11 Most Popular Vegetarian Foods to Eat in Tibet

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Asia, Vegetarian

Tibet has a cold climate due to which meat forms a large part of the diet. When it comes to food, vegetarian options are a lot fewer as compared to non-vegetarian ones. However, the ones that do exist are quite delicious.

11 Most Popular Vegetarian Foods to Eat in Tibet

1. Momos

(Image credit: The New York Times)

Momos are extremely popular in India, however, it is believed that they are Tibetan in origin. Although they are similar to Chinese dumplings, they have their own distinct flavour. The outer covering is made from a dough using refined flour. The filling consists of meat traditionally, however, there are delicious vegetarian versions that contain finely chopped cabbage, soy, carrots, cheese and so on. These are steamed or pan-fried.

2. Tsampa

(Image credit: The Wild Yak)

This is the staple Tibetan food, made from barley flour. Sometimes, wheat flour can also be used. Barley flour is roasted and then mixed with Tibetan salty butter tea to knead it. However, on some occasions, it can also be prepared by mixing with water or beer. If you are looking for a dish that is easy on the pocket as well as nutritious, this is the best option.

3. Khapse

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Also known as khapsey, this is a type of biscuit that is prepared during the Tibetan New Year celebration or Losar. It is made from very simple ingredients- flour, eggs, sugar and butter. These are mixed to form a dough, which is then moulded into various shapes and sizes. After that, it is deep-fried. The ingredients for khapse can be found everywhere, so it is quite easy to make.

4. Tingmo

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

This is a delicious and healthy dish, and it can be cooked in a short span of time. It is a type of steamed bread, which is often eaten with curries. It is made from all-purpose flour. Some yeast is often added so that the bread can rise and have a fluffy texture. There is no filling. It is similar in shape to the Chinese Flower rolls.

5. Thukpa

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Warm and filling, thukpa is the perfect comfort food. Its origin can be traced to the eastern part of Tibet. This is made from noodles which are added to a broth containing vegetables and spices. Meat is often added, but there are delicious vegetarian versions of the dish as well. The vegetables used in the dish include mushrooms, cabbage, onion and so on. There are a large number of variants available.

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6. Tibetan Yogurt

Tibetan Yogurt
(Image credit: Savored Journeys)

Known as sho, this type of yogurt is found all over Tibet, in restaurants or on the streets. It is made by heating yak milk, then cooling it down. The yogurt culture is added to it and it is fermented for a few hours. Sweet raisins are added to it which provide a contrasting flavour to the tartness. Brown sugar can also be added to it. It is quite popular as a healthy snack. However, it is also eaten at certain festivals and religious occasions. It is often paired with rice, tsampa or droma.

7. Laping

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If you are in the mood for something spicy, this is the perfect street food. It is a cold dish made from mung bean noodles, to which soy, red chilli, coriander and a few sauces are added. It can either be eaten dry or paired with soy sauce. The noodles have a unique, slippery texture which makes this dish stand out. It is traditionally eaten during summer.

8. Dre-si

(Image credit: Savored Journeys)

Another dish served on Losar (Tibetan New Year), dre-si is a dessert you cannot miss. The main ingredient is droma, which is a tuber found in Tibet, similar to sweet potato. It is mixed with rice and then cooked in unsalted butter, which is traditionally made from yak milk. The other ingredients added to it are sugar, raisins and nuts. This is considered to be an auspicious dish. It can also be served on special occasions such as weddings.

9. Balep Korkun

 Balep Korkun
(Image credit: Elizabeth Steere)

Similar in appearance to naan, this is another type of bread. It is extremely popular in central Tibet. The ingredients include tsampa, water and baking powder. These days, however, it is also made from refined flour. It is usually made at home on a stovetop. However, it can easily be purchased in small shops or stalls throughout Tibet. It is round, flat and quite thin. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, this is the perfect yeast-free alternative to regular bread.

10. Tibetan Roast

Tibetan roast
(Image credit: Pinterest)

A delicious and filling appetizer, Tibetan roast is made from buckwheat. It is made by cooking the wheat by mixing it with vegetables, and sometimes other ingredients such as peanuts. Spinach, mushrooms and onions are usually used. Walnuts can also be added to provide a crunchy flavour. It is seasoned with herbs.

11. Thenthuk

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Although this is a type of thukpa or noodle soup, thenthuk deserves a special mention. It is made from hand pulled noodles and is especially common in the Amdo region of Tibet. There are a number of varieties, and each family has their own recipe. It is made from wheat flour dough to which meat is added. However, there are plenty of delicious vegetarian options too. Radish, kimchi and spring onions are commonly added.

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barley / beer / bread / carrots / cheese / dresi / droma / khapse / laping / losar / milk / momo / mushroom / onion / red chilli / rice / soy / spices / tartness / thenthuk / thupka / tibet / tibetan yogurt / tibetian roast / tingmo / tsampa / vegetables / water

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