List of Tibetan dishes

This is a list of Tibetan dishes and foods. Tibetan cuisine includes the culinary traditions and practices of Tibet and its peoples, many of whom reside in India and Nepal. It reflects the Tibetan landscape of mountains and plateaus and includes influences from neighbors (including other countries 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.

A Tibetan cuisine meal with (clockwise from top) tingmo steamed bread, thenthuk noodle soup, momos in soup, vegetable gravy (curry), and condiments in center from the Himalaya Restaurant, McLeod Ganj, HP, India
A simple Tibetan breakfast

The cuisine of Tibet is quite distinct from that of its neighbors. Tibetan crops must be able grow at the high altitudes, although a few areas in Tibet are low enough to grow such crops as rice, oranges, bananas, and lemon.[1] Since only a few crops grow at such high altitudes, many features of Tibetan cuisine are imported, such as tea, rice and others.

The most important crop in Tibet is barley. Flour milled from roasted barley, called tsampa, is the staple food of Tibet. It is eaten mostly mixed with the national beverage Butter tea. Meat dishes are likely to be yak, goat, or mutton, often dried, or cooked into a spicy stew with potatoes. Many Tibetans do not eat fish[2] because fish are one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism.

Tibetan dishes and foodsEdit

Chicken momo with curry


  • Ara – an alcoholic beverage[5] made from rice, maize, millet, or wheat, which may be either fermented or distilled.[a] Circa the early 1900s, ara was frequently imported from China.[7]
  • Butter tea – a drink of the people in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India (particularly in Ladakh, Sikkim) and, most famously, Tibet. Traditionally, it is made from tea leaves, yak butter, water, and salt,[8] although butter made from cow's milk is increasingly used, given its wider availability and lower cost. Yak butter tea has been described as the "Tibetan national beverage."[9]
  • Chhang – traditional Tibetan beer[10]



  • Chhurpi – there are two varieties of chhurpi, a soft variety (consumed as a side dish with rice) and a hard variety (chewed like a betel nut)
  • Chura kampo – made from the curds left over from boiling buttermilk, there are many possible shapes for chura kampo
  • Chura loenpa – a soft cheese, similar to cottage cheese, made from the curds that are left over from boiling buttermilk
  • Shosha – a pungent cheese and staple food that is often made from animals suited to the climate such as yak and goat

Desserts and sweetsEdit

  • Dre-si – a sweet dish made with rice that is cooked in unsalted butter and mixed with raisins, droma (gourd shaped root found in Tibet), dates and nuts. This dish is usually served only on Losar (Tibetan new year).
  • Thue – a delicacy in Tibetan cuisine made with dri cheese (or sometimes Parmesan or other hard cheeses), brown sugar (usually porang) and unsalted sweet cream butter
  • Tu – a cheese cake, made with yak butter, brown sugar and water, made into a pastry.[3]

Dough foodsEdit

  • Chetang Goiche – strips of dough fried with rapeseed oil, topped with brown sugar[3]
  • Baktsamarkhu – a dough shaped into balls with melted butter, brown sugar, and dry curd cheese. It has a sweet and sour taste and is red in color.[3]
  • Samkham Papleg – a dough fried in yak butter or rapeseed oil
  • Sokham Bexe – fried dough with butter and minced meat

Soups and stewsEdit

A bowl of Thukpa
  • Dre-thuk – includes yak or sheep soup stock along with rice, different types of Tibetan cheeses and droma, a type of Tibetan root
  • Guthuk – a noodle soup in Tibetan cuisine that is eaten two days before Losar, the Tibetan New Year[b]
  • Qoiri – a stew of mutton chops, made with flour, shredded wheat, chillies, dry curd cheese, water and salt
  • Thenthuk – hand pulled noodle soup
  • Thukpa – a noodle soup that originated in the eastern part of Tibet. Thupka has been described as a "generic Tibetan word for any soup or stew combined with noodles."[13]
  • Bhakthuk – a common Tibetan cuisine noodle soup that includes small bhasta noodles[14]
  • Tsam-thuk – prepared with yak or sheep soup stock and tsampa (roasted barley flour) as well as a variety of Tibetan cheeses

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "'Ara', a distilled liquor extracted from rice or millet is used in the colder regions of the ..."[6]
  2. ^ "Guthuk is a special dish prepared for the Losar celebration. In it are dumplings that contain omens: a pebble symbolizes a long, healthy life; cayenne pepper suggests that the individual has a temperamental personality; a piece of charcoal ..."[12]


  1. ^ "Administrative Division". Tibet Facts & Figures 2007. China Internet Information Center. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  2. ^ Cheung, S.; Wu, D.Y.H. (2014). The Globalisation of Chinese Food. Anthropology of Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-136-84739-4.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Li, Tao; Jiang, Hongying (2003). Tibetan Customs. 五洲传播出版社. pp. 34–37. ISBN 978-7-5085-0254-0. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Foodies' delight: An epicurean walk through the lanes of Majnu Ka Teela in Delhi". Hindustan Times. November 1, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Langlais, R. (2012). Road News from Tibet. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 289. ISBN 978-3-642-78363-0.
  6. ^ Johri, S. (1962). Where India, China and Burma meet. Thacker Spink. p. 172.
  7. ^ The Chinese Recorder. Presbyterian Mission Press. 1909. p. 339.
  8. ^ Heiss, M.L.; Heiss, R.J. (2007). The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. Cookery, Food and Drink Series. Ten Speed Press. p. 345. ISBN 978-1-58008-745-2.
  9. ^ Marcello, P.C. (2003). The Dalai Lama: A Biography. Biography Series. Greenwood Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-313-32207-5. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Boulton, C. (2013). Encyclopaedia of Brewing. EBL ebooks online. Wiley. p. pt226. ISBN 978-1-118-59813-9.
  11. ^ Burdett, A. Delicatessen Cookbook - Burdett's Delicatessen Recipes: How to make and sell Continental & World Cuisine foods. Springwood emedia. ISBN 978-1-4761-4462-7.
  12. ^ Thompson, S.E. (2000). Holiday Symbols. Holiday Symbols & Customs. Omnigraphics. p. 321. ISBN 978-0-7808-0423-4.
  13. ^ Boi, L.G.; Ltd, M.C.I.P. (2014). Asian Noodles. EBL-Schweitzer. Marshall Cavendish. p. 163. ISBN 978-981-4634-98-4.
  14. ^ "Thukpa Bhathuk Recipe". Retrieved 8 March 2014.

External linksEdit