What to Eat and Drink in Tibet
Tibet is famous for its Shangri – La Cuisine filled with delicious seafood, noodles, casseroles, barbecued meats and much more. The name Shangri La comes to mind as its the most common and appraised food chains in entire China leave alone Tibet.
The recent jump in tourism gave way to the growing variety of foods. There would be various Nepali food, Indian Cuisine and Chinese food too. However these are mostly found in restaurants. Non Vegetarian food would be made from Yak meat. It is very surprising to know that fish is a rarity in Tibet. There is a popular belief or traditional custom that if you kill a fish only for one person or a couple of people it does not make sense.
However, the foods listed below are made from authentic Tibetan Cuisine. There is more food made from Yak produce. Most of the snacks there are also made with Yak Milk. Other famous pulses that grow in the region are barley.
In drinks one can try out Yak Butter Tea (made out of Yak Butter, Salt and Tea leaves); Chang(local beer made of barley) and Pinjopo (wine made of rice).
Authentic Tibetan Cuisine and Drink
1. Lhasa Beer: The World’s Finest Natural Beer
This is one of the favorite beverages in Tibet. This is a mixture of Barley, yeast, pure Himalayan water, and Saaz Hops. This is a rare beer and the first Tibetan Beer to go global.
2. Yak Meat Wraps: An Intense Flavored Delicacy
The Yak meat tastes somewhat like duck meat. So this makes a great treat if served with garlic sauce. This meat is similar to chewing gum as you have to keep chewing on it. Veggies with Yak Meat Wraps taste great.
3. Hot Chocolate with Momos: A Great Start for a Cold Morning
Momos are also locally available in the north eastern states. People know these generally as meat balls that could be boiled or even deep fried. The unique part about the Tibetan Momos is that you can enjoy these vegetarian and non vegetarian dumplings with a drink of Hot Chocolate. This is an amazing way to kick start your cold and sleepy day.
4. Salt & Spice Potatoes: An Essence of Tibetan Herbs
This is similar to the potatoes that are boiled at home. However here, this boiled salty and spicy potato dish is flavoured with Tibetan herbs that you can only get in Tibet. The herbs are necessary to keep you warm.
5. Tibetan Rolls: A Healthy Breakfast for a Healthy Day
This makes a healthy breakfast which gets you started to the plateau weather conditions. It is usually served along with Yak butter milk or even tea made with sweet milk.
6. Barley Wine (Chang Wine): Popular Lhasa Alcoholic Beverage
This beverage product contains very little alcohol. People generally have this drink after dinner. This drink made from barley is a popular alcoholic drink in Lhasa. There are several fruit and vegetable markets found in the Lhasa region. This would be available there.
7. Thenthuk: Thick Soupy Tibetan Noodles
This is one of the best snacks to have in the cold evening or nights. This is a Noodle soup filled with meat pieces. The liquid in the soup, the meat and the noodles are all thick in size. It makes you feel warm and heavy.
8. Naizha Cake: A Cake Packed with Cheese
This is again made from the cheese from Yak milk. So this is a cheese cake is made mainly from Naizha cheese. You can also taste the brown sugar with butter and zanba.
9. Tibeten Yogurt: Most Nourishing Yet Easily Digestible Food
This is yet another product made from Yak milk. Yogurt is a diary product that is easily digestible. This food makes a nourishing meal as it has healthy components. They are available in the small shops on the street.
10. Sweet Fritters: Super Confectionary to Snack On
These Tibetan pastries resemble twisted ribbons. They are sweetened stiff dough sprinkled with sugar. Sometimes sugar is substituted with salt. This is another great snack that goes best with a Hot Chocolate drink. You can even have it with buttered tea.
Where to Eat in Tibet - Famous Tibet Restaurants
While there are many food joints in entire Tibet, yet there are certain names which have made their mark all the way offering Chinese, Indian, Western and Sichuan dishes. While your operator will best guide you where to eat and where not to eat, still here some of the well – known ones which you can try if you wish to. However, it is advisable that you take your trustworthy guide or tour operator along if you wish to try restaurants on your own. Most of the resturants in entire Tibet open at 08:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m.
It's a restaurant which is very much liked by the locals. Try out curry rice dishes here.
Ganglamedo Bar & Restaurant
Its a evening lounge with local music, books, tattoo parlour and hot coffee. Its good for fast foods including Chinese items to pizza.
Its good one for lone travellers and adventurers who love evening walks. Try out ham roast here and french fries.
Xue Shen Gong Restaurant
Want to try authentic Tibetan food, be here. With waiters speaking fluent english its a good place to try something new if you are a non – vegetarian.
Lhasa Namaste Restaurant
Its a Nepali restaurant in the backstreets of Lhasa surrounded by garden courtyard.
New Mandala Restaurant
Mural filled 2nd floor or sunny roof – top its a good place well known for its Nepali Thali and chicken sizzler. It has branches in Shigatse and Tsetang.