In Nepal, where clean water and sanitation are often hard to come by, you are nearly guaranteed at the very least, gastrointestinal distress, and at the most, parasites or typhoid. A drop of water accidentally falling into your mouth while showering might strike you down with giardia or some other nasty— and the risk of getting sick increases during the monsoon season. Street food is out of the question, and raw veggies and salads are generally a no-no (there are some establishments who claim to wash their produce in ionized water, but unless you see this for yourself, you have to merely trust that they do). Having toughened my stomach early on in life on the various street foods of Cairo and other places, I usually do not succumb to stomach bugs, and as I have mentioned in earlier posts, I successfully avoided any problems in Nepal during the last two summers— even while eating in hole-in-the-walls. This time however, I was struck down.
But what was it? Was it the greasy breakfast we shared that first morning in Pokhara? Perhaps it was the roadside chow mein we scarfed down at a rest stop along the way. My bets are on the Newari buffalo dish we enjoyed at a restaurant by the lake— if you've seen a butcher shop in Nepal, you'll understand why— because I doubt it was the fried eggs and Tibetan bread we ate the second morning.
We'll never know what kept us from trekking; leaving us with mini-adventures within five minutes of our guesthouse, but what I do know is that a diet of banana porridge, banana lassis, toast and mint tea sure helps your stomach feel a little less awful. During this abstaining of everything that was not bland or affiliated with bananas, we discovered that a little café called am/pm toward the beginning of Pokhara's Lakeside region, had the best banana lassis we had ever tasted. I don't know what they do differently, but it seems the ratio of fruit to yoghurt is more in favour of the fruit, and when my stomach was a little stronger, I moved from the banana to the exquisite mango lassi.
My goodness, just looking at this photo makes me salivate— and mangoes are hard to come by in Istanbul, which crushes any thoughts I have of attempting to recreate this beauty. Sigh...