Tibetan food is quiet unique due to the distinctive characteristic of ingredients and crops being grown at the high altitude of Tibetan plateau . The high location and low temperature does not allow all the crops to grow at this place, hence very few of them are used in Tibetan cuisine.
Tibetan culinary history is quiet interesting, as earlier people in Tibet use to eat food only to sustain, but with the changing times the Tibetan food has undergone a drastic change. Nutritional cooking along with taste is the main ingredient in Tibetan cuisine at present.
Tibetan food and cooking styles are not relatively different from other related regions, but the ingredients and food stuffs depend upon the availability. In the past, the 90% of Tibetan dishes were based on meat. Vegetable dishes were very less, but with the establishment of local markets and improvisation of agriculture, fresh vegetables are available abundantly in the region. Cabbage is one of the most popular vegetables used in Tibetan food. Tibetan cuisine is famous for making dishes with barley, as this is the staple crop in the region.
Yak milk is the most abundantly available dairy product in Tibet. Even fine cheese is also produced with this milk. Among the various meats, pork and beef are highly popular in Tibetan food. Surprisingly, fish that is now one of the most popular forms of meat used in Tibetan non-veg dishes was once a weird food according to the old customs in Tibet. Beijing ducks, pigs and chickens are widely raised by the Tibetan farmers for consumption.
With all these local as well as foreign influenced foodstuffs, at least 200 dishes are prepared in Tibetan food.
- Momos – The most popular dish in Tibetan food is now the most popular street food in almost all neighboring countries of Tibet. It has many variations prevailing in Chinese and other South East Asian countries. It is a kind of steam dumpling.
- Balep – It is a kind of flat bread popular in Tibetan breakfast and lunch.
- Thupka – This is one of the highly appreciated Tibetan foods mainly eaten for dinner. It mainly consists of broth containing meat, noodles and vegetables.
Tibetan food has changed drastically and now it is considered healthy with the usage of fresh vegetables and meats. With the use of fresh vegetables, the Tibetan diet has become nutritious and beneficial. The main dairy product, yak butter is a high calorific ingredient, but suitable for people staying on higher altitudes and helps in providing warmth as well as smooth textured skin.