Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mmmmm ... Yak!

I broke down the other day and had an actual restaurant meal rather than just eating from food shops/stalls. It was a nice place with different cuisines from the area- India, Nepal, Tibet, etc. The menu was in English, but just to make it easier on myself I chose the Nepali Set, with yak. I had the option to choose chicken, mutton, and a couple of others, but I thought, when in Tibet ...

What is the Nepali set you may ask? Well, you get a large plate with some loose rice, not the sticky east Asian kind. Next to the rice is a dollop of some kind of red pepper sauce. Similar to Korean kochujang, but actually a bit tastier. Maybe it was fermented or something. Also on the plate were some mixed vegetables, potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, small broccoli, and some kind of mushroom, in a light curry sauce. Finally, on the plate was what I assume was an homage to the western palate- a single slice each of tomato, carrot, and turnip, on a lettuce leaf.

The final items were a dish of a light curry soup with some kind of leafy vegetable, and a dish of yak pieces in a stronger curry. Maybe it should have been called the Nepali-curry set.

Everything was pretty darn good. Turns out, yak is good eatin'! What does it taste like? No, not chicken. It is pretty much just like beef. The meat was particularly tender. I don't know if that is a quality of yak in general, or just this particular preparation.

Maybe it is because the meat sets out in the open in the street markets. The butchers tend to leave a bit of yak skin/hair on the bone down around the hoof. I assume so you can be sure you are buying genuine yak. In the meat section of the street market, you see one stall after another with big hunks of meat on their tables and a big cleaver for easy portioning. I actually saw one guy using an axe, not a hatchet, to chop up a particularly large piece of meat (beef?). I think it had been frozen.

Anyway, it was a pretty good meal. They were decent sized portions, so I was full after eating. And the whole thing came to 31 Yuan (about $4.13), 25 for the food and 6 for the Coke. (I should have know better than to buy a drink in the restaurant. You can get a coke for 3 at the shop.)

Since then I have bought yak jerky which is also pretty good.

So, when you come to Tibet, try the yak.

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