Spiritual Culture; Spiritual Food
Nepal’s culture is imbued with spirituality, and the two main religions that live side by side here are Hinduism and Buddhism.
Both religions have important customs surrounding food — from the things that are eaten to the ways that food is prepared.
In Buddhism, food is produced and consumed with non-violence in mind; that means that most meals are vegetarian or vegan.
Certain pungent foods are also avoided — including onions and garlic — as they’re said to cause emotional disturbances.
Hindus, too, abide by ahimsa (non-harming) in their culinary cosmology.
Food is believed to be a gift from the divine, and to be treated with respect. From early childhood, followers of Hindu religion partake in vibrant rituals in which food is the centre point; a child’s first feeding is called annaprasana, and is celebrated as a samsara (a rite of passage).
In Hinduism, food that is worshipped brings strength and wonderful nourishment to the body.
Food With Love
So then, what do you get to eat in a culture built on the traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism?
Incredibly flavoured and beautifully spiced vegetarian and vegan food that nourishes your body and soul!
Boudhanath is a huge, stunning Buddhist shrine which we visit on the third day of the retreat. It’s full of Tibetan people and Tibetan crafts and religious items; and little restaurants hidden behind a curtain, which serve momo (dumplings). You’ll want to taste them!
And no matter where you go in Nepal — whether you’re in Kathmandu Valley, out in the rural villages, or in the wild on the trails — you will, without a doubt, come across a temple of some kind.
Each day, worshippers visit the temples and offer flowers and food.
Offering food to the gods is an important ritual act in Hinduism — without food offerings, worship is considered incomplete.
On retreat in Nepal, you’ll witness and take part in these rituals.
One of the wonderful things this will add to your experience is a new perspective on the food that you eat — you might start to feel that food really is divine.
Well…it isn’t hard to believe that food is divine when you taste the mouth-watering dishes you’ll be served on this journey. You’ll be offered some of Nepal’s most loved traditional dishes, including:
Dal bhat. It’s the national dish of Nepal — and when you taste it, you won’t be surprised that the country is proud of it!
Similar to an Indian thali, it’s a delicious selection of delicately spiced vegetables along with lentil soup, rice, and roti (flatbread). And you’re encouraged to eat slowly and savour every flavour.
Momo. These traditional Nepalese dumplings come with the recommendation of generations of highly skilled local chefs. The perfectly steamed dough is thin and fragile, and filled with spiced vegetables or cheese.
As well as these — and a few more! — traditional treats, you’ll have the chance to eat a wide variety of more modern meals; many of which have a Thai or Western influence.
Healthy And Nourishing
Because they’ve learnt to cook within a culture that values vegetarian and vegan food very highly, Nepalese chefs really know how to prepare vegetables, pulses, and plant-based proteins. The cuisine is creative and inspiring.
Eating well — in a way that will raise your energy and support your body — is easy when the food on offer is wholesome, nourishing, natural, plant-based and powerfully life-enriching. And all of the eateries you’ll enjoy on this retreat have been personally selected based on their atmosphere, service, the views out of the window…and of course, the tastebud-tingling food!
A retreat wouldn’t really be a retreat if you didn’t get to enjoy unbelievably good food that’s different from the stuff you cook at home. And the chefs who’ll cook for you in Nepal are passionate about what they put on your plate. So you can sit back at dinner time and embrace new friendships and new flavours.
Don’t miss the early bird price for this year's Nepal retreat! If you're one of the first 8 to book before 30 July 2019 you’ll save US$500. Click here to read more and secure your spot.