How to avoid tourist trap restaurants in Nepal

Originally published at: How to avoid tourist trap restaurants in Nepal | Boing Boing


First world problems…

God forbid somebody rich enough to travel to Nepal for fun would spend an extra dollar in a country with a per-capita GDP of $1,000.

Colonialism at its finest.


I’ll have the Dalai Lama Burger, with a side of karma fries.


Ironically, a hand painted sign with a global brand like 7/11 or Starbucks generally means it is for locals, since tourists would know what a real franchise location looks like.


What caliber of restaurants are the ones being shilled by a white guy named Karl?

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This sounds like the kind of experience where we feel like we’ve learned a valuable skill (I’m not just a foreigner who is in Nepal for no reason—I have opinions about restaurants!) but really we have not


And you think that dollar is better spent propping up these small empires of hustlers rather than going to the family-run restaurants who almost certainly need it more?

Capitalism at its finest, I guess.


What defines a restaurant as a tourist trap? Who is part of an empire of hustlers? Maybe a restaurant with someone outside won’t have as good food, but that’s a matter of taste.
I have seen complaints about the prevalence of “backpacker food” across Southeast Asia leading to people not eating the local foods.

This. Absolutely.

I love that this family is making a go of their restaurant. I wish them every success. Money is money. People have to eat and pay bills. Supporting local and independent businesses is positive support, direct support, of something you want to see more of. Pragmatic business owners nearly always appreciate free positive advertising. Go Renu and Ramesh! Good on ya!

Since I don’t read or speak Nepalese, I for one am grateful for this English-speaking guide giving us the heads up. I have traveled along China’s east coast, there are plenty of tourist trap restaurants there too. I only wish I’d had the inside info on those before we ate in those.

The Nepalese have had a helluva time in past years with devastation and casualties from the 2015 earthquake(s). I salute their resilience.


Make mine Buddha style, one with everything.


Hold the meat?


Ok, so step 1 is learn to read the local language and know a bare minimum of local culture.

And honestly if you’ve gotten that far you’re already well ahead of the game.

My technique is at least once on a trip forget about recommendations/reviews, steel up my nerve, and walk into a random place off the main drag where it’s obvious they don’t speak english and rarely if ever see gringos. Always leads to something interesting.


You order karma fries, you’ll get what you deserve.


When in Rome.


Dharma Ketchup?


What? The shop w/ the hustlers outside trying to get you to come in is a trap? No way!



Dig this, as a Westerner, you would be considered untouchable, and if it were an authentic kitchen of a Brahmin family, you would not be permitted to enter it. And that authentic Brahmin family well? Only a Brahmin may draw water from it. Not that the Brahmins are the greatest cooks, but those are rules they live by.


I would say a place that is not honest and upfront about what a meal will cost (including hidden fees) and/or makes no effort whatsoever to provide good food commensurate with prices, knowing that the main clientele will be tourists who will never come back anyway, is a tourist trap.


This is universal. Eat where the locals eat. Eat at family run food businesses, not money spinners. I have done this in Europe, Asia the USA and locally at home on the highway. The food is better and better value. Tourist traps can cut corners that otherwise compromise return customers. It also gets you memorable meals of local delicacies you tend not to find in “safe for tourist tastes” menus.

At home, an example of the difference is between a generic burger sitting ready made in a Bain Marie and a freshly made “burger with the lot” with tasty patty, fresh salad and whatnot.


yes, but Karl has already been banned from India after tons of videos like this…