Sunday, August 31, 2008

Traveling to Tibet

I finally made good on a promise I had made to myself when we moved to Bloomington several years ago. Given that the country's only Tibetan Cultural Center is located here and the town can boast of having not one, but two authentic Tibetan restaurants, this has long seemed like a valid aspiration.

After speaking with several people around town, I decided to go to Anyetsang's Little Tibet Restaurant. Luckily, this small eatery sits on Fourth Street in Bloomington, where the annual 4th Street Festival is held every Labor Day weekend. And guess what weekend this just happens to be. Looks like I can stroll through the artists' booths and eat great food all in the same day. Sounds like a plan to me. Come along to Tibet with me...

Slipping between a couple of artists' booths, I found my way to the sidewalk and the gateway to Tibet.

In this case, a piece of Tibet is located in a tiny, old house. I chose a table in the corner of what surely used to be the living room.

Don't you just love the small restaurants with their small budgets?

I opted for the Momo, which are steamed dumplings filled with minced beef and onion and secret spices. Two dipping sauces were served on the side: warm soy sauce and a spicy sauce of hot chilis, cilantro and green onion. Lentil soup was served as a first course and I chose to have a Mango Lassi with my lunch.

My lentil soup arrives. The lentils had been mashed to a pulp and the soup was filling without being heavy. Despite the heat of the day, this was a delightful dish.

Ah, my Mango Lassi has been freshly made. Smooth and rich and creamy with a wonderful fruity flavor.

A lassi is a yogurt based drink that was first developed in northern India. Several different flavors can be incorporated in the refreshing drink, making it a versatile beverage.

Now the Momos with the dipping sauces have been presented to this grateful diner. Essentially, the Momos are really not all that different than a steamed dumpling that one might find in a good Chinese restaurant. This should not be all that surprising, as Tibet has long ago adapted dishes from neighboring China, India and Nepal.
What I can tell you about this meal is that I really enjoyed how the subtle flavors of the Momo were accented by the dipping sauces. My favorite sauce turned out to be the special spicy sauce.

While I ate my lunch I spent some time taking in the ambience of the small restaurant.

The small pictures on the mantle show the Dalai Lama with people who are presumably the owners of this establishment.
I'm so glad I took the time out of my schedule to visit Tibet.

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