Tibet Food & Restaurant Introduction
The basic Tibetan meal is tsampa, a kind of dough made with roasted barley flour and yak butter with water, teror beer.
Tibetans live on beef,mutton and milk products. As everybody knows,beef and mutton contain high heat energy,which is helpful for people living in the area of high attitude to withstand coldness.
Yak Butter,refined from the milk of cattles and goats,is the
daily food of Tibetans.The prevalent milk products are yoghourt
and milk sediment. Firstly put a little of Rtsam-pa,cheese power
and yak butter into a tea bowl, then pour tea .Eat the Rtsam-pa
after drinking up. With black tea as its original juice,sweet tea
contains other components such as milk and sugar,making it more
sweet and nutritious.
The Tibetans have lived from generation to generation on the Qinhai-Tibet Plateau, known as the "Roof of the World," a place high above sea level where the weather is cold and oxygen scarce. In the past, eating was a way of life due to limitations on natural resources and backward economic development. At present, along with development in the economy and popularity of scientific knowledge in Tibet, Tibetans can now pay attention to nutrition, hygiene and scientific diet therapy.
More than a dozen years ago, before winter fell, Han cadres and workers in Lhasa were busy digging vegetable cellars to store the "Old Three Vegetables" - turnips, potatoes and Chinese cabbage, while Tibetans were busy purchasing and storing huge chunks of beef and mutton.
At present, vegetable cellars in front of or behind houses in Lhasa
have been replaced by vegetable baskets in housewives' hands. After
work, housewives are heading to markets to buy live fish, fresh
pork, beef, mutton and vegetables of various kinds. In the past,
Tibetans were likely to say, "I don't eat vegetables, I want
meat." At present, they have changed their lifestyle and have
started eating vegetables, leading to the establishment of over
10 vegetable markets in Lhasa with a daily non-staple food supply
of 85,000 kilograms, of which 35,000 kilograms are vegetables.
Private peddlers saw the potential of the market in Lhasa and transported vegetables and seafood from Sichuan and coastal cities by air. A cadre who came from Sichuan to work in Tibet said in surprise, "It is amazing that I can get the same vegetables in Lhasa as in Chengdu (the
capital of Sichuan Province).Moreover,I can get melons or fruits like white grapes, hami melons from Xingjiang and seedless oranges from Nepal, which cannot be found in Chengdu."
Qoinpe, a Tibetan cadre, always told every host he met, "I
don't eat grass." However, vegetables are a must on his dining
table now. He said, "In the past physical examination every
year, the doctor often wrote in the suggestion column 'low-fat foods.'
Since last year, he stopped writing the same thing."
Fostering the habit of a scientific diet has been spread from cities and townships to the vast farming and pastoral areas. Even in northern Tibetan areas where beef and mutton have served as staple foods for hundreds of years, vegetables and fruits are becoming more and more welcome. At the free market in Nagqu Township, stands of vegetables and fruits are much more than those selling beef and mutton. Farmers in Yongda Township of Doilungdeqen County changed the old way of simply planting qingke, a kind of highland barley and wheat, and now cultivate nutritious South American corn, which not only adds another staple food, but also supplies markets in Lhasa.
At present, farmers in the suburbs of Lhasa grow vegetables in greenhouses. Even in the cold winter, people can still have fresh vegetables. Dinba, a farmer in Dagze County, said whenever he came back from Lhasa he used to bring several kilograms of vegetables from Chengdu. "Things are different now," he said. " I cook several vegetables at home for a meal and take vegetables with me when working in the fields."
Buffets, a scientific and hygienic way of eating, have become more and more popular in farming and pastoral areas in Lhasa recently. Basang Yuzhoin, a farmer in Chengguan district of Lhasa, treated guests who came for her daughter's wedding to a buffet. Over a dozen courses were cooked exquisitely; half of them were vegetables, winning high evaluations from the guests. Basang Yuzhoin said, "Traditional turnips cooked with beef and mutton braised with potatoes no longer fit the taste of modern people. A buffet is welcomed by villagers because one can choose what he wants, it is up to hygienic standards, and has no waste."
There are not only abundant forests but also edible plants in the forest areas in eastern Tibet. At present, many wild plants, including edible fungus, have become reliable sources of considerable income for local people.
Along with development in medicine and health care, Tibetans are getting to know heart and blood diseases caused by high-fat foods like beef, mutton and butter and are more interested in low-fat high-protein foods. In the past fish was regarded as an embodiment of dragons, a mythical animal in ancient China. So eating fish was considered a taboo. Dainzin, an old man in Jungba Village near the Lhasa River, recalled when he couldn't make a living before 1959, he wrapped fish in cloth and hawked in front of his house, calling in a low voice "turnips, turnips." Those noble men in Lhasa who were tired of eating beef and mutton didn't care about the taboo and changed their extra food for fish. Now it is popular to eat fish among Tibetans. The supply of live fish couldn't meet the demand in markets. As a result, Hungba Village has become a well-known prosperous fishing center.
In the vast countryside of Tibet few people ate chicken, and some
even freed roosters in mountains, thinking it was unworthy to "kill
a life for a handful of meat." At present, chickens, eggs,
pork, beef and mutton have all become farm food. A farmer in Bomtoi
Township of Dagze County made use of a brook in front of his house
to raise thousands of Beijing ducks, bringing him lots of money.
In fact, along with changes in diet, some habits, including eating raw meat, have been replaced by scientific, nutritious and hygienic diet therapies. This is an important step among Tibetans heading for modern civilization, as well as a factor in promoting the quality of the nationality.
According to statistics from the health department in Tibet, life span on the plateau has been increased from 36 years before 1949 to 65 years at present. It is not only because of the development in medicine and health care, but also because of magnificent changes in diet therapy as well.
Tibet Local food
Yak Butter Tea
Teais regarded as something belonging to the gods. For the Tibetan, from Zanpu (King) to Lama, from the rulers to ordinary citizens, they eat more cheese and meat than vegetable and fruit, so tea becomes an indispensable beverage to them in every meal.
Major kinds of tea drunk by the Tibetans include buttered tea, tea with milk, tea with salt, and green tea. According to a survey, 73.9 percent of the respondents voted the buttered tea as the most popular kind followed by the tea with milk.
The Yak Butter Tea takes tea as its main material
mixed with some other food, so one will find various tastes when
drinking it. The tea not only can get one's body warmed up, but
also can nourish the drinker.
There is a set of rules to follow when one visits a Tibetan family and is invited to drink the buttered tea. One cannot drink up the whole bowl of tea in one breath, but lick the mushy tea while drink it. The hospitable host often keeps the guests' bowl filled up; so don't touch the bowl if you don't want to drink the tea. If you have had enough and cannot drink anymore, you may leave the bowl there for the moment and drink up the tea when you're leaving. Only one follows these rules in line with the customs and manners of the Tibetans can she/he receive a warm welcome from them.
The basic Tibetan meal is tsampa, a kind of dough made with roasted barley flour and yak butter with water, teror beer. It has a certain novelty value the first time you try it, but only a Tibetan can eat it every day and still look forward to the next meal.Outside Lhasa, Tibetan food is limited mainly to momos and thugpa.
Highland Barley, also called Barley,is the principal material used to make Tsam-pa. Tibetan barley is widely grown in Tibet and on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau due its endurance to the local harshness and coldness.
Method of making: grind the sauted Highland Barley into flour then
mix it with ghee. The Tsam-pa made of Highland Barley are not only
the traditional food of Tibetan people,but frequently appears in
main hotels in
Lhasa as the main dish used to feast guests from home and abroad. In religious festivels,Tibetans will cast Tsam-pa to express their blessing to each other.
There are two main ways of preparing and eating the tsam-pa. One is to make a tsam-pa dough with the Tibetan buttered tea while the other is to make a porridge together with beef or mutton and vegetables such as turnip. The tsam-pa porridge is known as tu-pa.
Unlike the tsam-pa dough served with the Tibetan buttered tea, the tu-pa porridge is often served with sugar. The tsam-pa dough served with the Tibetan buttered tea more often than not tastes salty.
Lhasa Famous Restaurant
Tibet has unique food and drink due to its highland climate, religious beliefs and distinctive ethnic customs. Famous traditional food includes butter tea and fried flour. Tibetans eat a lot of beef and mutton but avoid dog and donkey meat. ——Varied restaurants in Tibet
Makye Ame is one of the oldest Tibetan restaurants in Beijing. Travelers to Tibet may have come across their branch in Lhasa. There are two restaurants open in Beijing now. ——Ease your mind with a taste of Tibet: Makye Ame
Gesangmedo is located in a bustling street, but the tranquility and simplicity of the place make it easy to imagine on the remote Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. ——Authentically Tibetan cuisine: Gesangmedo
The Qomolangma Hotel is where you'll find the Tibet Autonomous Region's office in Beijing. It's not surprising, then, that the dishes served here preserve traditional flavors of Tibetan cuisine. ——Traditional flavors of Tibet: Qomolangma
Neighboring the Tibet Building and China Tibetology Research Center, King Gesar is the place for anyone who wants a typical Tibetan meal. ——Dining in the heart of Tibet: King Gesar
Much of the food in Norbulingka Tibetan Restaurant is presented in a Sichuanese or Cantonese style, while the main ingredients are more traditionally Tibetan. ——Yak attack Norbulingka Tibetan Restaurant
Besides the above five Tibetan restaurants, there are other Tibetan restaurants & bars in Beijing, such as Phurincang, Drolma, Yangjanma and Mani Lungta. ——Other Tibetan restaurants & bars in Beijing
You can also eat tasty Tibetan food in other cities including Shanghai and Sichuan. ——Tibetan food in other cities