Top 7 Tibetan Foods You Must Try While Visiting Tibet
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Nicknamed as the “Roof of the World” for its towering peaks – Tibet, on the lofty Tibetan Plateau on the northern side of the Himalayas, is an autonomous region of China that shares Mt. Everest with Nepal.
Tibet is best known for its ethnic people and practices, beautiful landscapes of mountains and plateaus, and unique traditional cuisine tied to their culture and neighboring influences. Tibetan cuisine includes the culinary traditions and practices of Tibet and its peoples, many of whom reside in India and Nepal.
Check out these Top 7 Tibetan Foods You Must Try While Visiting Tibet.
Momo is a type of South Asian dumpling – native to Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, and the Ladakh, Sikkim, Assam, and Darjeeling regions of India. It is similar to Chinese Baozi and Jiaozi, Mongolian buuz, Japanese Gyoza, and Korean Mandu.
Momo is a Tibetan dumpling made from either meat or vegetables. Half-moon shaped, they can be steamed or fried, and are normally served with a chili sauce. Though resembling traditional Chinese dumplings, Tibetan Momo takes different forms. It could be round and crescent while the yak meat often is used as the filling. Of course, for vegetarians, cabbages, onions, and mushrooms, etc. are widely used ingredients for making Tibetan Momo.
2. Khaspe Pastries
Khapse (or khapsey) is a beloved, deep-fried pastry eaten and offered most commonly at Losar (Tibetan New Year), but also sometimes on other special occasions, like Tibetan weddings. There are a whole bunch of different kinds of khapse – from huge ones in the shape of a donkey ear (bhungu amchoe) that are placed as offerings on Losar Shrines, to the large braids of mukdung, to the crispy circles of Bulug, to the various little shapes of kaptog that are made only for eating, and down even to no-name little bite-sized diamonds of fried dough.
Tsampa or Tsamba is a Tibetan and Himalayan Nepalese staple foodstuff, particularly prominent in the central part of the region. It is roasted flour, usually barley flour, and sometimes also wheat flour.
Tsampa normally is eaten with salty Tibetan butter tea. Firstly you put butter tea inside the bowl and then add Tsampa flour into it. Later you use your fingers to knead Tsampa dough. Finally, you are ready to enjoy it. The calorie-rich Tsampa can provide sufficient protein, fat, and carbohydrate, and other nutrition for Tibetans, overall a vital source of energy for survival on the harsh plateau. Also, Tibetan people eat Tsampa at every meal and bring it as ready-made food when traveling.
Chaang is also known as barley wine is the traditional and mostly homemade alcohol in Tibet. Highland barley, millet, and rice grains are the major ingredients for Chang. As traditional alcohol, it is the most popular drink during Tibetan festivals and on other special occasions, such as wedding ceremonies and greeting friends, etc.
5. Lhasa Beer
The first historical record of beer in Tibet is Chinese, concerning a 638 peace agreement between Tang China and the new Tibetan kingdom of Songtsen Gampo includes the technological transfers of silk, paper, watermill, and beer production. Factory production of beer in Tibet began in the late 1980s under the influence of the Chinese who legalized formal production and established the Lhasa Brewery in 1988 on the northern outskirts of Lhasa. Lhasa Beer is the only Tibetan beer on the world market and has grown in production in recent years through the Lhasa Brewery Company’s increasing connections and investment internationally by Carlsberg.
6. Yak Butter Tea
Butter tea, also known as po cha, cha suma, Mandarin Chinese: suyou cha or gur gur in the Ladakhi language, is a drink of the people in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India, and, most famously, Tibet.
It is made from churning tea, salt, and yak butter. The tea used is a particularly potent, smoky type of brick tea from Pemagul, Tibet. A portion of this brick tea is crumbled into water and boiled for hours to produce a smoky, bitter brew called Chaku. This is then stored until used to make butter tea.
Tibetan Thenthuk Noodles are hand-pulled and usually served with simple vegetables and Brewis. Those who live in the cities of Tibet prefer to have Tibetan noodles and sweet tea as their breakfast, although in Amdo, Tibet, it’s a dinner dish. Making the soup consists of mixing the flour, kneading the dough, chopping the vegetables and meat, and boiling the soup. Some say Tibetan noodle soup is the most enjoyable for the meal as the soup tastes nice together with a bit of shallot.