If you’re curious to try Tibetan cuisine and you live in Bangkok you’ll find the shortest flights from the Big Mango to Lhasa are 8 hours and 40 minutes. But why not save yourself the risk of lost luggage and lengthy flight times and visit the Tibet Kitchen (official Facebook page) instead? They offer authentic Tibetan cuisine at very reasonable prices in an atmosphere that feels like a little restaurant in Tibet.
In September of 2004 I had the good fortune to go on a 9 day trek through Tibet with some friends. Aside from the incredible sights, what I remember most about Tibet was the food and the yak butter tea. Granted you won’t find yak butter tea on the menu at Tibet Kitchen. But you will find some delicious Tibetan dishes, as well as Chinese, and Himalayan cuisine at very affordable prices.
I was able to get a pretty fair sampling of the menu offerings during my Tibet Kitchen visit. But I intend to visit again to try a few other things, as a lack of room in my stomach prevented me from trying everything I wanted. Without further ado, let’s get to the feast!
Momo and more momo!
In my last article I saved my favorite dish for last. Not this time. The momos at Tibet Kitchen are featured first because they deserve center stage. If you go to this restaurant and don’t eat the momos then you’ve done it wrong. Go back. Do it again!
Each day the momos are made fresh by hand. I was able to try a sampling of the steamed spinach and cheese, fried mixed vegetables, along with a mix of fried and steamed pork, lamb, and chicken momos. If you have enough folks at the table I recommend the Momo Bonanza (280 baht) which is a mix of 12 steam and fried pork and chicken momos. I would also highly recommend the steamed Spinach and Cheese Momos (150 baht).
At Tibet Kitchen they take momos seriously and go out of their way to ensure customers will enjoy them. If given 24 hours notice they will even prepare momos in accordance with strict Jain vegetarian diets! Fun fact: they’ve also broken up the menu into a vegetarian and non-vegetarian menu so it’s easy choose what you want if you have dietary preferences.
Tibet Kitchen serves addictive condiments…
The dipping sauces at Tibet Kitchen are addictive. If you get a single order of Momos you get a choice of your sauce. Order enough momos and they’ll bring a sampling of all of their sauces (an orange Szechuan chili sauce, sweet and spicy BBQ chili sauce, spicy chili sauce (Momma!), and sweet chili sauce). Also on the table you’ll find a sauce of fiery roasted chili and garlic sauce (use with caution).
Unique and delicious appetizers…
Tibet Kitchen offers some really unique and delicious appetizers that are perfect on their own, and could only be made better with a cold beer. This Pepper Corn Cheese Roll (180 baht) is an excellent example. Gooey cheese and roasted green and red bell peppers with corn and black pepper fill a crunchy egg roll like shell. Yum!
Want more to get your appetite going? I recommend their signature Honey Chili Potatoes (150 baht) dish. Covered in a sweet and savory sauce with just a bit of spiciness, and red onions with sesame seeds this dish takes French fries to a whole new level.
Obligatory noodles and rice…
Not quite Tibetan but not unusual either. Many Tibetan restaurants offer basic Chinese staples to accompany the main dishes (which are usually mixed with the noodles or rice). For this visit I enjoyed the Vegetable Chow Mein (140 baht) with crisp fresh veggies, and a simple Vegetable Fried Rice (140 baht). Both were light and not at all greasy. They are also deceptively small looking in this picture but each dish could easily be shared between 2-3 persons.
For the main dishes I tried the Honey Chili Chicken (180 baht) and the Bok Choy with Mushrooms (150 baht). The chicken is tender inside with a chewy/crunchy outside that’s in a lightly sweet and mildly spicy sauce. I enjoyed it over the vegetable Chow Mein noodles. The tender Bok Choy and Mushrooms is stir fried in a rich garlic and oyster sauce. It was delicious over the rice.
Feast alone and affordably…
First off this is a lot of food–not at all a normal lunch for me. I was fortunate to be able to try it all because I had the Tibet Kitchen owner to join me in eating it. Even then so, we couldn’t finish it. But that doesn’t mean that the lone diner can’t get a fair sampling of what the Tibet Kitchen offers and at a fair price. They have a nice lunch special of various combos that range from 160 – 310 baht. A person could eat well here with any of the combo meals under 220 baht.
A chat with the owner…
As much as I enjoyed the delicious food, the meal was further made enjoyable with the company of the Tibet Kitchen owner, “Yankee” Lhatsang. Though Tibet Kitchen is a relative newcomer to the Bangkok dining scene (opening its doors in August, 2016), Yankee has been in the restaurant business for many, many years. Originally from Mussoorie, India, for 35 years her family has been operating the well known restaurant Amitash the Rice Bowl with Yankee working there for over 20 years.
Mussoorie is famous for their international boarding schools. In fact, the restaurant in Mussoorie caters to the tastes of those students missing the flavors of home. It’s why they serve Indo-Chinese, Tibetan, and Thai food. That’s right, Thai food! She loves that many of her current clientele in Bangkok are former students who she served Thai food to before in Mussoorie and are now coming to see her to satisfy their Tibetan food cravings in Bangkok!
If you read some of the Facebook and TripAdvisor reviews of both Tibet Kitchen and Amitash the Rice Bowl you will get the sense that their food was an integral part of these students lives. Yankee has brought the recipes that have been creating so many fond memories in Mussoorie to Bangkok. Of course, she brought back the Tibetan and Indo-Chinese recipes only as Thai food is pretty easy to come by here! The team of chefs have taken those recipes and brought a little bit of Tibet to the table.
A Tibetan escape in the heart of Bangkok…
Tibet Kitchen is filled with lots of natural light from the window fronts and sides which highlight the vibrant colors within. The walls are painted with bright reds and decorated with intricate patterns of gold, deep blue, and green. Also adorning the walls are many beautiful paintings and tapestries typical to the region. Dining here is like stepping into a nice restaurant in Tibet. Popular in the evenings, make sure to make reservations if you want to dine here with a group on weekends.
I’m hungry! How do I get there?
UPDATE (February 24, 2019): Tibet Kitchen moved from their Sukhumvit Soi 23 location (where this article was written) and opened Their new location on Soi 22 (pictured in this Google Map)
If you enjoy Tibetan cuisine you will be thrilled to know that you can now get it here in Bangkok. If you’re looking to try Tibetan cuisine but not willing to take the flight and risk of luggage loss, you should visit Tibet Kitchen for a delicious experience. Regardless of which you may be, make sure you get a nice selection of momos and addictive dipping sauces!