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.
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.