What Does Tibetan Food Taste Like?

I'd be lying if I said that this is a question that I've been thinking about for years because up until, oh I'd say about two weeks ago, Tibetan cuisine wasn't even on my radar, for no particular reason other than, I really haven't encountered it.  (Hmm, maybe that should a New Year's resolution for me, seek out new ethnicities of food?)  The world is such a big place and I'm so fortunate to live in an area where diversity of food is so predominant and clearly, I need to take more advantage of this.  But anyways, I digress..

This past week, Fiona, Jen and I ventured out into some pretty yucky weather to Tashi Delek, located in Brookline Village.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I found that Tibetan food had a striking resemblance to Chinese food, which is something I didn't expect.  Instead, I was anticipating new flavors and tastes that I haven't experienced before and, although I was a little disappointed that this wasn't the case, I still found the food to be delicious and rather tasty. 

Because we were all excited to try something new (none of us had eaten Tibetan food before) we ordering an array of appetizers and a soup each.  I started with an order of their Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup.  It was very good.  Hot and rich with bright and buttery yellow corn kernels and shreds of fresh chicken floating in a thick and flavorful corn soup and garnished with some fresh sliced green onions.  

Chicken Sweet Corn Soup, Tashi Delek
For our main course, as I mentioned, we all split some appetizers.  Since Tibet is famous for their version of dumplings, we got two orders of the appetizer portion that included 4 dumplings each; seasoned beef in a steamed dumpling and seasoned chicken that was in a fried dumpling.  The beef dumpling was very good with well seasoned beef huddled into the center of a soft, bun-shaped dumpling.  The chicken dumpling was half-moon shaped and made with very fresh and again, well seasoned meat and then coated in a crispy outer shell.  Both dumplings were served with a small side of chunky sauce that resembled a basic tomato salsa.  

Steamed Beef Dumpling
Fried Chicken Dumpling
In addition to the dumplings, we ordered the Spring Rolls as well as the Mixed Vegetable Fritters.  The spring rolls were your average Chinese-style spring roll, only very fresh and stuffed with cabbage and slivers of carrots rolled into a flaky crust and then fried until gold brown.  A sticky-sweet plum sauce was draped across the spring rolls.  The sauce itself was sweet and had a strong but fresh mint flavor to it.

Spring Rolls
The mixed vegetable fritters were interesting and I do mean that in a good way.  Bearing a striking resemblance to Medusa, a wide variety of vegetable were fried and scrawled out across the plate.  The vegetables were very wide ranging (broccoli was a prominent player in these, something I didn't expect) and again, the fritters were coated in the minty plum sauce.  

Mixed Vegetable Fritters
Overall, I wasn't bowled over with excitement mainly because my own anticipation had been so high for a taste of something different but on the same note, the quality of each dish was exceptional and the food very fresh and tasty.  The staff was extremely friendly and we were not rushed at all.  The atmosphere is what I would anticipate it to be, decorated with traditional Tibetan artifacts and the part that was the most hard to miss was the massive Dali Lama that was plastered to the front of the restaurant and hung alter style, surrounded by candles.  

Can you spot the Dali Lama?
I would certainly go back here.  Not only was the food very tasty, it was so very reasonably priced.  After the food and a bottle of Cabernet, we each walked out of there a mere $25 lighter.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for some good fresh Asian food, just don't go in expecting wild and crazy Tibetan food.

Tashi Delek on Urbanspoon


Lizzy said...

Don't you love Brookline???! So many different ethnic and cultural restuarants... its seriously amazing. Have you been
Jerusalem Pita House? Thats one of my favs! Looks like you guys got similar food to us when we went there : )

Elizabeth said...

That's really interesting actually that your food was similar to Chinese food. I had Tibetan food once in NY and while there might have been a few Chinese food-like dishes, it reminded me most of South Indian food, with dishes like crepes and spiced potatoes, and Vietnamese with its noodle dishes.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Interesting - I've never had Tibetan food but I suppose it makes sense that it is similar to Chinese cuisine. I wonder if there are regional Tibetan dishes, including ones that are more like Indian food. Either way - those dumplings look really yummy!

Daisy said...

very interesting review. Glad you liked the food but sorry it wasn't what you were expecting! I think this is a great new resolution of yours.

Gwem said...

I might have to try this place! It's easy to get stuck in a restaurant rut, even when there is all of Boston to choose from. Furthermore, I feel like there aren't too many good Chinese places I know of in Boston (mostly Thai and Japanese, i think), so this may be a good substitute.

Kat said...

Tibet isn't on my list this year (it will be next year!), but if you want to join me in the challenge of cooking from a different region each week for a year, feel free to join in! Here are the countries, in the order I'm attempting: http://crosscountrieskitchen.blogspot.com/p/schedule-of-events.html

Renee {Eat.Live.Blog} said...

You need to try Himmalayan (sp?) Annaourna in Porter Sq is amazing! It is like taking all of the best flavors of India, China and Africa and putting them together in one delectable meal!

My favorite ethnic food, though, is Afghani. Boraka in Central Square and Ariana in Allston will both bowl you over. SOOOO good!

Melissa said...

I've had Tibetan food in Davis Square - if you want to compare restaurants. It was years ago and I don't remember what I ate, but I do remember thinking it was similar to Chinese food but seemed healthier and I enjoyed it too!

Anonymous said...

I've had fantastic Tibetan food experiences at the Lhasa Cafe in Northampton, MA. They have a large selection of yak dishes, lots of gingery/spicy noodles, and their chai tea is unbelievable. Their dumplings seem similar to what you tried.

My all-time favorite Tibetan food is tingmo, which is just simple steamed bread. I ate far too much of it while I was in college.

Good review! I'm interested in finding more Tibetan restaurants in the area.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is that those beef dumplings look exactly like Soup dumplings!

Harper Cosper said...

I love Tibetan food, especially the tsampa and sha balep. Those are just wonderful. And of course, the only way to taste authentic Tibetan food is to go to Tibet. When you get a taste of authentic Himalayan cuisine, there's a chance you won't go back home, haha.

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