Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eat Here: Tibet Kitchen

Tibet Kitchen
#217 Sec 2 Heping E. Road, Da'an District, Taipei
MRT Technology Building

Our tasty fried appetizer (I forget its name)

This was once the site of a pretty good Singaporean/Malaysian restaurant (I was a fan of their chicken rice and their laksa). I'm sad to see it go, but happy to see Tibet Kitchen - rather than some mediocre overpriced Chinese establishment - take its place (and for every delicious restaurant, stall, nook and cranny in Taipei is an overpriced mediocre Chinese restaurant - think of the one that replaced the old Yilan seafood place across from Zoca Pizza).

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Samosas with chili sauce

The only thing that could have been better is if we could have both restaurants nearby, but I guess you can't always get what you want, huh?

Anyway, Tibet Kitchen succeeds where the only other Tibetan restaurant I've been to in Taipei failed: the Tibetan place in Shi-da, now closed thanks to terrible, terrible people whom I wish very bad luck on, was, to be honest, not great. The chicken was drenched in something I can only describe as American Sweet&Sour Sauce, and the macaroni dessert...thing was incomprehensible. It didn't taste very authentic (not that I'd know for sure) and it just didn't taste very good.

This place is different. I don't know who ran the Tibetan restaurant in Shi-da, but I do know that this place is run by Tibetans. It also doesn't appear very busy, which is a shame, because the food is delicious.

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Beef slices and fried bread

We popped by for a late-ish lunch one weekday - maybe the reason why it wasn't busy - and got two appetizers and two entrees. Everything was yummy. And everything tasted as close to "Tibetan" as I'm aware of (I've been to a Tibetan community in southern India, and I've been to Nepal where the food is similar, but not Tibet yet). As one might expect, some food was Indian-influenced (you can get Indian milk tea, lassi and samosas, and they claim to have basic Indian fare too), some Chinese influenced and some right in the middle (like the sliced beef with peppers we enjoyed).
We got samosas (cooked more in the Chinese 'wrapped' style than the Indian battered-and-fried style) and deep fried beef "croquettes" (my word), which came with a different take on coriander chutney and a bowl of fresh ground red chili - the latter being a sauce I enjoyed often in Nepal. Both were delicious - the chili sauce imparts more heat than flavor, but as I see it that's OK: that's what it was like in Nepal, too.

For our appetizers, we got the beef slices - they were tender, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. To eat it with, we got some "deep fried bread" - think like a fried naan from India, or a very thick poori bread without too much air inside. It had just been cooked and was scalding hot - and therefore was absolutely fresh and delicious.

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A plate of momos

We also a plate of momos, which tasted more or less like the ones I ate in the Tibetan community in southern India, and again in Nepal (I do realize I'm not the best person to comment on the authenticity of Tibetan food, but hey, I'm trying). We got more chili sauce for the momos, which brought me back to my days on a shoestring budget in Kathmandu.

To wash it all down we had sweet lassis, which were just standard lassis, but tasty (even the most normal lassi is delicious).

All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and feel that this restaurant and its friendly proprietors deserve way more business. Go there! Enjoy! Stuff yourselves! You won't be sorry.

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