Two friends and I had decided that we wanted to see Everest in the winter - we heard that there were less trekkers and prices were lower in the off-season, plus the thrill of being at Everest Base Camp in the heart of winter was enough to launch the trip I found myself on. We had been driving for two days from Lhasa and were at the last town on our route before we left the paved road.
New Tingri, also called Shegar, is 4,928m (14,100 ft) above sea level and is the last town on the Friendship Highway before trekkers heading to Everest Base Camp turn off the paved road and make the 4 hour ascent up to Rongbuk Monastery, and then finally on to Tibet's Everest Base Camp.
We arrived in Tingri after a full morning of driving and took the chance to stop for lunch, the last stop for food until our group returned the next day after staying the night at Rongbuk Monastery Guest House.
The place our guide recommended was the Snowland Restaurant, a traditional Tibetan-style tea house and restaurant. The inside was brightly painted and furnished with bench seats and standard Tibetan tables, all centered around a wood-burning stove to stave off the chill of high altitude in winter.
Lunch came soon after we arrived - Tibetan noodles and sweet milk tea, both standard Tibetan fare. The noodle dish was delicious, a mix of two kinds of noodles, cabbage, and bits of yak meat, and the sweet tea was great, cup after cup. As we ate, we shared smiles with the locals also having lunch, and watched the family who runs the restaurant going about their business - stoking the fire, serving drinks, and chatting up the patrons.
The bowl of noodles didn't last nearly long enough but was tasty and filling - just what was needed to carry us through the drive to come, and the sweet Tibetan tea was truly noteworthy.
On your trek through Tibet, make sure to find a local tea house and share a cup of sweet tea with your guide and a bowl of Tibetan noodles with yak meat, you'll be glad you did!