Himalayan Cuisine Arrives in Jackson Heights

The cooking style of Chaley Ngoepa, a stir fry of beef tongue with vegetables, “says ‘China,’ the spiciness ‘India,’ and the choice of meat screams ‘Tibet,’” writes Suzanne Parker on the dish she sampled. (Photo by Suzanne Parker via Times Ledger)

The cooking style of Chaley Ngoepa, a stir fry of beef tongue with vegetables, “says ‘China,’ the spiciness ‘India,’ and the choice of meat screams ‘Tibet,’” writes Suzanne Parker on the dish she sampled. (Photo by Suzanne Parker via Times Ledger)

The diverse gastronomic offerings in Queens now includes Himalayan cuisine, thanks to the steady flow of Nepalese immigrants moving to the borough. Times Ledger’s Suzanne Parker visits the Little Tibet restaurant in Jackson Heights to get a taste of this emerging cuisine in the neighborhood.

Himalayan food is something of a mashup of Chinese and Indian influences, with its own distinctive twist. In Tibet, the yak is the animal of choice for both meat and dairy products. Tsampa, made from toasted ground barley, is a favored staple. Timgmo—that is, steamed bread dough—is favored for sopping up sauces and gravies. Momo, the most well-known Tibetan delicacy, are Tibetan dumplings, made with various fillings. And just to confuse things, Tibetan cuisine, like cuisines everywhere, is evolving, embracing dishes from other adjacent and distant areas. Who would have expected chicken lollypops, the iconic dish of the Tangra of Kolkatta, to show up on a Tibetan menu? It is, however, one of Little Tibet’s specialties.

Go to Times Ledger to see what Parker thought of the foods she ordered – among them, Mokthug (beef momos in bone broth), Gyuma (Tibetan blood sausage), Shabhaley (“Tibetan empanadas”) and Tsampa (toasted ground barley) cake.

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