunch are about fuelling up for the day’s challenges, dinner serves a different purpose. It’s about replenishment and relaxation. 
The options are often similar to lunch but emphasise comfort foods that help you wind down. It’s also a more communal meal, where trekkers gather around the dining area, share stories of the day, and form bonds that last a lifetime.

What to do if you have Dietary Requirements?

So, you’re excited about the Everest Base Camp trek, but you’ve got some dietary restrictions that make you wonder, “Will I find something to eat?” Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Options

  1. Vegetarian: The good news is that many traditional Nepali dishes, like Dal Bhat, are naturally vegetarian. You’ll also find a variety of vegetable-based dishes like vegetable curry, fried rice, and even vegetarian momos.

  2. Non-Vegetarian: While meat options are available, it’s essential to note that as you ascend, the freshness of meat can become questionable. However, dishes like chicken curry and fish are often on the menu at lower altitudes.

Special Dietary Needs

  1. Gluten-Free: While the menu may not explicitly list gluten-free options, dishes like rice and lentil soup are naturally gluten-free. Always double-check with the tea house to ensure no cross-contamination.

  2. Vegan: Vegan options are limited but possible to find. Lentil soup, vegetable curries, and rice are your best bets. Again, confirming with the tea house that no ghee or butter is used in the preparation is a good idea.

  3. Nut Allergies: Nut-based dishes are uncommon, but it’s always better to specify your allergy to the tea house staff.

  4. Lactose Intolerance: Dairy is commonly used in Nepali cuisine, especially in tea and some desserts. Make sure to ask for dairy-free alternatives where possible.

The tea houses along the trek are accustomed to trekkers with diverse dietary needs. Don’t hesitate to chat with them about your requirements; they’re usually more than willing to accommodate.
communal eating ebc teahouse
Typical shared communal tables in a EBC teahouse.

Local vs International Cuisine: A Culinary Journey from the Himalayas to Home

When you’re trekking through the Himalayas, you’re not just traversing geographical landscapes; you’re also navigating a culinary map that’s as diverse as the people you’ll meet. 
So, what can your taste buds expect on this high-altitude adventure?

Availability of Local Nepali Dishes

As you trek through the heart of the Himalayas, you’ll discover that local Nepali dishes are not just meals but a rich tapestry of the region’s culture and history. Here are some of our favourites:
  1. Dal Bhat: This dish is the cornerstone of Nepali cuisine and is available at almost every tea house you’ll encounter.

  2. Momos: These delicious dumplings are a must-try, often filled with either vegetables or meat.

  3. Thukpa: This hearty noodle soup is a Tibetan dish that has found a home in Nepali kitchens. It’s incredibly comforting in the cold mountain air.

  4. Sherpa Stew: Named after the famed mountain community, this stew is a mix of meat and vegetables, perfect for warming you up after a long day.

Where to Find International Cuisine

Craving a slice of home while you’re miles away? You’ll be surprised at the international cuisine that awaits you on the Everest Base Camp trek. Here’s what you can expect:
  1. Pasta and Pizza: Surprisingly, Italian dishes are quite popular in the tea houses. They’re a comforting alternative if you’re craving something familiar.

  2. Sandwiches: From tuna to grilled cheese, sandwiches offer a quick and easy Western meal option.

  3. Chinese Dishes: You’ll often find fried rice and noodle dishes that are more Chinese-inspired than authentically Nepali.

  4. Bakeries: In some larger villages like Namche Bazaar, you’ll find bakeries offering pastries and even apple pie!

Pro tip: Namche Bazaar, often considered the Sherpa capital, offers the most diverse range of food options on the trek, including bakeries that serve fresh croissants!
ebc vs annapurna circuit accommodation
Another typical teahouse on the EBC trek.

Freshness and Hygiene: How Does it Work?

When you’re trekking to Everest Base Camp, the last thing you want is a bout of food poisoning or a stomach bug. So, how do the tea houses ensure that your food is fresh and hygienic? Let’s dive in.

How Freshness Is Maintained

When dining at the top of the world, you might wonder how freshness is maintained on the Everest Base Camp trek. Here’s what to know:
  1. Local Produce: Many tea houses use locally sourced vegetables and herbs, ensuring the ingredients are as fresh as possible.

  2. Limited Meat: As you ascend, you’ll notice fewer meat options on the menu. This is because storing meat safely at higher altitudes becomes increasingly challenging.

  3. Daily Preparation: Food is often prepared daily to ensure its freshness. Leftovers are rarely, if ever, served to guests.

Hygienic Practices in Food Preparation

It’s not just the altitude that can add to the difficulty of hiking to Everest Base Camp; ensuring food safety is a high priority, too. Luckily, the guides, porters, and tea house staff are well-prepared.
  1. Boiled Water: Whether for cooking or making tea, water is always boiled to kill harmful bacteria.

  2. Clean Utensils: Utensils are thoroughly cleaned and often boiled to ensure they are germ-free.

  3. Trained Staff: The staff at tea houses are trained in basic food hygiene, including the importance of washing hands and using clean utensils.

  4. Food Storage: Ingredients are stored in sealed containers to protect them from contamination and pests.

Did you know? The higher you go, the more likely you are to find food cooked over a yak dung stove. While it may sound unappetising, yak dung is a clean-burning and sustainable fuel source in these remote areas.


From the hearty Dal Bhat to the comforting pasta dishes, the Everest Base Camp trek offers a culinary journey that complements its awe-inspiring landscapes. 
Whether you have special dietary needs or want to indulge in local flavours, rest assured that your taste buds are in for an adventure. So, as you prepare for this trek of a lifetime, remember that the food you’ll encounter is not just fuel—it’s part of the experience.

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