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Food and Drink

Traditional food and drink is an important 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 / homestays will have is yak butter tea.

Yak Butter Tea
This comes in various forms but is mainly comprised of water, tea, yak butter, 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 in this area. Depending on the type 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 dont like it, dont finish it!

Zanba
This is a traditional Tibetan staple. It is prepared from mailny 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.

Qinke Barley Wine
Very common for big occasions and welcoming guests, Qinke barley wine is made by boiling washed barley, adding yeast and leaving it to ferment it in a ceramic jar.

Yak Meat
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 its own or as part of a meal, this is the most popular meat in these parts.

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