Note: This is an extract from my Thibet gazetteer for the Gas-Lamp Fantasy Role-Playing Game. The finished supplement includes an overview of Thibet, and short articles on Thibetan culture; and also details of the Thibetan lung-gom-pa runners, those people who, according to legend, could run a hundred miles or so.
Note that the use of ‘H’ in Thibet is deliberate: Tibet was occasionally spelled that way in late Victorian times.
In the winter, beef and mutton are cut into long stripes to be air-dried in the circular ground caves or bins walled with stones or dungs. The dried meat is crisp and tastes good and can be eaten raw since the chilliness in the winter has killed bacteria during the process.
Traditional Thibetan food consist mainly barley, meat and dairy products. Vegetables are scarce in the high altitude. The staple Thibetan food is barley flour (tsampa), which is consumed daily. Thibetan people eat Tsampa at every meal and bring it as instant food in travel.
Yak yoghurt is also very important for Thibetan people.
Big joints of beef and mutton boiled with salt, ginger and spices are also popular food among Thibetans. They take the meat in hands and cut them with their knives. The guests will be treated with breasts and spareribs. If you are treated with a tail of white sheep, it means that you are considered to be a guest of honour.
Blood sausage, meat sausage, flour sausage and liver sausage are also favoured by many Tibetans. Other food stuffs include Momo (Thibetan dumplings), Thenthuk (Thibetan noodles and noodle soup) and yak tongue.
Balep korkun is a sort of Thibetan flatbread which is cooked on a skillet.
The drink with which is consumed by many Thibetans is jasmine tea. For contrast, try the famous and unique Thibetan tea. To make it, tea is boiled and pounded in a churn with yak butter and salt. Thibetan people drink it throughout the whole day.
Besides salted butter tea, sweet milk tea is another popular alternative.
Tibetan cooking has been influenced by its neighbours, China and India, but makes use of ingredients found in the mountains. Thibetan cuisine is similar to that of Nepal.
Tibetan chang is made from fermented barley and occasionally rice or millet. It tastes mild but is seldom made with pure water and can sneak up on you after a few glasses, having a strong effect at Thibet’s high altitudes. In some places they serve a delicious, mild chang drink laced with honey.
The Thibetans also drink a sort of rice wine called Raksi.