Five Tibetan Delicacies to Try

Text by Maitrie Lopchan

1) Laphing:
There’s no doubt that laphing has become a very popular snack, especially amongst young people and spice-lovers. It’s a cold spicy noodle dish, with classics options like chau chau (instant noodles), chips and plain laphing. Now different places are coming up with their own ideas and offering new recipes like keema (mince meat) laphing, egg laphing, bacon laphing and so on. Apart from the classic flavors, these new recipes are a must try, and who knows, you might stumble upon something even more exotic. Laphing is served either plain or with soup, and you can find an array of laphing shops in Bouddha, so get eating!

2) Tingmo: Ting momo or tingmo is a steamed bun that contains no fillings and is best combined with some curry, vegetables, meat, or even with some sides of pickles. Tingmo is widely available in the Bouddha area and at other Tibetan restaurants scattered throughout the valley. I don’t know if this recipe is available in restaurants, but I make tingmo chilli. Chop some tingmo into 6-7 pieces each and heat some oil, throw in some chopped onions, tomatoes and capsicums and some salt, then add the tingmo pieces and mix well. Serve after the tingmo turns golden brown. You can just get a takeaway tingmo from a restaurant and make the recipe at home.

3) Dry thukpa:
Just like regular thukpa, the noodles are boiled first before assembling the final dish. Dry thukpa is basically a thukpa but with no soup. Soy sauce is the base, which is then topped with noodles, and it’s garnished with mince meat, bok choy or egg to finish. The mixing of the ingredients is your part to distribute them evenly and then just gobble it up. Fhulbari street in Bouddha is a hub for foodies, so it’s not hard to find dry thukpa there.

4) Sha phaley: A Tibetan bread dish stuffed with meat or vegetables. According to the internet, in central Tibet sha phaley can be eaten for breakfast, but it’s mostly had at lunch or dinner. In Nepal it is just a snack. Buff stuffed sha phaley are available almost everywhere, thought it might be harder to find the veg one. Deep fried and eaten piping hot, it makes a really crunchy sound, which can be very satisfying, at least to me.

5) Shyapta: Shyatpa is a stir fried Tibetan dish made with meat, vegetables, ginger and garlic. Originally prepared using yak meat, now you can find varieties with pork, buff and mutton. Best had, of course, with tingmo, and phaley, also another Tibetan dish, which is a thick fire-cooked bread. Shyatpa is easy and quick to cook, just try it and you will melt, as the meat is so flavorful, and the vegetables just enhance the taste.