The cultural and historic centre of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, is Barkhor Street. This bustling thoroughfare has a history of over 1,300 years. It’s a meeting place of Tibetan culture, religion and arts, and is known as the “Holy Road” by the local people. It’s also the home to Tibet’s most famous restaurant, Makye Ame (and Pizza Hut and KFC, but that’s another story).
Going back a few hundred years, the Makye Ame site was once the palatial abode of the sixth Dalai Lama. Some of the many teahouses on this street also boast a long history, but food establishments are a relatively modern introduction (the Tibetan saying goes “better three days without food than three days without tea”).
Dining out is a new concept that not everyone is comfortable with yet. Yeshi’s family almost never do it, and I remember them looking very out of place on the rare occasions that we have had to eat outside of the home. The Chinese have capitalised on Tibetan people’s lack of experience in the industry, opening all kinds of restaurants serving mostly non-Tibetan food. Even Makye Ame, the one Tibetan restaurant that everyone in the know can name, serves a mix of many different cuisines.
Tibetans outside of the region often serve the best Tibetan food, and with the greatest flair. They have learned the art of the industry in Nepal, India and elsewhere, and taken some design and marketing advice along the way.
When we started Taste Tibet, like most Tibetans Yeshi had no restaurant experience to draw on, and as a dictionary editor I wasn’t much use either. We have fumbled our way, using instinct and drive.
In many ways it’s easier to provide an authentic experience outside of Tibet as there are fewer distractions. The desire to showcase Tibetan food is also stronger – we feel the responsibility of keeping Tibetan culture and traditions alive for the younger generation of Tibetans, as well as the pleasure of our wider community.
Thank you so much for all your support! The week of our reopening after summer festivals was huge. This week’s menu is live on the website now and our opening hours will be as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3pm (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
We don’t take table bookings, but you can pre-order for evening takeaway on the number below. The best time to ring is between 4 and 5pm on the day – we are sometimes too busy to answer the phones after we open.
Thanks and see you soon!
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318