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Sweet Tea, Tibetan People's Coffee

In Tibet, sweet tea is just like Tibetan people's coffee, refresher of leisure time in Lhasa for locals and travellers to Tibet. The sweet tea houses in Lhasa are warming up with the arrival of locals and tourists in pairs or groups when night falls. In Tibet, no morning can happily pass without tea, usually the buttered tea, while no lunch is dainty without sweet tea. Sweet tea to Tibetan people is a drink just like coffee to the Westerners — a drink to wake up and start the day.

Sweet tea, means "Qiabadi" in Tibetan, is made of black tea, milk and white sugar, serving as refreshment. Sweet tea houses can be seen everywhere in Lhasa — no matter when taking a ritual walk around the magnificent Potala Palace or going shopping in the Barkor Street. Usually, the sweet tea house in Lhasa opens at 7:00 am, and closes up at midnight when business is good.

GuangMing Gang Qiong Tian ChaGuanGuangMing Gang Qiong Tian ChaGuan

GuangMing Gang Qiong Tian ChaGuan is one of the most famous teahouses on Beijing Middle Road in Lhasa. Strong Tibetan flavor is pervading over the teahouse: colorful patterns of the eight auspicious symbols are painted on the yellow wall, traditional Tibetan rugs are put on the wooden desks and white khada are presented to a statue of Buddha on the counter. A pot of sweet tea, enough for four drinkers, costs 6 yuan at GuangMing Gang Qiong Tian ChaGuan.

Sweet Tibetan TeaSweet tea is something you shouldn't miss in Tibet tour.

"I am a regular customer here. SometimesI spend the whole day here with my friends." Tshe Sgron said, the locals like to go to the same teahouse even though they have to queue up. Young Tibetans are also patrons of the teahouse, where they can have a gathering with their friends.

Moreover, the sweet tea house also serves as a chess-and-card room for men. Tibetan men like to play xiu (a traditional Tibetan game of dicing, and players can "kill" each other in the game) at the teahouses. Tshe Sgron said the game is only for men in Tibetan areas.

Tibetan sweet tea houseA group of Tibetan men are playing cards at the sweet tea house.

The atmosphere of the teahouse is livening up by tea and wine. When Tibetans have no other place to go, the sweet tea house is a good choice to kill time as it also offers Tibetan staple food including zhaba and other Indian and Nepalese style food.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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