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Nagchu Food and Drink: best guide to dining in Nagchu

January,31 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

When you take a trip to Nagchu in northern Tibet, you will not only have a chance taste traditional Tibetan food, such as the popular Zamba and Tibetan yogurt, but can also taste the unique local cuisine in northern Tibet, like Ginseng Fruit Rice, Tibet Chicken with Caterpillar Fungus, etc. It is not a problem to find something to eat in Nagqu. Here we have prepared a detailed travel guide for your dining in Nagchu, hoping you can enjoy the best of local cuisine in your northern Tibet tour.

Staple Food and Traditional Beverage in Nagchu


Zamba, also known as Tsampa, is a traditional Tibetan food that you can also see in the daily life of Tibetans now. It is made by roasted highland barley flour. Because it is easy to carry and keep, most Tibetans regard it as the best travel food. Traditionally, Tibetans mix the flour with butter tea, cheese, and sugar (sometimes not) to form the Zamba dough by hand and then eat it directly without other cooking methods.

Butter Tea

Butter tea is a kind of must-drink during your Tibet tour. Made of tea with ghee and salt, the Tibetan butter tea tastes more like salty soup rather than sweet milk tea. However, it is really helpful to keep you warm in the highland and help you ease high altitude sickness if it is the first time you come to Tibet.

Tibetan Sweet Tea in NagchuTibetan Sweet Tea is a Tibetan's favorite daily drink in Nagchu.

Tibetan Bala Pie

It is a typical Tibetan snack baked with flour, sugar, yak butter, and other ingredients. It is very crispy and the fragrance is inviting. If you add walnut kernels, it gets the nucleolus flavor. While adding osmanthus flower, it is the sweet-scented osmanthus flavor. So you can choose different kinds of flavor according to your own preference.

Chura Kampo (Tibetan Dried Cheese)

Chura Kampo is a kind of Tibetan dried cheese which is made from the curds of boiling buttermilk. When the curds are separated from the boiling buttermilk, Tibetans will shape the curds into different shapes, such as balls, noodles or beads, and put them in the places under the sun to let them dry. It has a strong flavor of buttermilk. Sometimes, the local people also add some sugar or butter to the curd and make the Chura Kampo tastier.

Tibet Yogurt

With more than 1000 years of history, Tibet yogurt is one of the must-eat food in Tibet plateau. It is fermented from Tibetan yak milk, which has a strong flavor than ordinary yogurt. For the high butterfat content of yak milk, the Tibetan yogurt is creamier than the yogurt made of cow milk. You can add some sugar or honey while eating Tibet yogurt.

Tibetan Yogurt in NagchuMade from naturally fermented yak milk, yogurt is one of the staple foods of Tibet.

Tibetan Barley Wine

Tibetan barley wine, called Chaang in Tibetan, is brewed from Tibetan barley. It is the most popular alcohol drink among Tibetans. The unique barley wine has orange-yellow color, sweet taste with low alcohol content. Though it is not suggested to drink alcohol in Tibet in case you may get high altitude sickness, it is alright to have a taste of the special Tibetan Barley wine in your Nagchu tour, especially when you visit the local herdsmen in the northern Tibetan grassland. The host always entertains important guests with the barley wine.

Top Three Special Cuisines in Northern Tibet

Ginseng Fruit Rice

In the area around Lake Namtso and in the Baqing Valley, a red fruit grows like peanuts, which is called the ginseng fruit of northern Tibet. It has high protein, low fat and low sugar. Local residents often mix this ginseng fruit with cooked rice and add the ghee with the sugar. This sweet dish is delicious and rich in nutrients.

Stewed Lamb with Mushroom

In Nagchu, the northern Tibetan grassland is rich in mushrooms, especially during the rainy season. At that time, the rainfalls are abundant, and various kinds of mushrooms grow everywhere. During these months, local Tibetans like to cook the mushrooms with mutton. After a period of stewing, the lamb is soft, and the mushrooms are still crisp and very delicious.

Stewed Chicken with Caterpillar Fungus

The Caterpillar Fungus is one of the specialties in the Nagqu area of northern Tibet. The first half of June is the best time for harvesting Cordyceps Sinensis. Local Tibetans like to cook chicken soup with Winterworm Summerherb and little jaundice. The delicious flavor and rich nutrition make it known as one of the three treasures of Northern Tibet Diet.

Stewed Chicken with Caterpillar Fungus in NagchuStewed Chicken with Caterpillar Fungus is a famous dish in Nagchu.

Other Tibetan Dishes in Nagqu

Lamb Chops with Tibetan Saffron

Lamb chop is one of the most popular dishes in Tibet. In Nagqu, the locals have a special cuisine made from lamb chops that have been specially marinated by local saffron. Tibet Saffron has a very high medicinal value. In addition to making health care products, it can also be used as a daily ingredient to cook soup, porridge and so on. When cooking this featured lamb chops, local Tibetans add saffron to make it taste better with higher nutritional value. It is a local cuisine that you can't miss when traveling to Nagchu.

Tibetan White Sausage

The Tibetan white sausage is a special food that local Tibetans love very much. This sausage looks white compared to traditional red sausages. The method of making it is generally similar to other types of sausages. Usually, locals cook the rice first, mix well with sheep blood, sheep oil, mutton (or beef) and seasoning, then put it into the cleaned sausage casing, tighten the ends and finally boil in water until they are ready to eat.

Tibetan White Sausage in NagchuTibetan White Sausage is a favorite food for local Tibetans in Nagchu.

Tibetan Beef Rice Noodles

You can taste delicious Tibetan beef rice noodles at the local Tibetan restaurants in Nagchu. Traditional rice noodles with fresh bone soup and large pieces of beef will give you a great sense of satisfaction. If you like spicy food, you can add some chili oil.

Dried Beef and Mutton

The dried beef and mutton is a kind of popular food among all Tibetan ethnic groups. Usually, the Tibetans make the dried meat in winter seasons. They cut the beef and mutton into long strips and put them in the shaded places, where the meat can be dried by air naturally. And you can eat them directly or fry in the oil as you like.


Most cuisines offered in Nagchu are made of local yak meat and mutton. And some dishes are also cooked with Nagchu local specialties, like mushrooms, Caterpillar Fungus, etc. If you are a gourmet, or interested in tasting different ethnic food in Tibet, you can join in our Tibet group tour and let our local Tibetan guide take you to experience the most authentic Tibetan food.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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