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Food During a Trek or Hike

Each trek usually brings with it a different style of food. Part of the joy of any travel experience is sampling the many dietary delights that your journey has to offer. Trekking is no different, however usually the style of food is similar along the entire trek. So the food may seem great the first day, becomes monotonous after two weeks of it. I laugh when I remember after fourteen days of dal bhat saying, "Wow the dal baht is really good today, its much better than yesterdays." Therefore, its a good idea to bring some treats, but think before you buy. Whatever you bring must be carried and it has to keep well. Energy bars (non chocolate covered), nuts, dried fruits are all obvious choices, but I have also found flavored tuna and other local products to be a nice change of pace.

Keeping food fresh on the trail is always a challenge. One clever way to carry fresh meat without it going bad is to keep the animals alive. Our porter in Burma did this by carrying two chickens with us. It was a sad day when they ended up in the pot.

In lodge-based trekking the food is usually prepared in the center of the room or if its a more elaborate setup, a separate cooking room. When tent-based trekking there is usually a separate larger cooking tent where the food is prepared.

Along the trail, you never know what strange treats you might be surprised with. Below are pics of two different extremes. To the lower left, is an unlucky cow that was hunted, yup hunted, for a celebratory dinner. Seemed easier to just kill one from the field, but they tried to hunt it with a cross bow. In the end, they pulled out an ancient flint-lock gun and took it down. In contrast, the smoked mole to the lower right was in the wrong place at the wrong time. While I am usually game on trying just about anything, I passed on the mole.

A great addition on any trek is tea.  You can carry many different varieties to help break up a monotonous culinary routine.  Tea is lightweight, inexpensive and you can usually find interesting local varieties.  On a cold weather trek, I typically replace one of my water bottles with a tea canister and enjoy a soothing, hot drink during a break.  On the right, a Burmese porter drinks tea from a locally made tea cup.