Top 10 Best Tibetan Restaurants You Have To Try When You Visit China

Top 10 Best Tibetan Restaurants You Have To Try When You Visit China

If you’re visiting China, a Tibetan restaurant is an experience you’ll want to have. One of the best parts about coming to China is the food, and there are so many kinds of cuisine, that it can get overwhelming.

While Sichuan hot pot and hand-pulled noodles are usually the first items on a foodie-centered China trip, Tibetan food often gets overlooked.

This region of China is vastly different than the rest in almost every way imaginable. So, that’s why testing out the Tibetan cuisine is a must if you want to understand this massive country.

Top 10 Best Tibetan Restaurants You Have To Try When You Visit China

Photo Source: Serious Eats

If you aren’t familiar with Tibetan food, the cuisine is characterized by the use of goat, mutton, yak, cheese, and dumplings. All of which aren’t typically used in other types of Chinese cooking. If you aren’t able to make it to Tibet this time around, you can still get a taste of the cuisine in some of these restaurants.

1. Tibetan Family Kitchen

Located in Lhasa, this is a restaurant that is renowned for the authentic Tibetan eats. Guests here can get a steaming plate of yak covered in tomato sauce, dumplings, and noodles. The restaurant is family-owned, and they even offer cooking classes that last for two hours and teach students the ropes for Tibetan cooking. Plus, you’ll get to eat what you cooked for dinner after the class is over. It can be slightly difficult to find but look for the sign across from the Shangbala Hotel in the courtyard of Danjielin Lu.

2. Crazy Yak Saloon

 

Also located in Lhasa, this restaurant can be found on East Beijing Road, next to the Kirey Hotel. It’s one of the largest restaurants serving Tibetan food in the city and is characterized by its distinct and traditional decorations. Most diners will recommend the yak meat, but the aweto beef and chicken are great options too. The restaurant also puts on a cultural show and performance so that you can get a taste of Tibetan song and dance while you’re getting a taste of the food too.

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3. Zha Xi Da Wa

Located in Shanghai, this Tibetan restaurant is one of the best in the city. It serves not only traditional Tibetan food but also the cuisine of the Zang minority group from that area. The chefs here cook mostly Xizang food, which includes a whole lot of yak meat. The yak stuffed eggplant is one of the restaurant’s most renowned dishes. Aside from the delicious food, this restaurant also is known for its hospitable staff as well as the cultural show it puts on for guests.

4. Duojie Lamu

This Shanghai restaurant can be a bit hard to find. It’s located in the Tianzifang region of Shanghai and offers some pretty authentic Tibetan cuisine. Previous guests here say that you should come hungry because the chef offers up some of the heartiest potatoes, yak, goat, and mutton around. It’s also a bar, so you will be able to drink some nice cold beer while you wash down your dinner.

5. Makye Ame

This chain of Tibetan restaurants was started in Lhasa but has migrated all the way over to Beijing. The city has two locations, one being on Silk Street, which was designed to resemble a cozy and authentic Tibetan home. The other location is much more lavish, so your personal dining preference should help you choose. The menu features items like curried potatoes, beef slices wrapped in pickled radish, and yak meat. It’s recommended that guests try the cheese balls and the homemade yogurt. The staff fly all ingredients in from Tibet, so you know you will be getting the real thing. Also, there are nightly performances to show off the Tibetan culture.

Top 10 Best Tibetan Restaurants You Have To Try When You Visit China

Photo Source: Pinterest

6. Qomolangma Hotel Restaurant

Located in Beijing, this restaurant is nestled inside the Tibetan Provincial Government Hotel, making it difficult to stumble upon. If you are in-the-know, you’ll get the chance to dine on traditional Tibetan cuisine like the yak jerky. Make sure to grab a reservation for the traditional song and dance performances because they fill up quickly.

7. A’re Tibetan Restaurant

Because the city of Chengdu is so close to Tibet, it’s no surprise that there is a ‘Little Lhasa’ area of the city. It’s probably the closest you can get to Tibet without actually stepping foot there. Of course, this area is packed with Tibetan restaurants for visitors to try. A’re is one of the best known in the area and offers dishes like pan fried yak with potatoes and Tibetan bread. Also try the Sha Balep, which is seasoned yak stuffed into bread, or the hearty dumplings.

8. Ganglamedo

Located in Beijing, the name of this restaurant translates to ‘Lotus Flower’ in Tibetan. This restaurant and bar has been described as a Tibetan oasis hiding in Beijing and gives guests the chance to escape the busy streets and retreat somewhere that feels close to nature. Try some yak butter tea, stewed yak tongue, yak steak, or a Lhasa barley beer. After you’ve had your fill, head upstairs to see one of the nightly performances.

Top 10 Best Tibetan Restaurants You Have To Try When You Visit China

Photo Source: Serious Eats

9. Yangjinma Tibetan Restaurant

Han Hong, a famous singer from Tibet, is the owner of this authentic restaurant. In fact, all of the staff members here are from Tibet as well. Guests can dine on yak marrow soup as well as the traditional momo dumplings. Interested in a bit of education while you visit? This unique restaurant also has a small museum dedicated to teaching about Tibet to guests.

10. Snow Deity Palace

Located in Lhasa, this authentic Tibetan restaurant is known for its traditional eats. The restaurant can be found west of Potala Palace Plaza and is well loved by nearly everyone who reviews it. Make sure to try the Tibetan stuffed buns as well as the fried mutton chops.

Tibetan cuisine is unlike anything else in China, making it essential to try if you want the full experience. And, whether you make it out to Tibet itself, or you are just visiting the other popular areas of China, you should be able to find a restaurant serving up some of this traditional cuisine. Happy eating!

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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.