Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tibetan Food at Yeti Cafe, Lhasa

It was our last night in Tibet and we've just arrived in Lhasa from Shigatse. The one thing that we really want to do is have Tibetan food and we tried to request for this arrangement from our guide. There were another couple who wanted to have Tibetan food as well.

While the rest of the group went ahead with the usual Chinese dinner that the tour agency arranged, we were brought to Yeti Cafe, which is located a block away from our hotel, Lhasa hotel.

The restaurant was nicely decorated with the Tibetan window curtains you see in houses and monasteries lining the edges of the ceiling and the walls are covered with paintings and nice designs of wall paper. The ceilings are walled paper with some simple Tibetan art which are similar to those seen in monasteries but less elaborate. Though crammed with furniture, each table look like a living room with a massive table surrounded by massive wooden chair.

Unfortunately, our dinner was somewhat rushed as we had a performance to go to and half the time, we were worried the coach may arrive before we finish eating. Still, I enjoyed the dinner. The Tibetan breads were interesting, though I still prefer them to be baked than steamed. I love the meat! They tasted good! I cannot tell the difference between yak beef and ordinary beef. Both lamb and yak beef tasted good, though nothing out of the ordinary. I kinda wish the yak beef wasn't served cold but they only have that in the cold appetizers section. I love the fried potato dish, it tasted rather similar to potato crochettes. The sugary rice with yak butter was surprisingly really good. It's sweet and slightly rich but I didn't feel sickened by its richness when I had it and I was already extremely full then. It is my favourite dish for that dinner. It was unexpected, I suppose because I thought with the butter, the richness would make me feel oily and sick. But, there was none of that. It was unique, sugar with rice for staple food, never had anything like this before. Besides the breads and the rice, I couldn't help feeling the other meat dishes are still rather Chinese and the potato western. The barley wine is extremely delicious! It's sweet and has a lovely texture. Served in shot glasses, it was a great accompaniment to the meats! Though only with 5% alcohol, I found myself flushing red after dinner. That's just me with good blood circulation, according to friends.

When we were walking out of the restaurant, I caught sight of the staff in another room playing mahjong, which made me all the more skeptical as to the authenticity of this Tibetan restaurant. So, maybe the Tibetan staff are playing mahjong, or if they are Chinese, they are highly knowledgeable with Tibetan food? Or, it's all a fusion of Tibetan and Chinese food?

To find out more about tibetan food, you can check out this website.

Cold Appetizers

Hot Appetizers

Staple food menu

Nicely decorated walls and furniture

Tables and cashier counter

Tibetan barley wine

Hot spicy yak: Chupkhacha

Hot and spicy stir-fried curry lamb: Lhabguo

Barley flour bread, Tsampa

Dromadrase: Sugary rice Tibetan ginseng and yak butter

Wheat bread

Shoguonomo: Fried potaoes with minced meat

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