Everest Steak House and Yak Steaks
Images featured here and more can be found at my Nepal Flickr Set.
We heard rumors and rumblings about this restaurant, Everest Steak House, located in the heart of Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal. It was soon decided that this would be the place of celebration once we returned victorious from our trek. As it turned out, the hardest part was not the actual trek, but in the eating of this enormous steak! Apologies to vegetarians.
The plan was to have a yak steak upon return to Kathmandu… except they don’t serve yak (but they do have buffalo). Luckily, I tested the waters in the Sherpa village of Khumjung, near Namche Bazar, a few days before and tried the yak there.
This yak “steak” was an …interesting… dish. Our host was a jolly Sherpa woman running her guesthouse with a couple of children about that sometimes needed more clothes. I inquired about the yak and was told it was on hand, unlike other places at higher altitudes. “Okay,” I thought, “I’ll try it up here in case I can’t find it elsewhere, plus it will be ‘authentic’ in this Sherpa village, even though the Sherpas themselves don’t eat the thing.”
The fact they don’t eat it should have been a warning. Yaks (and all related yak/cow crossings) are held in reverence as per Hindu belief. Reportedly, the creatures do on occasion “fall off the trail” and are thus available to consume.
What I got was more like a hamburger steak; ground, mashed, greasy and a bit too crispy, though I did ask for well-done to be safe. It was not good, but it had to be done. And now I’ve had (what I hope was) yak.
But back to Everest Steak House. After some deliberation (what to get?, should we split?), the jovial staff convinced us each to get a full plate of I-don’t-remember-what-huge-cut-of-meat (750 NRs. or about $11.85). “Yes,” they smiled, “you can eat it all.”
The plates were brought out amongst wide-eyed stares from the other patrons. And we knew it was trouble:
A classic case of eyes bigger than our stomachs. The waiters had some hush-hush bets about how we would leave our plates. We certainly were not the horses to bet on though. I managed to finish about half the steak and most of the trimmings (fries and vegetables). Steve put down more steak, but left more peripherals, so it was about the same.
At some point we agreed there was no point in forcing it all down, as hindsight always says, contrary to the prodding of the waiters. Even so, the boundary of good sense was pushed and we ambled more than walked to the hotel with our leftovers. I don’t think I even finished my beer.
And I’d go back and do it again.