Food & Drink in Tibet
Yoghurt is important daily dairy for Tibetan people. The creamy milk produced by yak cow is superb. The nomads in the eastern Tibet manufacture their yoghurt in a special process. The milk is boiled first, after removed from stove, some old yogurt is added in. Yogurt will form in a few hours. Yogurt has been a Tibetan food for more than 1,000 years.
Dried beef and mutton stripe is also popular local snack. In the winter, beef and mutton are cut into long stripes and hung in shaded place to be air-dried. The dried meat is crisp and tastes good and can be eaten raw since the chilliness in the winter has killed bacteria during the process.
Big joints of beef and mutton boiled with salt, ginger and spices are also popular dishes. They take the meat in hands and cut them with their knives. The guests will be treated with breasts and spareribs. If you are treated with a tail of white sheep, it means that you are deemed as their guest of honor.
Blood sausage, meat sausage, flour sausage and liver sausage are also favored by many local people. Other dishes include Momo (Tibetan dumplings), Thenthuk (Tibetan noodles) and yak tongue.
Now in some towns, Lhasa for example, Tibetan food is supplemented by Chinese food, mostly Sichuan cuisine. Vegetables and fish become available in market. However, the locals seldom eat fish due to their religion and custom. Restaurants serving Tibetan food, Chinese food and even western food mushroom in the streets to accommodate visitors. Lhasa Hotel (former Holiday Inn)'s restaurant provides Chinese dishes, Indian dishes, Nepalese dishes and western dishes. Kailash, Tashi, Snowlands, Dunya (former Crazy Yak) and Makye Ame are popular among visitors also in Lhasa. Veggies may still have little choice in short seasons however.
Tibetans like drinking tea. Besides salted butter tea, sweet milk tea is another popular alternative. Hot boiling black tea filtered is decanted into a churn, and then fresh milk and sugar are added. Vigorous churning turns out a light reddish white drink. There are many teashops in Lhasa serving the sweet milk tea. barley beer, called Chang in Tibetan is popular. The beer is mild, slightly sweet and sour and contains little alcohol. The beverage is worth trying. Soft drinks and beer are also available in Lhasa.
Related Link: Tibet Travel Guide