Food @ Annapurna Circuit Trek

I am not a big fan of Indian food so I was initially apprehensive about the type of food I will be getting in Nepal. So to be sure that I don’t have to consume Indian or pure Nepalese food everyday, we brought along instant noodles, instant soup and instant porridge. But I was delightfully surprised when our very first day, we saw the menu at the tea house. There was of course Nepalese food but there were also very familiar food like fried rice, fried noodles, pizza, pasta, all sort of soup and bread. Our guide told us this was the typical menu for all the tea houses and we could pick any items from the menu at all the meals. Hooray!

Throughout the 11 days of trekking, our staple for lunch was mainly fried rice or fried noodle. These was because it was the easiest food for the tea house to prepare and the more easily digestible for us being familiar food. They were a hit and miss. Some places, it was well prepared and taste almost like those back home but some places it simply taste weird, especially the way the noodles were cooked.

For dinner when we have more time to wait for our food, we generally ordered more varied variety – like pizza which is just a base of dough with tomato on top and whatever toppings available which is either egg, tuna or vegetable, mushroom or cheese or a mixture..  Not great but still when one is hungry, it tasted really good!

Fried Pasta

One of my favourite was this spring roll – actually looks like chappati with whatever fillings like egg, tuna or vegetable or a mixture. Some places served it deep fried as well.

For breakfast, there was the usual toast with butter and jam spread but there were also other options like Tibetan bread which tasted really great, chappati which comes with egg or plain; pancake and corn bread among others.

This is chappati with fried egg which was real good as the chappati was freshly baked. 

The pancake was not the usual small pieces we get in Singapore but this full plate size giant and it comes with butter and honey. 

However, for us the single most requested food especially at the higher grounds was this simple instant noodles which they cooked in a garlic based broth. The hot soup and the noodles goes down so well in the cold and we have it for a number of breakfast and dinner!

Of course, when in Nepal we have to have Nepalese food and the most popular item was definitely the Dal Bhat, a rice dish served with lentil vegetables and curry and some assorted side dishes. 

My own favourite is the Mo Mo which is similar to our dumpling and comes with either tuna, cheese, potato or vegetable filling and is served either steamed or fried. However, of all the items available, this is the only one that is in my opinion too small a portion for me and I only had it twice although I think it was really great. I even tried to find them in Kathmandu to bring back to Singapore but was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Out in the circuit, they don’t have much fresh meat so our guide generally tell us not to order the meat item but on our way to Manang, we actually had our first taste of Yak meat in the form of a Yak burger! Yak meat is almost similar to beef but I thought they were a bit dry but it was good to have meat for a change.

At Manang, there were bakery and good real coffee – not those black water that pass off for coffee in the tea housesSo despite my initial apprehension, I didn’t starve or had to eat Nepalese or Indian food throughout and because of that, my original target to lose 5 kg for this trip did not materialise despite trekking for so many days!

Salut Coffeeshop

DSC_0376Just another HDB coffee shop? Or so it will appear from this photo. Situated in the heart of Alexandra Village, this looks like but is anything from an ordinary coffee shop. Firstly, you won’t find your typical Chicken Rice, Noodles or Vegetables Rice.  Instead, this coffee shop sells only “ang moh” food. And to add to its “ang moh” tag, it is also very “high class” in a restaurant sort of way.

First, you need to queue up or make a reservation just to get a table.DSC_0377Then if you want to bring your own wine, you got to pay corkage. And mind you, there is no waiter or waitress to do the pouring for you. It entirely self service so I not too sure why they charging $15 for corkage.DSC_0389Coffeeshop ambience, no air con, no service and yet to get a table, we had to make a reservation. So what is the draw at this place?

It the food. This coffee shop sells only “ang moh” food like burger, wings, pasta, sausage, French food and craft beer!

This is the main stall and the equivalent of the zhi zhar stall at normal coffeeshop. There is even a counter at one of the pillar to take the food order. This stall sells food the equivalent of the noodles like pasta.
DSC_0388These two sell burger and French food.DSC_0387This one sells fish and chips and all things fishy
DSC_0386 This is the dessert stalls and sells all sort of nice looking cakes. DSC_0385 Saved the best for last. This one has kickass fried chicken wings!DSC_0384We didn’t realise one got to make reservation at this place. We were lucky we came early and managed to get an empty table.  And these are what we ordered.

A whole grill fish which costs $18.00DSC_0383

Fish and chips for $10.00DSC_0381Portobello mushroom for $8.00DSC_0382A beef burger with added bacon which costs a whooping $18.00
DSC_0378And 4 chicken wings fo $8.00DSC_0375All these plus 2 beers caused us slightly over $80.00. Not cheap by coffee shop standard but cheap if compared to restaurant. But price is one thing. How about the food? Judging from the crowd, most seems to think the food is worth the price and the wait nevermind the ulu location.

I be back for the French food and the stew and dessert.

 

Kluang Rail Coffee

I was told that when in Kluang, we have to drink the famous Kluang Rail Coffee. So after our hike, we decided to adjourn to one of the outlets since we had passed by a few on our way to Gunung Lambak. To our surprise, instead of stopping at one of the mall, our driver brought us to this place.22-IMG_8740Instead of bringing us to one of the air con branches, our driver brought us to the original outlet at the Kluang KTM station. It looks like a more modernised sarabat stall. And the place was packed. The prices of the drinks and snacks seem pretty reasonable.20-IMG_8734

And this is my coffee. Is it really that good? 21-IMG_8737Unfortunately because I was craving for some sugar, I didn’t order the kosong. The sweetness of the condensed milk and sugar drowns out the flavour of the coffee but still I think it was a pretty fragrant cup of coffee but not one that I will specially goes all the way to Kluang for.

One interesting thing about the place and as I understand is common in Malaysia is that the stall will leaves small packet of nasi lemak or bee hoon on the table and those who want to eat just help themselves and pay up later. The whole system is build on trust.11059918_10207047836818146_3489308428716071909_n

I think such a system won’t work here in Singapore. What is going to happen is they will eat it and discreetly throw the wrappers away and don’t pay.

Anyway, eating and drinking at this laid back place was real cool. Too bad we didn’t have time to hang around longer as we had to rush off for the real meal.

Street Food in Beijing

I enjoyed eating street food whenever I travel overseas. And one of my favourite place for street food is Bangkok which has almost everything. And then what I saw in Beijing blew me away. There at Wangfujing was streets after streets of food. And according to the local, this is not the best. There is apparently another place which has better food. But what was available at Wangfujing was more than enough.

Here are some pictures. First up, the nice looking stuff and desserts

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This is some sort of pastries

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Rice ball with yam, banana and coconut filling

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Fried durian!

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Fruits and the famous pintanhulu

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This is supposed to be an imperial delicacy eaten by the Empress

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Not ice cream but some sort of rice cake

Next up is all the more mundane looking stuff:

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Grilled pigeon I think

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All sort of fried fish

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Fried crab claw

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Pancake

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Mantou. But not too sure what meat are those though

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Whole crab. How to eat?

Last but not least, the yucky stuff

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The white thingy is snake and the round thingy are cocoon

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Meal worms and grasshoppers

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Seahorses and lizards

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Crickets

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Giant scorpions

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Centipedes and those black things are spiders!

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Star fish! How could they possibly eat this?

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And last something more normal looking. All sort of meats and crustaceans

Contrary to my usual self, I did not try any of the yucky stuff. Firstly wasn’t too sure how hygienic it was and secondly, some of the creepy crawlies were still alive although pierce on the stick! No way I am going to eat such cruel food!