Food in Nepal: A mutton curry to avoid

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 17th, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Nepalese food.
Mutton Curry from Nepal

Mutton Curry from Nepal – maybe not the best

Mutton Curry from Nepal:

I like mutton. Some of the best mutton dishes I’ve had have been in India and certainly the single best roast leg of mutton I ever had was in Pakistan. What then when I see mutton curry on a menu in Nepal? Pakistan, India … Nepal. Surely it would have a hint of the former’s greatness?

Arrival of the mutton curry

My worst expectation of ordering a new meat dish in Nepal is that it will come with bone. As in the meat still attached to the bone. There’s nothing more wasteful for me than to see a plate full of 1mm thick meat under great chunks of white bone for two times the price of a plain vegetable option. So I was really happy to see this mutton curry came with no bone. Well, there were a few little bits but it was mainly meat.

I wasn’t too happy to see it looking a little watery but then again it’s Nepal so one can’t expect greatness with everything. At least I had my plate of mutton.

What did the mutton curry taste like

A little harsh to be honest. More a heavy burnt coriander flavor than anything else. It tasted more like goat than mutton too. It’s certainly not a dish I would want again. Which is surprising as I had in Pokhara which goes the extra mile in tourist fare ( do check out my guide to Pokhara).

The after effects of a mutton curry

Sure enough later that night the gurgling in my stomach kicked in. Then for the next two days it was me and the toilet spending much time together. The villan? The mutton curry of course.

Watery plate of mutton curry

Watery plate of mutton curry – never a good sign

A local friend called over and asked what was up. I explained what had happened. Then, once recovered, I went to visit them. Turns out they knew the restaurant owner where I’d had the curry.

Apparently it was indeed mutton. But it had been frozen. As as you may know in Nepal the electricity is not reliable at all with long periods of defrosting freezers being the norm. The result? Some really unhealthy mutton.

Strangely my friend told me the restaurant owner extended his apologies to me. But as I passed by his restaurant all I got was the usually friendly wave. No personal apology or anything.

Cultural differences in food poisoning

A few weeks later the restaurant owners wife saw me passing by and invited me in for lunch. I simply waved and declined. Then promptly took a right into the cafe next door. They weren’t too happy to see that and soon after the friendly waves stopped.

I asked my friend about this and he shook it off and said there was no problem. I could eat where I wanted to. The thing is if the man or even his wife had apologised in person to me rather than from I took as a third person I’d have gone back. But they didn’t. They just continued on as if nothing had happened. There’s a small chance that if I’d gone in they might have offered a free meal. But I doubt it.

It’s not just tourists who get bad meals

In Nepal there’s a huge effort made to create tourist food for their number one source of income – tourists. Meanwhile the locals eat Dal Bhat and many other types of food not always on display. Truth of the matter is if you’ve stayed in a Nepalese home, especially if your room is near the bathroom, you’ll hear that at least once a week there’s a personal toiletry problem.

While food that causes stomach problems in the “west” is practically illegal hence all the health and safety tests, in Nepal it’s “normal” to have bad stomach every now and then. It’s a shrug-off event. While to me, it’s more of an alarm bell warning.

So in this context the man and his restaurant didn’t quite see it as being a big enough problem to apologize over. While I on the other saw it as being the type of thing one should do.

Moral of the mutton curry

As I wrote earlier I like mutton. When in Pakistan or India do please try it. In Nepal however it’s important to note that sheep farming is not that popular. Even the most popular mutton restaurant in Kathmandu runs out of mutton quite regularly. Hindsight is great.

So if you see mutton on Nepalese menu you might want to keep this in mind before ordering!

This is an additional article featuring food from Nepal. Nepal’s number one industry is tourism. In covering food from Nepal I am including what you will find everyday in Nepal. From traditional Nepalese food to tourist food. Do read my article on what’s the food like in Nepal for more. 

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14 Great responses to Food in Nepal: A mutton curry to avoid

  1. Anna's World says:

    There’s such a huge division in Western mentality.. I cannot think of many people who would not sue in a case like this . In Nepal that’s not going to happen .But at least they should have apologised . Interesting insight yet again!

  2. Emma says:

    Glad you recovered! “Cultural differences in food poisoning” sounds like a bizarre reality TV cooking show!! Love it!!

  3. Gail says:

    Looks okay from here. But looks can be deceiving. Sorry about that, but a welcome sprig of intelligence on what never to eat in Nepal :)

  4. Martin says:

    I read your other food poisoning post it seems meat is a huge culprit to getting a bad tummy when traveling would you agree?

  5. Jan says:

    Ouch!! But interesting to learn about how the restaurant didn’t even apologize. Strange for a friendly people.

  6. Barbara says:

    So glad I read your post. We are planning a trip to Nepal in the near future and this bit of information has helped us tremendously. I’m sorry you experienced this misfortune.

  7. Eek- sorry to hear about your experience. Have you tried mutton curry in Lucknow, India? It’s amazing :-)

  8. Mrs Neupane says:

    I had a similar experience in Pokhara too on our last trip – Now I mainly stick to veggie options with occasional egg, fish or chicken when it’s cooked in a kitchen I approve of!

    We are Nepal at the moment do email if you’d like to meet up if you’re in Pokhara – we have an interesting personal story & are one of the many Nepali-Euro couples who’ve found a way to make life work :-)

  9. john says:

    Thank God i read your post i am going to Nepal next month and i must remember not to eat mutton anywhere in Nepal just because i don’t want to spoil my heavenly trip.