The Best Chicken Dish must try in Annapurna Trekking: Day 5

It’s now the 5th day of my 50th birthday present, the Annapurna Base Camp Trekking in Nepal! Congratulations to me! I survived 8 hours of non-stop trekking at high altitude, along with unrecognised altitude sickness on the 3rd day. After five days of trekking, I was starting to feel like I was settling into our daily routine. Moreover, I was noticing an improvement in my overall well-being and mental state, which I hoped continues.

As usual, we woke up at 7 am, had breakfast, and departed around 8:30 am. During breakfast, Mr. Ram outlined our itinerary for the day, a routine we had become accustomed to. With hand gestures waving his hand, he explained, ‘Today, we’ll go down a little, climb up a bit, go down again, and then climb up again.’ Watching Mr Ram, I couldn’t help to think, but I thought the person would see the path in his head, he explained exactly what would be in his head. I often missed the details he shared in the morning, but ultimately, all I needed to do was walk!

Mr Ram also mentioned that we were planning to go to Chomrong today and assured us that we would get some delicious food there. Oh…delicious food! I was determined to give my best effort on the trek. Let’s go, we’re on our way!

I must mention the food experience while trekking in Nepal. As a foodie myself, I have to admit that the food wasn’t great at all, even our favourite trekking dish, Dal Bhat, didn’t live up to expectations as a curry dish. During trekking, food wasn’t a top priority. Nepali trekking was more about the experience of trekking and enjoying the natural beauty of Nepal, rather than seeking out gourmet meals or luxury treatment.

However, don’t get me wrong – soup-like curry Dal Bhat was an excellent lunch or dinner option, providing great comfort and nourishment for tired stomachs and bodies. It was actually the perfect food for us and remained our favourite dish throughout the trek. So, now you understand, how I was excited to hear good food from Mr Ram! hahaha.

The area we trekked through was truly idyllic. With lower altitude, the vegetation thrived, and we even spotted free-range chickens roaming about. It reminded me of my grandmother’s place from my childhood, where I used to visit and wander around by myself.

Indeed, as Mr Ram said, went up, went down, and went up again hahaha. But it wasn’t bad at all, definitely my body was getting used to it.

Occasionally, we would encounter mules passing by, their bells ringing melodiously from the bells hanging around their necks.

OK, I attach the photo, you can see the stairs going up and down. When you see a view like the path going up and down with stairs along the hills, try not to dwell on how hard it might be or how many stairs there are. Instead, focus on the beauty around you and enjoy the view. If you spot those stairs, just pretend you didn’t see them and keep moving forward.

The Trekking Business Is a National Project in Nepal

As mentioned in previous posts, there are numerous teahouses and guesthouses along this road. Depending on the location, some places have guesthouses every hour or even every 30 minutes, ensuring trekkers have ample options for accommodation along the way.

According to Mr Ram, the trekking industry has become a major source of income for Nepal, with new guest houses and teahouses opening along trekking routes every year. Indeed, as we walked, we noticed many new buildings under construction, and several of the guesthouses where we stayed were also newly renovated or built. On the other hand, I often pass by guesthouses that appear somewhat retro and resemble aging shacks, raising concerns about their sanitary conditions and outdated facilities. However, with new guesthouses and lodgings being constructed on the outskirts of the area, it seems others share similar thoughts. Perhaps replacing the old dormitories with newer facilities would be a beneficial move.

At a short break village, my son entered a little shop to purchase some juice. He found a pomegranate juice which became his favorite drink during our trekking. Meanwhile, I indulged in orange juice, savouring the chewy pulp. Mr Ram approached my son and, as always, checked the expiry date on the juice can before allowing him to drink it. I couldn’t help but feel grateful for his constant care of my son’s safety even over his own parents.

In this area, there are numerous suspension bridges, varying in length from long to short. My husband, who trekked on the Everest side 25 years ago, was surprised to see that the suspension bridges were now made of steel. In the past, they were constructed with wood and rope, often missing boards in places.

However, nowadays, the bridges are made of steel, and there are even signs in English that say, ‘If a mule is passing by, please wait until it passes.’ In rural Nepal, mules are equivalent to cars, emphasizing the importance of safety and awareness on the bridges.

By this time, my son, who had previously been afraid of heights, seemed to have overcome his fear and was now enjoying swinging on the suspension bridge with Mr Ram. I watched as both of them laughed loudly, swinging in the middle of the bridge…..

As we continued our walk, we heard the voices of children calling out, ‘Chocolate please, chocolate please!’

As we looked up at the little wall, we noticed small children peering at us from inside the fence. The scene reminded me of postwar Japan when I heard them calling out for chocolate. Then, Mr Ram cautioned us, ‘Don’t give chocolates or sweets. If you give them once, they’ll get used to it, and about 100 kids will come to you.’

I’m sorry, I don’t have any chocolates with me. I got some from Mr Ram too!

However, I recalled seeing a tweet from a Japanese couple who had travelled in this area, carrying bags of candy that they handed out to children. It appeared that they were trekking independently without a guide or porter. To be honest, I couldn’t help but wonder about their decision when I saw their tweet.

If I were a parent of these children, I would certainly oppose any behaviour that encourages begging or dependence on handouts. These children are not beggars; they are simply village children living their everyday lives. That’s why I understand Mr Ram’s advice not to give them anything, as it could foster a habit of begging. Moreover, I see it as a form of arrogance from those who give away things to these kids. While these children may not have access to the same resources as wealthier individuals perceive. From the perspective of the locals, they are not considered poor; they are simply living a normal life. I couldn’t help but wonder how the locals felt about tourists who have such arrogant behaviour that might be seen as disrespectful or insensitive to locals.

Returning to Mr Ram’s story, the school had a boarding house for children who faced challenges commuting from distant villages. This arrangement allowed them to stay and study during the week, then return home on weekends.

The children in the photo appeared to be quite young, yet I captured an adorable moment of them brushing their teeth. Despite their tender age, they were studying away from their parents. I couldn’t help but admire their determination and wish them all the best!

Well, just when I thought I was starting to get hungry, Mr. Ram stopped at a tea house for lunch. Both my husband and I opted for Dal Bhat, a dish I found myself craving when hungry. Interestingly, while it satisfied my appetite during lunchtime, it wasn’t something I particularly desired for dinner.

Their menu dishes were all rich in carbohydrates, likely because they are essential for sustaining energy during exercise, and the body naturally craves them. Additionally, it’s delightful to discover that each tea house offers slightly different variations of Dal Bhat.

Sorry, I don’t have any photos, but sharing it from my previous blog post.

As usual, it took about an hour after placing our order for the food to arrive. By now, we had grown accustomed to the wait, so we settled into our routine of sipping tea, engaging in conversation, teasing our son, and playing games to pass the time until our meals arrived.

After enjoying a lovely lunch, we resumed our walk. As we proceeded, a distant cry caught our attention. In Australia, it might have been the bleating of sheep, but here in Nepal, it was the sound of goats. On our first day, we encountered a large herd of goats, which thrilled our city-born son. So, I expected another sizable gathering, but instead, we came across a scattered group of goats grazing freely on both sides of the trek. While observing them, it reminded me of recent news about Australia’s ecosystem collapsing due to the overpopulation of wild goats. Nevertheless, amidst the goats, there were many baby goats, and they were absolutely adorable.

While we were walking along the trek, we encountered a cow. No, a buffalo this time. Yes, animals were everywhere you went on this trek.

As we continued our journey, a few mules passed by. The path was quite narrow, requiring us to be cautious not to fall. In the photo, you can see my son and Mr Ram standing on the side of the hill wall. Typically, you should stand on the wall side rather than the cliff side, but upon reviewing the photo, I realised that I was standing on the cliff side. I suppose I felt nervous because the mules approached suddenly. If the mule had come too close, I might have fallen.

Relaxing in Chhomrong: Enjoy a Massage!

After a relatively relaxed trek, I began to sense that we were nearing our destination for the night, Chomrong. The village appeared to be quite sizable, evident from the gradual increase in the number of local houses (not these guest houses or teahouses) and fields along the way.

Essentially, villages were situated within valleys, hence of course we were going up and down stairs. To reach Chomrong village, we had to go down a considerable number of stairs, which was challenging for my knees. Descending was particularly tough, as it often causes more discomfort for some individuals compared to ascending. It’s essential to descend cautiously, distributing your weight evenly and avoiding putting too much pressure on your dominant foot.

Alright, finally, we reached Lucy Guest House! Our accommodation for the night, where Mr Ram had promised delicious food. We had already enjoyed a spectacular view. I was looking forward to the breathtaking view of the clear morning air the next day. Chhomrong wasn’t a small village; they even offered massages. When we saw the sign saying ‘Massage’, Rex immediately went to try it out.

I would ask Rex about his massage experience during dinner. My husband suggested, “If Rex said it was good, you should go and have one too.” But thinking about the hassle of going up and down the numerous stairs (less than 40 steps) to get to the massage place, I rathered relax in bed instead.

Since Rex went for a massage, we chose to stay in our bedroom until dinner. As there was no area to put our luggage, so we brought in a small table from outside. Fortunately, our room was conveniently close to the dining room, where the Wi-Fi was set up, and we enjoyed excellent connectivity.

Usually, upon checking into each guesthouse, we would check our emails, and my husband would call his mum or update our son about our trekking schedule. Our son would often occupy himself by drawing on his bed until dinner time.

Our room was clean and equipped with a toilet and shower. However, to our disappointment, only cold water came out of the shower, likely due to the gas bottle being empty. We informed Mr Ram, but he assured us that it should be fine as the guesthouse owner said to him. Nonetheless, we decided to go to the bottom of this building and use the shared shower room. Though the water wasn’t hot enough, it was still better than sleeping with a sweaty body, so I quickly finished up before it got colder.

I noticed that most of the rooms we stayed in had a toilet or bathroom attached to the room. However, in some other rooms, only beds were provided, and the bathroom was shared outside. Unfortunately, Rex’s room did not have a toilet. We appreciated Mr Ram for taking good care of us throughout our journey as a family.

Additionally, during the trek, Mr Ram provided an empty can or bucket for us to use in the room for peeing in the middle of the night. Since we consumed a lot of water to prevent high altitude sickness, we found ourselves needing to urinate frequently. For our son, Mr Ram suggested it would be easier for him to use a bucket or tin.

Also, there were no wood drum heaters here, so we had to dress a little warmer. Nevertheless, considering the altitude was around 2000m, it wasn’t excessively cold, so wearing a fleece and down vest was sufficient. While we were trekking in late November, Nepal was transitioning into winter. Naturally, the temperatures were dropping, and there were fewer tourists around. I must say, it was the perfect time to embark on this trek. My husband, who had previous experience with trekking in Nepal, believes that November to early December is the optimal time to visit before the snow begins.

After Rex came back from his massage, we gathered in the dining room for dinner. My second son adores Mr. Ram. He was sitting next to him and drawing.

We asked Rex how his massage was, and he replied, “Hmm, it’s good, not too bad. But I prefer a bit stronger massage, so it wasn’t enough for me.” Surprisingly, he mentioned that he used to work as a masseur, which we didn’t know before.

Then, the two middle-aged men ordered beers and cheered and I enjoyed sipping on my ginger-honey-lemon tea while waiting for Mr. Ram’s recommended chicken dish. As usual, it took quite a while for our order to arrive, and we joked that perhaps they were preparing to kill a chicken from their backyard for us. Who knows?

Alright, as a foodie myself, we all decided to order the “roast chicken,” which was not listed on the standard menu found everywhere on this trekking. We were excited about trying something unique to this guesthouse as Mr Ram mentioned.

However, when our order arrived, it turned out to be a “deep-fried chicken leg”, no matter how you looked at it!

Hahahahaha! We burst into laughter, but when we took our first bites, It was surprisingly so delicious! Wow!!

What an indescribably delightful taste! The chicken was fried with just a touch of salt, resulting in crispy, fragrant skin. Moreover, the oil used was fresh, without any trace of the usual odour of old oil. Being free-range and pasture-raised, the chicken had a lot of flavour.

The accompanying chips were simply cut and fried, evoking a homemade sensation. As for the coleslaw, it had just the right amount of mayonnaise, perfectly balanced and not overpowering, which suited my palate perfectly.

Anyway, it was delicious. Well, I was really hungry. We could have bought sweets and snacks, like Pringles, but I generally avoid junk food like that, so it was a healthy choice.

Well, thank you very much for the meal! It was so delicious, again! Even though our son wanted to have this for breakfast, the guesthouse owner said they didn’t serve it for breakfast. Of course, I could understand not making this early in the morning.

Nights always end early in Nepal. Or rather, we just go to bed early, hahaha. Good night.

To be continued….Day 6.

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