My favorite type of cuisine is Nepali food, and luckily for me, my mom happens to be an amazing cook and from Nepal. She and my dad (an American) met way, way back in 1987 when my dad was part of the Peace Corps in Nepal, and my mom was his Nepali language teacher. This summer we are all in Nepal visiting family, traveling around the countryside, and of course eating tons of Nepali food, so I'm basically living the dream.  

The majority of my mom's family still lives in Nepal. We are currently staying with my aunt, my mom's older sister, in Jhamsikhel, a neighborhood in Patan, the city next to Kathmandu. Luckily for us, my aunt also happens to be an amazing cook, and all these meals that you see were mostly cooked by her.

Without further ado, here is what my average meal in Nepal looks like. Disclaimer: The meals may look like this and be at these times only because I'm eating them at my aunt's house, so don't assume that all Nepali households eat like this.

5:30 am - Breakfast

Maya Giaquinta

Yup, you read that right. I am waking up willingly at 5:30 in the morning during my summer vacation to eat breakfast. Sometimes I sleep in a bit till 6:30 am, and sometimes I might even eat earlier at 5:00 am. All I know is that everyone else in the house is somehow always awake before me and done eating breakfast by the time I get downstairs. 

I always drink loose leaf green tea for breakfast along with a side of fruit like apples or bananas. Sometimes I also eat biscuits and a slice of bread from Hermann Helmer's German Bakery, which is just around the corner from my aunt's house. And other times, I eat one hard-boiled egg (not my favorite) because my aunt wants me to eat more protein.  

9:30 am - Lunch

Maya Giaquinta

The 5:30 am breakfast might not be a shocker for some early birds, but the 9:30 am lunch probably will be. I was slightly confused the first few days eating lunch because my body felt like I definitely shouldn't be putting this type of food into my body so early in the morning. But I eventually got used to it, and it makes sense since we wake up and go to sleep so early.

Lunch usually consists of daal (lentils), bhaat (rice), and tarkaari (vegetables). Today's lunch (pictured above) was black lentils, rice, potatoes, karela, omelet, and potato achaar. Karela is also known as bitter gourd, and achaar is basically any pickled dish that is usually eaten with lunch and dinner. 

The daal we eat is often black or yellow lentils, and the vegetable dishes range from potatoes to squash to beans. Sometimes there's a meat dish like fish or mutton, but not too often because many members of my family are vegetarians. 

12:00 pm - Snack 

Maya Giaquinta

Around noon, everyone gets a bit snacky. Snacks are often fruit-related like watermelon, grapes, or apples. It's usually nothing too big unless you're visiting other family or friends during the afternoon. If that's the case, you'll probably be stuffed by the end of your visit because your family and friends will always give you a lot of food whether or not you want it. 

2:00 pm - Tea

Maya Giaquinta

Every day around 2:00 pm is tea-time, something I think Americans really need to introduce into their lives because it's a great time to sit the family together, drink tea, eat biscuits, and catch up on the day. 

The tea is always milk tea, which is made on the stove top with milk and loose leaf black tea boiled together. Milk tea is delicious, and I definitely recommend trying it sometime with some biscuits. The biscuits we eat are Digestive biscuits, which despite the name, are really good, and I always dunk them into the tea to eat them.

5:30 pm - Dinner

Maya Giaquinta

Dinner is often pretty similar to lunch and incorporates any dishes that were left over from lunch. At my aunt's house, we usually eat dinner with homemade roti (bread similar to naan) instead of rice. Rotis are a great alternative to rice because they're less calorie-dense and taste amazing with daal and tarkaari. Today's dinner (pictured above) was yellow lentils, the potato dish from lunch, the potato achaar from lunch, and two new vegetable dishes: saag (a type of leafy green) and iskush (chayote squash). 

Something that wasn't pictured on my plate but I ate with lunch and dinner was dahi (Nepali yogurt). Dahi tastes pretty similar to regular plain yogurt except it's a bit more watery and curd-like, and I think it tastes better. Many Nepalis eat it with their rice, but I prefer mine after the meal as a type of dessert. Also, sometimes we have ghee with our meals, which is a type of refined butter and is eaten with rice. 

The meal times definitely took time to get used to because all of the meals except for dinner are eaten much earlier than I would usually eat them in the U.S. The list above is my average day of meals in Nepal at my aunt's house, so this doesn't show at all what my meals look like at restaurants, when we have guests over, or when we are guests at another person's house. Meals can get very complex with many, many dishes. I'm talking at least six appetizers, ten entrées, and three desserts. However, no matter what kind of meal I'm having in Nepal, I know that it'll be a good one.