When my ‘stir-fried’ beef was served, I could not believe it was only for me — it was a big portion – a full big plate!! I don’t think I have ever seen this generous portion in any Chinese restaurants in China or abroad, other than in northern China. So I thought it was just like people normally said – it is a typical ‘northern’ thing. But, hey, now, I know I am wrong, very wrong. And the taste of the stir fried beef — it took me back home with the memory of my uncle’s food straight away.
Tibetan beef is famous, so it is not surprising that they can cook really tasty beef dishes; however, I was surprised that the taste of these dishes was very similar to my regional and ethnic group food, even they are not close geographically at all. And the touch of cumin seeds and coriander makes it even better.
Although, I keep on talking about the surprising similarities between Tibetan food and my ethnic group’s food, there were actually some differences – one is the prevalence of curry dishes in Tibetan cuisine; in Chinese cuisine, curry never really existed before receiving Japanese and Cantonese influences, and it has never been a ‘common homecooking food’ in China.
Tibetan curry is more similar to Indian curry, but less ‘oily’. Apart from the ‘curry’ taste, it is more like northeast winter ‘stew’ really, you can even taste the ‘freshness’ in the curry sauce.
The second difference is the noodles, or the shape of the noodles — to be precise. When I suggested to order it, I thought it would be the famous ‘pull noodles’, since it was the popular and signature dish in Tibetan restaurants in Shanghai. However, I was wrong, again. It was what I saw the chef doing — to make the flour dough into a ‘stick’ shape, then press it flat by using thumb and index finger, and ‘tear’ it off at around a thumb width, then put it into the sauce pan to boil. So it was more like ‘Mian Pian’ dish, rather than noodles in ‘strips’, although it was slightly thicker. And the soup for noodles was very fresh and tasty. (Am I running out of vocabularies to describe how ‘tasty’ it was? :))) It was totally different to any restaurants served noodles.
The food was presented not in any fancy ways, not the dinnerware, nor the presentation — but everything gave me a warm, honest homy feeling — I wanted to be there, eat there. So we went back the second day.
As my husband concluded, the food overall has very strong Chinese ‘Han’ (or Hui, maybe) influence, but also has their local features and some ‘India’ influence, which is probably different to Nepalese food, where Nepalese food probably has more India influence, but some of the dishes you can see a little bit similar to Chinese, for example, the ‘Momo / dumplings’.
I bet many people can cook really tasty food, but somehow we always have kind of categories for homemade food and restaurant food. Restaurant food can be really tasty and addictive, because of the fancy ‘process’, ‘seasonings’ and the presentations, where homemade food tends to be simply, ‘warm’, no cheating with any ‘special seasonings’ (for example).
Many restaurants are worried that if not ‘fancy’ enough, they will not have customers, so although they tend to serve their ‘featured’ food, they try to adapt to local taste. However, this Tibetan restaurant just proves that home made food can be popular, good food can always be recognized, there is no need to adapt . And I don’t think I was only attracted by their food, but also by their warmth and honesty — in cooking, in serving, in the attitude towards anybody who walked in. They build up a little dining home for people. While we were there, I have seen many people, after eating, went to the kitchen gave the chefs hugs before they left. And the chefs, they were not able to speak German well, just smiled — that warm and honest smile to respond.
Oh, I am not doing Ads here for them, simply a food story. But I would like to tell you their address, if you ever go to Bonn, do visit, you will know what I mean. :))
their address: Bornheimer Str. 74, Bonn, Germany