Tibetan cuisine includes the culinary traditions and practices of Tibet and its peoples, many of whom have found refuge in India and Nepal. It reflects the Tibetan landscape of mountains and plateaus and includes influences from neighbors (including China, India and Nepal). It is known for its use of noodles, goat, yak, mutton, dumplings, cheese (often from yak or goat milk), butter (also from animals adapted to the Tibetan climate) and soups. Sepen is a Tibetan hot sauce.
Tibetan crops must be able to grow at the high altitudes, although a few areas in Tibet are low enough to grow such crops as rice, oranges, bananas, and lemon. The most important crop in Tibet is barley. Flour milled from roasted barley, called tsampa, is the staple food of Tibet, as well as Sha Phaley (meat and cabbage in bread). Balep is Tibetan bread eaten for breakfast and lunch. There are various other types of balep bread and fried pies. Thukpa is a dinner staple consisting of vegetables, meat, and noodles of various shapes in broth. Tibetan cuisine is traditionally served with bamboo chopsticks, in contrast to other Himalayan cuisines, which are eaten by hand. Small soup bowls are also used by Tibetans, and the rich are known to have used bowls of gold and silver.
Meat dishes are likely to be yak, goat, or mutton, often dried or cooked in a spicy stew with potatoes. Mustard seed is cultivated in Tibet and therefore features heavily in its cuisine. Yak yoghurt, butter, and cheese are frequently eaten, and well-prepared yoghurt is considered something of a prestige item. As well as consumed in Tibet, varieties of Tibetan dishes are consumed in Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and by the Tibetan diaspora in India, and various regions of northern Nepal, such as Mustang and others.
In larger Tibetan towns and cities many restaurants now serve Sichuan-style Chinese food. Western imports and fusion dishes, such as fried yak and chips, are also popular. Nevertheless, many small restaurants serving traditional Tibetan dishes persist in both cities and the countryside.
Other Tibetan foods include:
- Sha Phaley - a bread stuffed with seasoned beef and fashioned into semi-circular or circular shapes and which according to regional variations is either deep fried or pan fried like pot stickers
- Balep korkun - a central Tibetan flatbread cooked on a skillet rather than in an oven
- Tingmo (food) - a type of steamed bun, a heavier version of the Chinese baozi
- Thenthuk - a type of cold-weather soup made with noodles and various vegetables
- Shab Tra - Stir-fried meat tossed with celery, carrots and fresh green chili
- Gyurma (Juema) - a blood sausages with yak or sheep's blood and roasted barley flour or rice as filler
- Sokham Bexe, fried dough, with butter and minced meat. It is said to be a favourite of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama
- Drokpa Katsa, stewed tripe, with curry, fennel, monosodium glutamate and salt. 
- Lunggoi Katsa, stewed sheep's head, with curry, fennel, monosodium glutamate and salt. 
- Tu (cake), a cheese cake pastry made with yak butter, brown sugar and water
- Masan, a pastry, made with tsampa, dry cubic or curd cheese, yak butter, brown sugar and water.
- Xogoi Momo, a type of momo using mashed potato with dough, shaped into balls, with a minced meat filling, served with bread crumbs.
- Samkham Papleg, fried dough with yak butter or rapeseed oil
- Gyabrag, Chetang Goiche
- Cheser Mog, Zhoima Mogu
- Gong'a Momo
- Xab Momo
- Xab Pagri
- Laping, a spicy mung bean noodle dish sold by street vendors (street food)
- Lowa Khatsa
Breads and fried dough foods
- Papza Mogu, dough balls with melted butter, brown sugar, and dry curd cheese. They have a sweet and sour taste and are red in color
- De-Thuk - a type of soup that includes yak or sheep stock along with rice, different types of Tibetan cheeses and droma which is a type of Tibetan root
- Tsam-thuk - a type of soup that uses yak or sheep stock and roasted barley flour as well as a variety of Tibetan cheeses
- Thukpa bhatuk- a common Tibetan noodle soup made with little bhasta noodles
- Dre-si - Tibetan sweet dish using rice that is cooked in unsalted butter and mixed with raisins, droma (gourd shaped root found in Tibet), dates and other nuts. This dish is usually served only on Losar (Tibetan new year).
- Khapsey - Tibetan cookies or biscuits that is deep fried and usually made during celebrations such as the Tibetan new year or weddings. Khapseys are fashioned into many different intricate shapes and textures. Some are sprinkled with powdered sugar while other shapes such as the donkey ear-shaped khapseys are used for decoration.
- Guthuk is traditionally eaten before Losar, the Tibetan New Year
- Khapse pastries for Losar (Tibetan New Year) called nyapsha
Cheeses, yogurt and butter
Tibetan cheeses, yogurt and butter are staples of Tibetan cuisine. Varieties of Tibetan cheese include soft cheese curds resembling cottage cheese made from buttermilk called chura loenpa (or ser). Hard cheese is called chura kampo. Extra hard cheese, made from solidified yogurt, is called chhurpi, and is also found in Sikkim and Nepal. Another type of cheese called shosha or churul, with a flavor said to resemble Limburger. It is made from cream and the skin of milk.
Brick tea is made by methods only distantly related to those employed in China or Sri Lanka (Ceylon). When the water boils, a great handful of the stuff is crumbled into it and allowed to stew for between five and ten minutes, until the whole infusion is so opaque that it looks almost black. At this stage a pinch of salt is added; the Tibetans always put salt, never sugar, in their tea. I have been told that they sometimes add a little soda, in order to give the beverage a pinkish tinge, but I never saw this done in Sikang. They very seldom, on the other hand, drink tea without butter in it. If you are at home, you empty the saucepan into a big wooden churn, straining the tea through a colander made of reed or horsehair. Then you drop a large lump of butter into it, and, after being vigorously stirred, this brew is transferred to a huge copper teapot and put on a brazier to keep it hot. When you are traveling, you do not normally take a churn with you, so everyone fills his wooden bowl with tea, scoops a piece of butter out of a basket, puts it in the bowl, stirs the mixture gently with his finger, and, finally, drinks the tea.
Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhism prohibited the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic beverages in Tibet include:
- Beer in Tibet
- Chang, a beer usually made from barley
- Pinjopo, a rice wine
- Ara, distilled or fermented grain alcohol
Tibetan barley has been a staple food in Tibet since the fifth century AD. This grain, along with a cool climate that permitted storage, produced a civilization that was able to raise great armies. It is made into a flour product called tsampa that is still a staple in Tibet. The flour is roasted and mixed with butter and butter tea to form a stiff dough that is eaten in small balls.
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