Rutog County Dining
The Ngari diet belongs to the system of Chiang cuisine. The major materials are cheese, cow hoofs, acidophilus milk and ghee. Chiang cuisine tastes salty, light, fresh, sour and delicious and it can help people adapt themselves to the cold climate of the plateau.
Highland barley wine: Made from the highland barley, the main food produced in Tibet, Highland barley wine (also called Chiang in Tibet) is the wine favorite to Tibetan people and is a necessary part at festivals, marriage feasts and on some other important occasions.
Tu-Pa : Tu-pa is the food similar to Jiaozi (the Chinese dumpling), which is the favorite food in China, especially northern China. Method of making: put some chopped meat on a piece of flat round dough strip and roll up it, put the ends together, just as how Chinese people make Jiaozi. Tu-pa is the food for the family reunion dinner, usually held on December 29 of the Tibetan lunar calendar. Sometimes small pieces of stones, capsicums, charcoals or wool threads are put in Tu-pa, each representing a special meaning. Stone means that the people who happen to pick up this Tu-pa will be stonehearted in the next year. Woolen thread means a kind heart. Charcoal means the vicious mind. Capsicum means a loose tongue. Of course those special Tu-pas do not really mean those bad things. They are just for fun. No matter who happen to take that Tu-pa, they immediately spit it out. People laugh happily then. This habit really adds to the fun and happiness of the festival.
Buttered tea : It is the favorite drink of Tibetan people. It is made of boiled brick tea and ghee. Ghee, which looks like butter, is a kind of dairy product of fat abstracted from cow milk or sheep milk. Tibetan people like the ghee made of yak milk. When they make buttered tea, they mix boiled brick tea and ghee in a special can, add some salt, pour the mixed liquid into a pottery or metal teapot and finally heat up it (but not boil it). Different people have different tastes for the buttered tea. Some people like salty flavor, others prefer to light flavor. People who do manual labors, especially men, like the strong-tasted, cream-like buttered tea. Old people, children and women like light-flavored tea. People usually heat up the buttered tea because cold buttered tea is not easy to be digested and does harm to one’s stomach.