Guide to Eating and Drinking at Burning Man

Foodstuffs and recipes for temporary desert dwellers

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Heading down to Reno to start your Burning Man experience? Despite all the reading, planning, shopping, and waiting, there will inevitably be things that you forget. Thankfully, there are plenty of places in Reno where you can stock up on some extra groceries, enjoy a freshly cooked meal, and plug into a coffee shop for some last minute Wi-Fi.

The most important thing to keep in mind when food shopping is the heat. Perishables won’t last long, and with all the madness happening around you, there won’t be much incentive to cook. No-cook recipes, like these Fig Almond Butter Energy Balls (pictured) or this Marinated Tofu Satay are easy to make ahead of time and pack with you. Another easy snack to make in the RV on the way out there is to toss together some chickpeas and chopped avocado with olive oil, salt, and pepper — light, refreshing, and won’t make you feel like you’ve subsisted on Clif Bars for a week. (Plus, it’s super easy.) Burritos are easy, too, with canned vegetables and pre-cooked rice or meat. If nothing else, bringing frozen ice pops in a cooler will seem like the greatest idea you’ve ever had while you’re hanging out in the desert all day. (Photo courtesy of Allison Beck)

Burning Man veterans will tell you it’s all about packing the essentials: Coconut water for hydration (no refrigeration necessary), Trader Joe’s Tasty Bites for some Indian flavor, anything canned, and above all salty foods. When you’re dancing the night (and day) away, you’re going to need to replace your natural sodium levels. A bag of salted pretzels dipped into a jar of peanut butter is a quick and easy snack on the go. (Or spread a thick, sturdy peanut butter between two pretzels and create your own “sandwich” of sorts.)

After you’ve bought the essentials, and have shipped everything to your campsite, head off to Reno for some tasty local bites. Check out Ida 'n Willie's Roadhouse for some Native American flavor. Here you can visit the work of local artists, add water to your RV and on occasion enjoy some live music. Looking for a vegan-friendly spot? Head to the Pneumatic Diner (pictured) for a cozy atmosphere with food the locals swear by. And just before you’re finally ready to set out, stop by Bibo Coffee Company for a cup of (iced) Joe and some free Internet. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Kyle Rove)

Most people do not put food and Burning Man in the same line of thought, but they should! Nothing ruins a wild desert festival experience like dehydration, undeniable hunger pangs, and the secret yearning for a real meal. By planning ahead with some great No-Cook recipes, staying informed on what it’s really like to live in a desert, and indulging a bit beforehand, your Burning Man adventure will be both unforgettable for all the right reasons.