Food News

What Would You Eat Atop Mount Everest?

November 17, 2016

Have you heard of One Star House Party? No? Okay, let me explain. Earlier this year, former Noma chef Jesse Sharman created a nomadic dining experience that spans the perimeter of the world, going to such varied hotspots as Mumbai, Muscat, Nairobi, Reykjavik, and Tasmania. Sharman over here wants to open 20 popups in 20 different countries over 20 months. (Watchword here is “20.”) In the fourth stop of this peripatetic culinary tour happening next month, Sharman has planned to trek to a base camp at a dizzying altitude of 17,000 feet in the Himalayas to create a pop-up Nepali restaurant there.

For a “steep” (haha!) price of $1,050, not including airfare, fifteen travelers get to walk for two weeks before reaching the base camp. The whole trip lasts 14 days. These are quite trying circumstances! Travelers will have to fly directly from Kathmandu to Lukla airport, and they'll need down jackets, sleeping bags, and water purifying tablets for their journey. Okay, this crazy kid culinary excursion to Nepal sounds cool, but I’ve got so many questions. Who attends these trips? I’ve gleaned, from videos of past trips to Vietnam and Thailand, that it attracts an unsurprisingly adventurous lot; given the physical demands of this particular Himalayan terrain, though, along with the price point, what avid climbers will they recruit? Hm...

More importantly, though, what will they cook when they get there? Sharman hasn't planned his Nepali menu yet. Interesting. I'm afraid Himalayan, and Nepali cuisine more widely, hasn't yet had its proverbial "moment" over on these shores—most Americans, for example, know it through momo (dumplings), if they know it at all. (Yeah, I get that this is a self-own; our own site has, like, a grand total of one whopping recipe from the region. That needs to change. Please submit your recipes if you've got them.) There is barely any Nepali food over here in Manhattan. I’ve counted about two restaurants in the vicinity of our offices. One of my favorites, Cafe Himalaya over in the East Village, offers some great dishes unlike any I've eaten elsewhere, from thukpa, a noodle soup, to shapta, a spicy beef dish. I hope you've got a Nepali restaurant near you, or cook some of it yourself. I have many questions about this One Star expedition, and, until I can afford a trip this extravagant, no answers. Some momo will suffice.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Allison C. November 18, 2016
There are lots of great Nepali restaurants in Queens! Head on over to Jackson Heights.
Chris K. November 17, 2016
lots of Nepali restaurants in Queens. I hear NYC has this thing called the subway
Amber B. November 17, 2016
Dal Bhat! It's the most common food on the trek to base camp. It is a lentil soup, rice and curried vegetables, simple but tasty. Also garlic soup was common and delish. Many of the guest houses will try and make western food, but that's risky - I ordered spaghetti once and it was noodles with ketchup. Ick. Also, as a side note, I had to laugh when I saw your recipe that was attached with this article was for a pie - that would take hours to cook at 17,000 feet! My sister had a birthday up here and we paid to have a cake made - it was cooked on a stovetop for 8 hours!