Tibet welcomes many tourists from all over the world not only because it is the most gorgeous place in the world, but also because Tibet is unique in many places. Tibetan cuisine is one of the special parts that represents the lifestyle of this magical place. It is also a unique branch of the Chinese flavor system. All tourists coming to Tibet will be recommended to have a taste of Tibetan food to experience the way of life in Tibet, as a way to better understand the place that is closest to paradise.
Tibetan cuisine took shape mainly in the late 1950s, represented by Tibetan dishes like roast lamb, roast beef, tsampa, butter tea, sweet tea, chang, and so on. It greatly preserves the original flavor of the ingredients by not adding any spicy seasonings. So, the dishes with only salt, garlic, and shallots make Tibetan food different from those dishes in many other places. However, because of Tibet’s geographic position next to Sichuan, India, and Nepal, Tibetan meals will also use cooking methods like roasting, frying, boiling, etc.
Tourists in Lhasa and Shigatse will get to know Tibet cuisine culture deeply because these two cities boast comprehensive Tibetan dishes. The small population in other places makes it difficult to develop Tibetan dishes. So, Tibetan dishes in Lhasa have already be considered as the representative of Tibetan cuisine. Tourists can have a taste of local dishes at many restaurants in Lhasa, as well as some Western dishes, Sichuan dishes, Nepalese dishes, Indian dishes, and so on. So, tourists don’t need to worry that whether they can get used to the Tibetan meals.
If you want to know some classic Tibetan food, you can keep reading and get to know the food you may want to have a taste when having a Tibet tour in the plateau.
Tsampa is the staple food of Tibetans as most Tibetan people will eat it three times a day. It is fried noodles made from highland barley. When you pay a visit to a Tibetan home, you will definitely be treated with fragrant milk tea and tsampa. Tibetan people wash and dry the highland barley. Then, they will make the highland barley into flour after frying. When people are ready to eat tsampa, they will put some butter tea, mild dregs, and sugar into the barley flour. Then mix them evenly and knead it into a ball. It is convenient to eat and store. Besides, it is also rich in nutrients and high in calories for Tibetan people to satisfy hunger and protect themselves from cold.
Tibetan people drink butter tea every day as it is a necessity for life on the Tibetan plateau. It is mainly because butter tea can help local people drive away from the cold, satisfy hunger, relieve fatigue, etc. Due to the unique natural geographical environment that is not suitable for the growth of vegetables, Tibetan people get to know that the vitamins in tea can alleviate the damage caused by the lack of vegetables on the plateau. When you pay a visit to a Tibetan home, the host will keep refilling your tea bowl after you take a sip. If you don’t want to drink, you can keep the tea bowl on the table and do not drink it anymore. Besides, it is a manner to leave some in the tea bowl when you are leaving.
Highland Barley Wine
It is also called “Chang” in Tibetan. As the favorite wine of Tibetan people, the highland barley wine will be necessary when they are celebrating holidays, holding wedding ceremonies, giving birth to babies, entertaining friends and relatives, etc. Wine can keep warm when the winter is long and cold. So, highland barley wine can become a very important part of Tibetan people’s lives. It smells good and tastes sweet. It is not difficult to make highland barley wine, which is the reason that all local people are able to make the wine and drink it.
Highland Barley Wine
Living in an extremely cold plateau with a pollution-free environment, the yak is a very precious ingredient for Tibetan people. Yak meat is tender, delicious, and has high nutritional value. Tibetan people will use fresh yak meat to make delicious dishes by braising, frying, and stewing. However, you will also see yak jerky and marinated yak meat in Tibet because they can be preserved for a long time.
Tibetan yogurt is an essential part in Tibetan people’s food. Shoton Festival - one of the biggest festivals in Tibet, is named after yogurt. It is different from the yogurt in other places because it is made from fresh yak milk. And the pure taste of Tibetan yogurt will never be surpassed. Tourists will gradually get used to the taste as it will be memorable.
If you don’t like to drink butter tea in Tibet, then sweet tea may be a good choice for you to have a taste. It is usually made of black tea and milk powder with some while sugar. The sweet tea tastes sweet and delicious. Friends love to sit together and drink a cup of sweet tea sharing stories.