Food and Drink
Food and drink are important elements of Tibetan culture. In and around Jiuzhai Valley visitors will have the opportunity to sample many of these culinary delights. The most common drink that visitors to Tibetan houses / home-stays will have is yak butter tea.
Yak Butter Tea
This comes in various forms but is mainly comprised of tea, yak butter, condensed cheese, barley, and salt or sugar. Traditionally it is drank with salt but many "first timers" prefer sugar or honey. It is also common to add walnuts at certain times of the year in this area. Depending on the type of tea you have you may have to eat part of it with the chopsticks provided! Although many westerns are not used to the taste it is the experience that is important. As is the case in many parts of China, finishing the cup means that you are ready for more so if you don’t like it, don’t finish it!
This is a traditional Tibetan staple. It is prepared from mainly from barley flour and other ingredients may include wallnuts (common in Jiuzhai Valley), tea, pea and oat powder, depending on where you get it. Tibetans will take this doughy type cake when going out to herd yak or hike for long periods. It is a convenient fast food full of energy which is particularly welcome in sparsely-populated and food-scarce areas.
Very common for big occasions and welcoming guests, barley wine (chang in local Tibetan) is made by boiling washed barley, adding yeast and leaving it to ferment it in a ceramic jar.
All types of yak meat from all parts of the yak are available in Jiuzhai Valley and other Tibetan areas. It can be cooked, dried, preserved, hot or cold. Served on it’s own or as part of a meal, this is the most popular meat in these parts.