The word “Sherpa” literally means “people from the east.” They are believed to be from the Everest Region or even further east into Tibet and Mongolia. Tengboche (a popular stop along the Everest Base Camp Trek) is actually the oldest Sherpa village in Nepal.
Sherpa’s traditionally speak Sherpa, although today most speak Nepali and English as well. Sherpa is actually a mix of Tibetan dialects; however most Tibetans would not be able to understand it.
Sherpa people are Buddhist. Specifically, they follow Tibetan Buddhism. If you find yourself in the Everest Region, you can visit beautiful monasteries, admire the mani walls, and listen to the sounds of Om Padme Mani Hum playing.
It’s no surprise that Sherpas are famous for their mountaineering skills. When westerners began to explore the Himalayas, they would ask locals to help them navigate the treacherous landscape. The Sherpa people lived in the Himalayas and could navigate the mountains easily. Because they live at a high altitude, they are also acclimated to the lack of oxygen. Because of their unique skill set and the monetary promises, they became famous as mountain guides.
Most people will recognize the name Tenzing Norgay Sherpa who became famous as the first man to summit Everest besides Sir Edmund Hillary. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was the first female Sherpa to summit Everest which is the highest mountain in the world.
Thukpa, also known as Sherpa stew, is a thick noodle soup that has either meat or egg and vegetables. The “noodles” remind me more of savory dumplings. It’s often a little spicy and very hearty. It’s considered a winter delicacy in the Himalayas.
Alu Ko Roti, also known as a potato pancake, is another popular Sherpa food. The pancake is made from potato, eggs, and flour. It’s often served to welcome guests. Usually, it’s served with a green onion sauce and some spicy chili.
Thenthuk is often called pulled noodle soup. It’s similar to Thukpa however the noodles are different. Thunthuk can best be compared to chicken noodle soup in America, however you can order it with different meats, and it has more vegetables. It’s also usually a bit on the spicy side.
Su Chiya also known as butter tea is one of the famous hot drink. It is prepared by cooking milk, tea leaves, salt and butter together.