Tibet, a pearl on the roof of the world, is full of mystery because of its remoteness. On this vast land, the ancient peoples, rich customs and splendid cultures are as firm as the Himalayas and as open to all rivers as the Brahmaputra. Nowadays, with the opening of Tibet, more and more tourists want to explore this pure land. If you travel to Tibet, you will be amazed by its natural scenery. However, Tibetan food will make your Tibet tour more perfect.
Due to the unique ecological and cultural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, the derived Tibetan cuisine style is quite different from that of other ethnic groups, forming the following features:
1. At an average altitude of above 4000 meters, Tibet is located in Qinghai-Tibet plateau, with thin air, abundant sunshine, and little rainfall. Due to these unique natural environments, Tibet has bred unique agricultural and sideline products, thus forming a unique food. In the vast plateau region, butter tea, sweet tea, milk residue, barley wine, beef, mutton, and other foods of the plateau characteristic have become the traditional food of the Tibetan people.
2. Tibet is at the junction of China and many countries. Tibetan food is greatly influenced by neighboring countries such as India and Nepal but retains its distinctive nomadic character. Besides, Tibet is a holy land of Tibetan Buddhism so it's also been deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhist culture. As an ethnic minority group in China, Tibetan people have their own dietary taboos. For example, many Tibetan people don’t eat fish, because they think the fish is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism.
3. Traditional Tibetan cooking methods are mainly boiled and fried, supplemented with certain mixed, steamed, and raw foods, and there are fewer fried dishes. This is mainly due to the high altitude of Tibet, which makes it difficult to stir-fry dishes. The raw materials of traditional Tibetan cuisine are mainly Tibetan barley, beef and mutton, and offal, ghee, milk residue, etc. It is difficult for seasonal vegetables to be included in Tibetan recipes. But in recent years, with the promotion of vegetable cultivation and consumption on the plateau, vegetables are getting to appear on the dining tables in Tibet, and fried food has become more and more popular.
4. There is a big difference in diet between the agricultural and pastoral areas of Tibet, and the dietary customs are also different. In pastoral areas, meat is the staple food, and only a small amount of Zanba is the supplement; but in agricultural areas, the conditions are just on the contrary. Herdsmen in northern Tibet don't like to put curry powder in their dishes, but almost all ethnic groups in the border will put curry. Another example is oatmeal. Although most people like it, eating ways are different. Monba people like to add milk residue inside.
5. The highest level of Tibefoodtan cuisine is mainly concentrated in Lhasa and Shigatse, which are the center of Tibetan cuisine culture. As the old nobles, manor owners, government offices, Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama used to live there. Although Tibetan cuisine in many other places is also very distinctive, it is far comparable to these two places in terms of the complete variety, craftsmanship, and superb cooking techniques. In particular, the Tibetan cuisine in Lhasa has become the representative of the Tibetan cuisine as Lhasa food brings together the essence of Tibetan cuisine but more vibrant and diverse. You can taste a lot of authentic food at the Lhasa restaurants near Jokhang Temple and around Barkhor Street. Of course, you can also have Western food, Sichuan food, Nepalese food, or Indian food here.