The local food of Lhasa is the characterize of Lhasa culture. The flavor of Tibetan food is typically fresh, light, and tender and the main ingredients include salt, onion, and garlic. The wind-dried beef and mutton, butter tea, and tsampa are the major. Some food are light, without spicy seasonings while others are hot, deeply affected by Sichuan style. Nepalese and Indian Dishes are also available.
There are also other flavors of food s including Beijing cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Mongolian and even western-style cuisine in Lhasa. Deji Road is the most popular dining place among locals, where you will find about 100 restaurants. Western and Tibetan style restaurants in Beijing Road and the Barkhor Street are always crowded with visitors. Some big hotels also serve Nepalese and Indian food.
Lhasa Tsampa (Zan Ba)
Tsampa is one of the stable food in Tibet. So in Lhasa, Tsampa is one of the mostly eyeable foodstuffs. Tsampa is so important to Tibetan, that Tibetan eat it every day and every meals. The Tsampa is made of highland barley. It is similar to the stir-fried noodles in northern China. Stir-fried noodles in Northern China is firstly to pulverize the barley are wheat, and then after many processes to stir-fried into edible food; however Tibetan Tsampa is firstly to stir fry till well and then pulverize. The barley flour usually mixed with salty Tibetan butter tea. When you want to eat Tsampa, you need to put some butter tea at the bottom of the bowl and put some barley flour, then stir gently with the forefinger and knead with the hand.
The whole cooking processes demand a highly manual dexterity. Tsampa is goluptious, crisp and sweet. Besides, it is rich in nutrition and has large heat which is suitable for allaying hunger and keeping out cold. Tibetan people also like to have Tsampa assistant with dishes, butter tea and capsicum. As the Tsampa is very simple to prepare, it is a convenient food for Tibetan, especially the herds such as sherpas, nomads and other nomadic people in Tibet. In Tibetan New Year Festival, the Tsampa plays a very important role too as it represents good luck and wishes.
Wind-dried Beef and Mutton
It is a kind of unique food featured with the Tibetan style. When the temperature is under 0 ° C in the end of every year, the Tibetan skive the beef and mutton into strips and hang them in shade to get air-dried. After the wind-dry, the meat is crisp with an endless aftertaste. It could be taken in Feb. or Mar. Tibetan will eat them dipping with pimiento juice. The taste of the dried meat is purity than the cooked meat, and is savory and crisp. Tibetan dried meat with unique taste makes people having endless aftertaste.
Butter Tea is the main drink in Tibetan’s daily life, made from butter, brick tea and salt. People of the Zang nationality have the habit of drinking it, which is said to help digestion. The hospitable Tibetan welcome VIP with Butter Tea, and it is impolite to refuse it. The Tea Party has been running through all kinds of klatch.
Yoghurt is an important dietary meal for Tibetan people. The creamy milk produced by yak cows is superb. Tibetan nomads in the eastern Tibet manufacture their yoghurt in a special process. The milk is boiled first, and after removed from the stove, some old yogurt is added in. and yogurt will form in a few hours. Yogurt has been a Tibetan food for more than 1.000 years.
Chang, also called “Chong” is brewaged by zymolytic highland barley, a kind of crop produced in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is favored by Tibetan people including the young, the old, the female and the male. It featured yellow color, sour and sweet taste, while lower in alcohol. Drinking Chang should obey “one cup in three times”, that is after drink a bite firstly, pour out; drink another a bite, pour out again; drink at the third time, pour out again. Commonly, the host sing songs when proposing a toast to the customers. Each year, from April to August, Lhasa people will lift the nice wine gathers together in almost every traditional or non traditional festivals and religion or non religion festivals. All the people will bring the Chang to the green grass land, putting up colorful tents, drinking, singing and dancing. That scene fully shows out the charming of Tibetan culture. The Tibetan Chang is as well a nice product for entertaining guests. In banquets, the hosts will toast the guests until they are totally drunk.
Restaurants in Lhasa
Lhasa has a number of restaurants and as tourism continues to increase, so do the scope of eateries. Many of the newer restaurants in Lhasa cater to tourists, offering local cuisine as well as other flavor.
Lhasa Snowland Restaurant
Lhasa Snowland Restaurant is next to Snowland Hotel on Mentsikhang Road, serving a mixture of western, Tibetan and Nepalese food. Its Nepalese food and pizza are especially good. Its price is reasonable while compared with the excellent quality of the food. Besides, the staffs here master the three languages including English, Tibetan and Chinese, providing you satisfied service.
Address: No.4 Zang Yiyuan Road, Lhasa
Snow Deity Palace Tibetan Style Restaurant
As one of the slap-up Tibetan style restaurant in Lhasa, it is the right place for those who would like to taste genuine Hunan food, such as freshly fried mutton chops, raw catsup, stuffed sausage, and so on. Its Tibetan waiters could speak fluent English.
Address: West side of the Potala Palace Square
This restaurant is a favorite with locals but, with its diverse menu, is also well suited for visitors. Vegetarian offerings like curry rice are available as are specialties like fried mutton spareribs.
It is not far from the Snowland Hotel, providing tasty and inexpensive Nepalese food. The restaurant is clean and neat, with English-speaking Nepalese waiters and waitresses. It is popular with the foreigners.
Address: No.106, Beijing East Road
Xue Shen Gong Restaurant
Xue Shen Gong is the place to go for those who wish to taste truly authentic Tibetan cuisine. Waiters speak fluent English, which can be a true benefit for those who want to try a new dish, but who still wish to know exactly what they are eating.
Tashi Restaurant is the favorite of many foreign back-packers, featured Tibetan food such as Tibetan momos (means dumplings), tsampa and fried yark meat as well as spaghetti, mashed potatoes and fries. Many pieces of Tibetan landscapes hanging on the wall add strong ethical atmosphere.
Address: The crossing of Zang Yiyuan Road and Beijing East Road