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Nyingchi Food

  • by Eric
  • Last Updated: 2023-01-25

Nyingchi, known as “Switzerland” for Tibetans, is a prefecture-level city in southeast Tibet. It does not only own a breathtaking scenic beauty, but also well-preserved Tibetan customs. And one of the best ways to discover a new place is through its food. Tourists are highly recommended to have a culinary trip to Nyingchi in order to experience a different culture.

The Staple Food

Because of the special geographic location and the year-round temperate climate, barley becomes the most suitable grain to grow in Tibet. Tsampa, known as the most common Tibetan staple food, is made from barley. To go with Tsampa, butter tea is regarded as a perfect match, which is mostly extracted from the raw milk of sheep or cows raised by the locals. Different from other parts of Tibet, people in Nyingchi have developed another popular culinary form of barley--barley noodles.

Butter tea Tsampa

Nyingchi Specialties

Even though Nyingchi has a shared culture and culinary backbone with Tibet, which means tourists can have a taste of traditional Tibetan delicacies such as Tibetan momo, yak milk cheese, and steamed stuff buns, and too many others to count. But Nyingchi food is still characterized by its local gastronomic cuisine. In Nyinchi, you can easily find a good amount of restaurants and street vendors serving mouthwatering food. Take these following noted Nyingchi specialties as an example.

Stone-pot Chicken

Stone Pot chicken, noted as the most famous Nyingchi food enjoys a high reputation among not only tourists but also the locals. Delicious chicken cooked with Rhizome of Conic Gymnadenia(ginseng-like plant in a hand's shape). What's special is the utensil - the stone pots. The pots are traditionally carved out by hand, and it's believed that food cooked in such pots has a special flavor. And the special way of cooking ensures that they are embedded with both rich and natural herbal flavor, which enables all the nutrition to be well preserved and becomes the highlight of the dish.

stone pot chicken
Stone Pot chicken

Roasted Tibetan Pig

Roasted Tibetan Pig is a traditional dish in China. It is made with Tibetan pig as the main ingredient. Tibetan Pig, also known as "Ginseng Pig", is mainly distributed in the high mountains and deep valleys of the middle reach of the Yarlung Zangbo River, like the Bayi Nyingchi area. The pigs grow up in an environment of a raising elevation up to 3,000 meters (9850 ft), where they are able to eat precious ginseng fruit, cordyceps, precious Tibetan medicine, natural fungus, and other original ecological food exclusively produced in Nyingchi and drink fresh snow-melt water. It grows slowly, only to 80 kg in two years, with thin skin, a high lean meat rate, and tender meat.

Roasted Tibetan Pig
Roasted Tibetan Pig

Ancient people in Nyingchi started to prepare it in a primitive way and it is still in use today. After removing the fur, and cleaning off the internal organs and bones, Nyingchi cooks rub salt and seasonings, such as Chinese pepper, all over the pig’s skin. Then what to do is to hang it in the air waiting for it to get dried. Whatever your preferred way of cooking, it always has an awesome texture, and you can taste all layers. -- skin, fat, and meat, in a single texture-filled bite. The roasted pork is extremely fragrant and nutritious.

Boiled Mutton

Boiled Mutton is a unique way of eating mutton by herders. It is also considered one of the most famous foods for ethnic groups in Tibet. As the name - shouzhuayangrou implies in Chinese, it means to eat by hand with diners pulling and grabbing the meat off the bone. Cook the mutton in a pot of cold water, remove the mutton, cook the noodles in the broth and put it on the bottom of the plate, chop the mutton and place it on the noodles, sprinkle with spicy noodles, minced onions, etc. Eating the big piece of mutton in the homemade spicy sauce is the most satisfying thing after a long day of travel. The delicious meat and high nutritional value dumped many customers.

Boiled mutton
Boiled Mutton

Alone with the mentioned delicious dishes, you will find an unbelievable amount of other Nyingchi food courts to eat at, moreover, there is also a good variety of specialties from other parts of Tibet for you to choose from. And it is definitely worth a couple of hours' train ride from Lhasa.

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