Lhasa's catering business is developing. Besides Tibetan diet, all styles of cooking including Chinese, Indian, Nepalese and western food can all be enjoyed here. Tibetan diet, Sichuan cuisine, northwest wheaten food, northeast cuisine is most typical. Tibetan diet, rich in variety, is mainly made up of beef and mutton. Don't eat too much the first time in case of dyspepsia. If you are not used to the buttered tea, you can drink sweet milk tea. Highland Barley Wine is not strong but too much taken will result in deep sleep; so, be sure not to drink too much. When eating some dishes, such as raw meat pulp, you should eat some garlic. In some small restaurants, a dish and a soup just cost about RMB 10 yuan. And the northwest hand-pulled noodles are rather cheap. Nourishing Thenthuk (Tibetan noodles) with bone soup cost only RMB 4 yuan. Generally, the level of consumption on food is higher than that of inland. For tour group, the standard cost is RMB 50-100 yuan a day for each.
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.
Qingke (Highland Barley) is the main ingredient of tsampa. Tsampa is actually barley flour made from parched barley, un-husked and ground into fine flour and then eaten with butter. People also make tsampa by mixing qingke flour and peas. Tsampa made from qingke is a Tibetan traditional food, severed in the restaurants of Lhasa to accommodate the visitors from all over the world. At religious festivals, Tibetans will shed tsampa as a way of blessing.
Tibetan mainly live on beef, mutton and milk products. In the pastoral areas, people don't eat vegetables. In this area even in the whole Tibetan area the diet is monotonous, rich in fat and protein. As is known, beef and mutton is rich in calories, which is good for people living on the tableland to keep warm. It's interesting that the Tibetan has a custom to eat raw meat. If you go to a herdsman's or a farmer's home, you will see the air-dried beef and mutton hung inside the house or tents. And the host will treat you to such meat, which can only be tasted on the tableland.
Tibetan medicines are mysterious. Mashed yak meat is the mixture of some Tibetan medicines and mashed raw beef, blood red, pungent, and you will feel hot inside after eating it. It's said that Tibet is a place where time can stop, and people today still like to enjoy the sunshine at the foot of the Potala Palace after such a good meal, feeling rather satisfied.
Tsampa is the basic food in Tibet, which is consumed daily. Tsampa is actually barley flour made from parched barley, un-husked and ground into fine flour. Mix the flour with salted butter tea in a bowl, rotate the bowl with the left hand and mix the food with the fingers of your right hand, rolling it into small lumps, and squeezing it into your mouth with your fingers. Other ingredients may also be added to add flavor.
Where to Dine
Crazy Yak Saloon lies next door to Kirey Hotel on Beijing East Road. It has uniquely Tibetan decor and furnishings. Tibetan food has a good reputation here and the yak meat comes recommended. The other highlight is the Tibetan song and dance show from 19:30 to 20:30 every evening.
Ethnic Restaurant lies opposite the Kirey Hotel, on East Beijing Road, and it is one of the largest Tibetan restaurants in Lhasa. The restaurant serves aweto chicken and aweto beef as well as some common dishes.
Snow-Deity Palace Tibetan Style Restaurant is located just west of the Potala Palace Plaza. It is one of the only slap-up Tibetan Style restaurants in Lhasa. There is authentic Tibetan food on offer such as freshly fried mutton chops and Tibetan steamed stuffed buns.
Snowland Restaurant next to Snowland Hotel on Mentsikhang Road has a range of western food, Tibetan food and Nepalese food. Its Nepalese food and pizza are delicious. The price is moderate when compared with the excellent quality of the food.
Tashi Restaurant, close to Penthoc Guesthouse and Tashi 2 in the Kirey Hotel is a favorite of many travelers. It is clean, quiet and the staffs speak good English. They offer Tibetan food including Tibetan momos, tsampa, thukpa and fried yak meat as well as spaghetti, mashed potatoes and fries.
Tibetan Cafeteria is located west of Middle Beijing Road. It offers Tibetan food such as fried mutton chops, radish stew, yak meat and potato buns
Aloo Gang is located on Duosengge Road. It serves veggie food, yak butter tea and soup.
Barkhor Cafe has various drinks and foods and a few PCs with internet access are available. Its rooftop terrace is popular among travelers since you can enjoy drinks watching the sunset over the Jokhang Temple.
Beimei Fast Food (North America Fast Food), on Beijing East Road, serves hamburgers, hotdogs and soups etc.
Curried Potato Restaurant is located at the first crossing on the right of Jokhang Temple and offers delicious but cheap food such as curried potato, curried barbecue and yogurt.
Hard Yak Cafe in Lhasa Hotel has a range of expensive western food and a good ambience. Lhasa Hotel also has a fast food stall on Mentsikhang Road serving hamburgers and fried tomatoes.
Kailash Restaurant on the rooftop of Banak Shol Hotel on Beijing East Road is also a great place to dine. With pleasant and friendly service, the restaurant serves food including a nice breakfast, yak burgers and many vegetarian options too.
Makye Ame Restaurant on the southeastern corner of Barkhor Street is often busy with western travelers. It serves tasty dishes with pasta and pesto and makes good coffee. A few computer terminals make emails possible too.
Xinfeng Restaurant is located at the East Beijing Road provides all kinds of European food, especially the grilled burgers.
Aside from the above-mentioned restaurants, the night market on Duosenge Road is an interesting place where you can get street food and drink at very reasonable prices.