Food is central to our story. People often say how lucky I am to have Yeshi cook for me every day, but this was a strategic move on my part. Yeshi’s delicious dishes made their way into my life on the day that we met and I haven’t looked back since.
Let me backtrack. We met on a mountain path in McLeod Ganj, a small town in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. It was November, and it was cold. The Himalayan langur, a large, shy, silvery-coloured monkey that usually lives at higher elevation, had descended due to the icy conditions, and I was a tourist trying to get pictures. Yeshi was walking the same road – we got chatting.
He was a Tibetan who had been living in India for over a decade. He had travelled across the Himalayas by foot, and worked various jobs in cities and towns across the country ever since.
That night, Yeshi prepared me my first home-cooked Tibetan meal – beef thenthuk, a hand-pulled noodle soup. Later I discovered that this is daily evening fare in Tibet, where the daytime is warm with bright sunshine, but the nights are often deadly cold. Noodles in broth warm hands as well as bellies, and this rich, unctuous soup certainly beat the November chills from my bones.
Yeshi hates this picture I took of him chopping meat in the single room he was sharing with a friend when we first met (sorry Yeshi). But it’s just how I remember him then. This tiny concrete space was an improbable set-up for a gastronomic experience, but the meals he cooked up from the sparse kitchen in the corner of the room came to define my understanding of Tibetan food as a whole. Luxuries are not available on the grasslands of Tibet, just as they were lacking here, but simple, fresh, seasonal ingredients can be combined to create many different, flavoursome dishes.
Years ago, when we used to run a takeaway from our home around the corner from what is now Taste Tibet, thenthuk was a much-loved regular item on the menu. We planned to bring it back when we opened our restaurant, but we haven’t yet found a way to manage it alongside momos and everything else. Soon. Lots more stories and the full recipe for thenthuk (beef and veggie versions) in our upcoming cookbook! Click here to purchase (and remember that any pre-order comes with the chance to win a free momo-making masterclass with Chef!).
We are open the usual hours this week, as follows: Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)Thursday – Saturday: 12-3pm (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Come for takeaway, to dine in or order home delivery through Foodstuff. This week’s menu is unchanged from last week (it’s a winner). Check it out on the website now.
See you soon!
Julie and Yeshi