Tibetan food and culture guide


WindhorseTour Travel Team's picture

All travelers must try the cozy restaurants in Lhasa and should not miss the four special foods in Tibet, which are buttered tea, Tsamba, yak meat and Cordyceps chicken soup. The mild Tibetan cuisine features in it's variety and unique flavor. You cannot complete your Tibet tour without the tasty Tibetan food in Lhasa. So make a note of these four food items in the Tibetan cuisine which you must try in Lhasa.

Buttered tea, a nutritious beverage that can repel coldness, enhance body fluid while quenching thirst and eliminate fatigue all at once. The buttered tea takes tea as its main material mixed with some other food, so one can find various tastes when drinking it. Generally, buttered tea is a bit salty with aroma. According to Tibetan custom, the buttered tea is drunk in separate sips and after each sip the host refills the bowl to the brim. Thus the guest never drains his bowl because it is constantly topped up. Start your morning with a cup of buttered tea and add a Tibetan flavor to your whole day.

Tsamba, a kind of dough made with roasted barley flour and ghee (pure butter) with water, this is a traditional Tibetan food. With a first glance, tsamba has a certain novelty value. With a taste of coarse flour, tsamba isn’t so delicious when you try it for the first time. But for travelers, this Tibetan cuisine is convenient while traveling because it is full of nutrition. Moreover, travelers can make a meal of fragrant and nice tsamba without lighting a fire to cook. There are two main ways of preparing and eating tsamba. One is to make tsamba dough with Tibetan buttered tea while the other is to make porridge together with beef or mutton or with vegetables.

Yak meat, another renowned Tibetan cuisine, it is served to travelers in nearly all restaurants in Lhasa. As a main ingredient, yak meat can be cooked into dozens of delightful dishes. The most popular one is the yak jerky, the dried meat of yak. Yak jerky is bloated with spicy, chewy and palatable. What’s more, as yak jerky is easy to carry, lots of tourists take it as gifts for their friends. In homes the yak  meat is boiled with salt, ginger and various spices, which gives this Tibetan food a good and crispy taste.

Another Tibetan Cuisine you will find in most of the restaurants in Lhasa is the cordyceps chicken soup, a modern dish which is healthy, combines traditional recipe with herbal medicine. The main ingredient of this dish is the chicken and cordyceps. As a traditional Tibetan medicine, Cordceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi and of high value. This unique chicken soup is temptingly tasty and fresh but not greasy.

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