Huge Tibetan Food – SHEEP HEAD + 11 Traditional Dishes in Lhasa, Tibet!

Huge Tibetan Food – SHEEP HEAD + 11 Traditional Dishes in Lhasa, Tibet!


– Good morning, hope you’re
having an amazing day, it’s Mark Wiens, I’m in Lhasa, Tibet, with Travel China Tibet Tours, and today we have a special invitation to go to a local Tibetan family home, and they’re gonna prepare for us, they’re gonna cook for us, I think it’s over 10 different local, authentic Tibetan food dishes. And we’re gonna have a
chance to see the process as they make the food, we’re gonna taste the dishes, it’s gonna be an exciting meal, there’s gonna be a range
of different dishes, I know we’re gonna have a sheep’s head, and other incredible Tibetan food. I’m gonna share the process with you, we’re gonna see the food, and I’m gonna share it all
with you in this video. But before we go, we’re having a quick breakfast, having a little bit of tea at
the local Tibetan tea house, which is like, right down the street from where we’re staying, we got some bread, we got some
both sweet tea and black tea. And there’s just, there’s just no better way
to get your day started in the cool Tibetan breeze of Lhasa than with drinking hot tea. (calm Tibetan music) And then this one is a
local Tibetan fry bread, which you see a lot of people eating this, and even carrying it, like, in their bags throughout the day to eat. It’s like, fried around the outside, and kinda fluffy on the inside. It’s a really good texture. Slightly chewy, crispy from fried-ness, and gooey on the inside, and then a lot of people also
dip it in their sweet tea. And then I’ve noticed that
most tea shops in Lhasa, they have two different types of tea, one is the sweet milk tea, one is the black tea,
this salted black tea, and I actually prefer
the salted black tea, we got another Thermos
of salted black tea. Yeah, it’s slightly salty, the tea is like, very light in flavor, but it’s growing on me, I
really like it, like a soup. Okay, from here, we are gonna
head over to the family home and start the cooking. (slow-paced Tibetan music) So we are still in Lhasa city, but that was about a 15 minute drive to the outskirts of the city, we’re at the base of the mountain, which is in the misty peaks, the location is superb, it’s gorgeous, and this is where we’re gonna
meet up with our host family, who’s gonna cook, just, yeah,
an amazing Tibetan meal. Look at this place. (men speak in foreign language) Okay, nice to meet you. (serene music) – Watch your head. – Okay. Okay, so from the main road, walk down the alley a little
bit into this courtyard, a traditional Tibetan home,
wow, this is beautiful. Oh, yes. (serene music) Hello, hello. – Good garden. – Yeah, beautiful, beautiful house. So we have been welcomed into the home, there’s a big courtyard, there’s kind of like an entrance gate and then a big courtyard, and then maybe the kitchen over here, but Uncle is welcoming us into this room. (woman speaks in foreign language) Thank you. Wow, so this is the inside seating, kind of like the living room, I think. It’s so beautiful. Like, everything, the carpets, the wooden boxes, the decorations, everything is so ornate,
the Tibetan designs. Very cool. (Tibetan music) Yeah so we’re just,
we’re sitting down now, there’s some snacks on the table, this one over here is
a barley kind of like, deep-fried, crunchy snack,
and then there’s candies, there’s yak cheese, and then
there’s just roasted barley. But then she also just
served us some butter tea. (slurps tea) Oh, yes. Yeah, it’s so good. And there’s no milk in
here, it’s just butter, but he was just mentioning
that it’s in the city they use kind of a weaker butter, not that real full fat, creamy butter, whereas the nomads in the countryside use more of a stronger,
stronger yak butter. ‘Cause they need it in the countryside, where the conditions are harsh, the elevation, the cold. Oh, it’s good, though. I’m gonna try one of these snacks. Mm, oh yeah, it’s really good. Made from Barley. It’s like a crispy cracker,
fried crispy cracker. Chase that with butter tea. Now I’m gonna move over
and try the yak cheese, the dried yak cheese, and
there’s two different types, one is more of a brown one which she said is kind of
like a fried yak cheese, and the other one is a little bit, the white one is more sweet. Do you chew it, or do you? – [Guide] Yeah, chew it, yeah. – Really crispy, but not like, rock hard. And then you taste kind
of a sourness aftertaste. Very good. (Tibetan music) They are gonna get started cooking now so we’re gonna move over
here to the kitchen. Even this outdoor seating
section is so nice. It’s so chill. And then over onto the right
hand side, this is the kitchen. Even the kitchen has the same
kind of sofa seating areas, the Aunty is getting started on a dish, she’s making, it’s like a
type of pasta made with wheat, and she’s just making these
tiny little formations in her finger. (Aunty speaks in foreign language) And then moving over to
this side of the kitchen, let me introduce you some of
the ingredients of the day, we’ve got a sheep head, and I think these are a
variety of different yak meats, minced yak meat, there’s sliced yak meat, there’s maybe more yak meat, there’s yak cheese, and then over here, this is
the actual ginseng fruit, which again, yeah, it’s not
related to common ginseng, but this is like a Tibetan ginseng, and it’s very important
in the Tibetan diet, Tibetan culture, it’s
considered a long-life food, and also it’s often eaten
during new year’s as well. Okay, there’s so many
different cool containers and storage devices, traditional style. One, they have, I think
it’s a yak skin bag that you can carry butter,
that you can carry food in, and there’s a box with salt, and then if you look over here, this is a wood-burning, but
also you can cook on it, and instead of burning wood, they often burn either
cow dung or yak dung. (percussive music) As we’re still preparing the
ingredients before cooking, Uncle wants to show us his, it’s his own little chapel in his home. Every family in Tibet they
have a chapel in their home? – They have their own chapels, so they have many rooms in their home, but the chapel is the most
important house for them. So when you sit in this house, they have many pictures, it’s mostly the Gelug school of Buddhisms, three masters, so they praise Zen Buddhas. (child chattering) – [Mark] How do you say “yak” in Tibet? (Uncle speaks in foreign language) (Mark and Uncle speak in foreign language) (Mark laughs) (Aunty speaks in foreign language) So that preparation is ready, they’re gonna get started
actually cooking the dishes, the first dish that they’re
gonna make is momos, momos are one of the most
common of Tibetan dishes, little dumplings, they’re
making two different types, one is yak with minced
yak, and one is potatoes. And she’s kneading the dough to be able to make the little dumplings. (relaxed music) She’s so fast at rolling out that dough, and the actual center of the dough is thicker than the outsides, it’s thinner so that you can wrap it, so that it can hold in that
soup from the fat of the yak. Butter and cheese. Very, on the other side of
the kitchen from the momos, Uncle is making and mixing a
very interesting Tibetan dish of yak cheese, like shredded yak cheese, he added in some butter, and really, like, mashed that together, and then added in brown sugar, and he’s just mixing and
mashing that together, they say that’s one of
the most nourishing like, force, like powerful Tibetan dishes, so much cheese and butter in there. Like, pure cheese and butter. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) (Aunty and Uncle converse
in foreign language) Okay, so the pan of
yak momos are complete, and that’s using wheat, using dough flour, but the potato momos
are totally different, they’re not even made
with that same wrapper, that actual wrapper is
potato, mashed potato. He puts in a, he makes a
little ball of the potato, adds in a little bit of
the same minced yak meat, and then forms them into little ovals that are gonna be deep-fried, so it is a momo, but it’s
a totally different momo, totally different composition. (percussive music) And then also he’s making, just a couple, just ’cause Uncle wanted me to taste, he’s making a couple of
the yak cheese momos, so that yak cheese,
butter, brown sugar mixture into a momo, and those are bigger, like a flower shape. (Aunty laughs) Stove is on, I think that’s
a pot of just hot water because they’re gonna
start steaming the momos, they’re gonna steam the sheep’s head. For the sheep’s head, actually, they’ve pre-cooked it last night because they had to boil
it for four hours, I think, but then they’re gonna re-steam it, they’re gonna cook the rest of the dishes, and now comes the cooking part. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) Of the kitchen he’s making
boiled yak meatballs, so that’s that same mixture that went into the momos, I think. It’s gonna be a yak meatball soup, so then she added in
some vermicelli noodles, and also some mushrooms. That’s gonna simmer away. It smells so good already. Is that curry powder? – [Guide] Yes. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) – Now that all the ingredients
are ready and prepared it’s just like, things are going, they’re just going full-speed, and he just threw the momos
onto the boiling water to steam, soup is boiling, and then Uncle just also put on another, like a wok pan, he’s gonna
start frying something. Just dishes happening all over the place. This is the excitement. (Tibetan music) (oil sizzling) He first fried some,
deep-fried some sliced potato, and that’s gonna be cooked with lamb meat. Lamb meat, or yak meat? – [Guide] Lamb meat. – Lamb meat, okay, so
that’s a different dish, but now that he finished that, now he’s deep-frying those potato momos with yak meat on the inside. (Tibetan music) And he is offering us the cheese momo, this is right out of the steamer, these are the bigger ones. Oh wow, it’s sweet because
of that brown sugar. And then the cheese, yeah,
that’s some strong cheese, that’s some powerful
cheese, the yak cheese. But then you’ve also got, yeah, the brown sugar
in there makes it sweet, what was it? Oh, the butter. So it’s like, juicy from the butter, and then, wow, that’s almost like a, it’s like sweet, and sour,
and animal-tasting dumpling. Okay, and right now as
I’m taking that bite, he’s about to put the
lamb head on the steamer. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) (oil sizzling) And then he deep-fried the lamb, which I think was pre-cooked,
maybe pre-boiled before, deep-fried the lamb, that’s gonna go with the fried potatoes, fried lamb and fried potatoes. (Tibetan music) Wow, that’s gonna be so unbelievably good, that’s like three times cooked lamb, I thought he was done when
he deep-fried that lamb, but then he heated up, he
melted down some butter, he cooked some onions in there, and also some green onions, then he put the deep fried lamb, and the deep-fried potatoes
back into that butter mixture, tossed them, added in some salt,
added in some curry powder. Oh, that smells unbelievable. Oh, that’s gonna be so good. (pan sizzles) The next dish that he’s making
is a very common Tibetan dish of sliced yak with pickled
radish, pink pickled radish. This is another, such an interesting dish, with that dough, that
little pasta that she made, first they boiled it, then he melted down a bunch of butter, like a block of butter, then he added that boiled
pasta into the pan, then he added in a lot of brown sugar, and then finally a couple
of handfuls of yak cheese. What a macaroni and cheese. (serene music) Okay, now we’re moving
back to the kitchen, but let me just try to explain everything that just happened. There’s some raw yak meat that we’re gonna be eating as well. But that’s, what we’re gonna
eat with the raw yak meat is something called tsampa
which is ground barley flour. And tsampa is a staple of Tibetan food. She put it into this yak skin, and then mixed in, then we
went over to the other room, she poured in some butter tea, then she just like massaged
it in the yak skin, getting the right texture,
the amount of butter tea, the amount of liquid
to go with that flour, mashed it in, massaged
it in that yak skin, and then brought it back to the kitchen and then she made it into these little hand-shaped little dumplings. That’s gonna be to eat
with the raw yak meat, that’s fascinating. Yeah, and then final step is taking the sheep
head out of the steamer, I think that’s the final dish, so many things have been going on, so many different dishes, the variety, but he put that lamb head,
or actually a sheep head, onto a little wooden pedestal tray, you can just see, like, it’s
been steamed for so long and boiled for so long, you can see that skin
just like, peeling back, it’s just gonna melt. (Tibetan music) This is just one of those
meals where I’m overwhelmed at the diversity of the ingredients, but also just the different dishes that I’ve never experienced anything like it elsewhere, ever. I mean, some of the
dishes, like the momos, but the dish with the
pasta, with the butter, with the cheese and the brown sugar. The tsampa with the raw yak, the sheep’s head Tibetan-style, the ginseng fruit. This is just an overwhelming
spread of Tibetan food, by far the most beautiful
Tibetan meal I’ve ever seen, and their hospitality, and
the house, and everything. This is spectacular, and we’re just waiting
on the final touches, Uncle and Aunty are gonna sit down and we’re gonna dig in
to this Tibetan feast. Oh, okay, first he’s
breaking into the sheep head. And then the meat just like, scrapes off the bone, it’s so tender. It’s been boiled for
like four hours, I think, and then steamed, he probably steamed it for about an hour as well. It’s so tender, and the best
thing about a sheep’s head, or any animal head to eat is just the little bits and crevices, the different textures
and bits that you get. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) (everyone laughs) Just try a little bit, did they do the chili? Oh yeah, that’s that fatty bit. Oh, wow. (guide and Uncle converse
in foreign language) Oh, that’s so fatty and tender, that chili powder’s giving it a salty. It’s so beautiful. So Uncle and I are gonna try
the tsampa with the raw yak, and what you do is, you
take a piece of the tsampa, and this is the black
tsampa, black barley. So you eat that first, okay. It’s like a really, really fine, it’s dry, but not dry at the same time, maybe it’s because of that butter. But yeah, I really like it. It’s doughy, and you take
some of the raw yak meat, put it into your palm,
this is a cool technique. And as that kind of like, gummy tsampa, is still kind of like, coating your teeth and
the top of your gum, then you take the raw yak meat. Oh, wow, and that’s just
like a burst of flavor. It’s so tender, and so juicy. And you can taste a lot of
chili powder in there, too. The onions in there, oh,
that’s unbelievably good. That combination, that is stunning. (Uncle speaks in foreign language.) Very good, very good, yeah? Okay, I’m gonna try one
of the fried potato momos. (laughs) Oh, that is stunning. Like, the texture of the potato. It’s like, bouncy in texture. Just with enough, it’s just a little bit
of yak meat in there, just enough to flavor
the whole, to power it. Whoa. Those are extraordinary. Oh, man. Thank you. Okay, this one is the yak meatball soup with vermicelli and mushrooms in it. Oh, that focuses on the
yak meatballs themselves, because the yak meatballs, they were boiled in the
broth to make that broth. It’s meaty, I love the texture
of those woodier mushrooms. Like, the meatball, it tastes quite lean, but maybe because the fat has boiled out into the broth, into the soup. That’s like a warming soup,
that’s for sure, though, you can taste the yak fat in it. Okay, it’s time to get
started on the yak momos now. Okay, so he grabs the yak momo. (Uncle speaks in foreign language) And first what he does
is, he kind of bites the, he actually bites the side of it to open that little pocket of meat. And then you put this
chili sauce into the yak so that way it doesn’t fall off. I like that technique, you maximize your chili sauce without it falling off the outer. Because when you just roll
it in the chili sauce, sometimes it just doesn’t stick. That’s how you ensure you
get it filled with chili. Oh, wow, maybe even there’s some. Maybe some Sichuan pepper
in that chili sauce as well. Oh, that’s incredible,
it’s kind of citrus-y, the yak meat on the
inside, the yak meatball, and then the gummy wrapper of the momo. Okay, and then, next dish, this is the fried lamb
chops, with fried potato, which he simmered in butter. Wow, this one looks so good. I’m gonna try to navigate
to a piece of meaty, deep-fried and then simmered,
or sauteed in butter. (laughs) It’s so tender! I wasn’t even expecting
it to be that tender, it’s so tender, it’s fatty, it is greasy,
you taste that butter on it. And then I think it’s like
being simmered with those onions gives it that like, onion-y-ness, but that is real lamb meat, you know it’s lamb when you’re eating it. Oh, that’s flavorful. That is so good. I’m gonna add a little
more of that chili sauce to this lamb for my next bite. That chili sauce is incredible. That is unbelievably tender, oh wow. Oh, it’s so good. I think the touch that makes it is that final saute in butter. And they said especially if
you’re starting to feel heavy from the yak, from the sheep, from the fat and the butter, eat some of the radish and
that will kind of like, digest, that will kind
of like, wash it down. Mm. I think because there’s the vinegar, because it’s pickled,
kind of that acidity. Oh, wow. That is so good. I love that sourness
from the pickled radish, and then the meatiness again from the yak. (Tibetan music) Uncle is dissecting the sheep head, and he gave me a piece of
the cheek, dip that into the, oh, the cheek is one of the
best pieces, that’s for sure. Dip that into the chili
sauce, the chili powder. Oh, the cheek is incredible. It’s just melt-in-your-mouth tender. Fatty in all the right places. And just gelatinous bits and meat bits. And then he also just
sliced up the tongue. Oh wow, that just melts in your mouth. Take a piece of the, he
sliced up the tongue as well. The tongue, you have to peel that skin. ‘Cause I think it’s tough
and just un-chewable. It’s so tender! Just like, the tongue just
falls apart in your fingers. But that skin is very tough. Peel that skin. Okay, and that’s just
the pure, that texture. (laughs) Wow. The tenderness is just unbelievable. And that again, it just
melts in your mouth, ’cause it’s been boiled
and steamed for so long. That is amazing. As part of Tibetan food culture, there’s no real distinction between, there’s no real desserts, but there are snacks,
there are main dishes, but the sweet dishes are just eaten along with the meal as well,
from what I understand, so there’s two sweeter dishes which, I mean, I could have eaten them at any point throughout this meal, but it is, like, the last two dishes. One of them, which I will start with, the ginseng fruit, it
is like a little bulb, a little root, I believe, though. And for this dish, he
just made it very simple, and we saw it all over
the market in Lhasa, he just simmered down some
butter, melted some butter, put in that ginseng fruit, and then he stir-fried that around, and then added in a bunch of sugar, and then just kind of caramelized it, and then that’s it, like, five
minutes, done, let’s try it. And I love the like,
different shapes of these. Mm. They kind of have a texture,
yeah, similar to a potato. Starchy, crisp, and then, like rich, but this is also considered
very healthy, very nutritious, which it is, because those are, I mean they’re grown in Tibet
from a very high elevation. That’s good. Okay, and then the other one to try is the little handmade
pasta which then he boiled, and then sauteed again in yak butter, plus a bunch of yak
cheese, and brown sugar. (laughs) Whoa. That could be the world’s
strongest macaroni and cheese. But it’s almost like, fruity-tasting
from that brown sugar. The yak butter, the yak cheese in there. And I think it melts, but at the same time it kind of like, remains unmelted, it has the same anatomy
even when it’s cooked because it’s so strong,
because it’s so resilient. But yeah, that is a strong, animal-y, little doughy macaroni taste, and those two sweet dishes, they’re very special Tibetan dishes, very ceremonial, very common
on important days in Tibet. Okay, and we almost forgot
there’s one more dish, but this is kind of like a snack, this is what we saw Uncle
mix and make as well, but it’s a combination
of a bunch of yak cheese, a bunch of just raw yak butter, and then brown sugar. And then he just like mixed and mashed that together into a dough, and then she made these little pucks, little like, cookies out of them. This is probably the most
powerful energy, fat cookie you’ve ever had in your
life, it’s like a power bar, a next-level, Tibetan power bar. Smell the yak in it for sure, that cheese. (laughs) Oh, wow. That is powerful. That is by far the most potent energy power bar you’ve ever had. Like the butter, I guess,
that’s just holding it together, because that’s just shredded
yak cheese and brown sugar. Whoa, that is a lot of
calories packed into this. That’s good. Oh man, and at this point in the meal, it is time to lean back. That’s why Tibetan sofas, oh man. That was just a superb meal, and the hospitality of Uncle and Aunty, them welcoming us into their home, into their living room,
into their kitchen, to learn from them about Tibetan culture. I’ve had Tibetan food before,
but nothing of this variety, of this extensiveness,
of this ingredients, of this decoration, and it was a privilege to have this meal. What a meal. (Tibetan music) Thank you, and this is at the end. Very cool, and I think made from silk, but it’s a custom, it’s
a tradition in Tibet. Their hospitality, their
hospitality shines. Just stepping outside of the compound, and wow, the sun has really come out, when the sun comes out in
Tibet, it’s just blazing. I also wanna say a huge thank
you to Travel China Tibet, for bringing me, for arranging
this entire experience, for bringing me to Tibet, they’ve done an amazing job, and they can customize tours to Tibet. So big thank you to Travel China Tibet, I’ll put their link in the
description box below as well. Thanks again for watching,
goodbye from Lhasa, Tibet, and I will see you on the next video.

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