I love having guests on my food tours try po cha—the salty Tibetan butter tea—served throughout Himalayan (aka Jackson) Heights. I like the stuff particularly on a cold winter—or spring—day. Not everyone’s a fan, though. Andrew Zimmern hated butter tea when I introduced him to it.
In the Himalayas po cha is prepared with yak milk. Every cup I’ve had in Queens smacks of store bought butter. I hope to try the yak milk version one day. Perhaps it was this quest for the one true po cha that spurred me to purchase a bag of instant butter tea at Himalaya Connection. The green and yellow package read MacTea and bore Russian writing, but the guys behind the counter assured me it was butter tea.
When I got home I brewed up a bag by dissolving the powder in boiling water. It tasted pretty much like every other butter tea I’ve had. I suppose it’s too much to ask that an instant product dehydrated yak milk. Some internet sleuthing revealed that the Russian writing reads, “Mongolian salt tea.”
It’s certainly the best—and only—Tibetan butter tea I’ve made in my own kitchen. Now if only someone would teach me how to make momo, I could play Tibetan restaurant at home.
Himalaya Connection, 72-30 Broadway, Jackson Heights, 718-505-920