Food on the Annapurna Circuit
Many trekkers express some concern about food available on the Annapurna Circuit. These concerns are often related to hygiene. Well, trekkers should rest assured. Once out of Kathmandu and Pokhara, hygiene and the safety of the food is as good as anywhere in the world. I'd rather eat in a village in Nepal than in a fast food restaurant in the USA. You will not find stainless steel sinks and granite work surfaces in villages on the Annapurna Circuit (yet), but a number of factors contribute to excellent food hygiene.
Firstly the climate, once in the mountain regions, is cool and dry. This does not encourage insects or bacteria which are often the cause of food problems. Foodstuffs of all types remain fresh for longer up here.
Next, the water is piped down from high mountain sources above human habitation. The water is cleaner than in most cities of the world simply because it does not need to be filtered and stored. The water in mountain villages is almost straight out of the clouds. (This is not the case in Kathmandu!). You will find public taps in every village. You are still wise to boil your water. Drink tea or beer.
Hygiene education is more common in Nepal than it is in the West. The Nepalese government has conducted an extensive health education campaign amongst the people. You can see the evidence in most villages - posters showing people the basics of hygiene and people following these practices.
Food preparation practices are adapted to the absence of stainless steel work surfaces in the simplest of ways. For instance, you will find that the Nepalese cooks can slice vegetables directly into the pot without the need to put them on a potentially dirty work surface as we would in the West.
Much food in the mountains is vegetarian anyway, and consequently is less likely to go off.
All food here is organic. In particular any meat you eat will be of a far better quality than in the west and have passed through fewer hands on its way to your plate. The Nepalese do not use factory farming or abattoirs or inject their animals with inappropriate drugs. Chickens, for instance, are all free range.
Food is not transported large distances. For instance if you are in a village with orchards, you will find plenty of apple dishes. You are eating the same food as the locals.
At Kalopani, on the Annapurna Circuit, there is a Swiss school to train lodge owners. Visit it.
Finally look at the Nepalese. Do they look unhealthy? What about their children? In many cases children of lodge owners are eating the same food as trekkers. Relax, you are in good hands!
Finally I include a menu from one of the Hotels on the circuit which is a typical example of the food available.