World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > China > Tibet

Tibet Food and Drink

Tibet’s harsh mountain environment has led to a fairly simple cuisine. The staple foods for most Tibetans are dumplings and noodles, with a big meal out extending to fried yak dishes. Chinese restaurants are omnipresent and mostly offer spicy Szechuanese dishes or pork-free Muslim food from Gansu province. Backpacker-friendly restaurants in the main towns offer variants of western cuisine, from yakburgers to yak cheesecake.


Momos: Dumplings, steamed or sometimes fried, and filled with pockets of ground vegetables or yak meat. The classic Himalayan dish.
Thukba: Thick noodle soup, one of several variants on noodle stew – depending on the shape of the noodles you may also find ‘thanthuk’and ‘hipthuk’.
Bö cha: Yak butter tea, the quintessential Tibetan drink. Tea leaves, boiling water, yak butter, salt and soda are churned up in a long tube to create a greasy, soupy consistency.

Shrabtra: Stir fired meat with celery, carrots and green chilli.

Gyurma: Sausage of yak or sheep’s bood and roasted barley flour or rice.

SokhamBexe: Fried dough with butter and minced meat – said to be a favourite of the Dalai Lama.
Tsampa: Ground roasted barley is a staple in rural or nomad areas, often mixed with butter tea to make a filling gruel. Add sugar and milk or yoghurt for breakfast.

ShaPhaley: Bread stuffed with seasoned beef and cabbage.

Balepkorkun: Flatbread cooked on a skillet.

Lunggoikatsa: Stewed sheep’s head with curry and fennel.

Gundain: Pastry made with barley grain and yeast, roasted flour, dry curd cheese, wild ginseng and brown sugar.


It’s generally not expected but 10% is appreciated in tourist restaurants.

Drinking age

 There is no minimum drinking age in China, but you must be 18 to buy it.

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