03/03/14 11:27am

Celebrate Losar With Our Favorite Himalayan Dishes

Today marks the third day of Losar, a lunar New Year festival that’s celebrated as much in the Himalayas themselves as it is in Himalayan (aka Jackson) Heights. In order to help you get into the spirit of the 15-day celebration of the Year of the Wood Horse, here’s a list of my favorite Tibetan and Nepalese dishes in the neighborhood.


Photo: Elyse Pasquale/Foodie International


1. Goat Sukuti at Dhaulagiri Kitchen
“Oh, we have buffalo and goat sukuti too,” Kamala Gauchan the matriarch of this shoebox-sized Nepali gem told me a few weeks ago. I almost fell out of my chair when she said the types of this traditional jerky went beyond beef. And then I tasted the goat version. I’d be lying if I said I fell out of my chair, but it is absolutely amazing. Drying the meat has concentrated the goat flavor to such a degree that it almost tastes like cheese. Served in a spicy sauce—a Nepali ragu if you will—as part of a thali it is simply lovely.  37-38 72nd St., Jackson Heights



2. Sha Bhakleb, Friends Cafe
Sha bhakleb
—Tibetan beef patties stuffed with minced beef, ginger, garlic, and chives—are almost as popular back home as momos are. There’s even a rap song about the savory meat pies. The best ones I’ve had in Himalayan Heights can be had at Friends Café. Served with son labu, a pink pickled radish, they make for a fine snack. 74-17 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, 718-779-6777


3. Kothe Momo, Woodside Cafe
A neighborhood with as many Tibetans and Nepalese doesn’t lack for momo, the juicy Tibetan beef dumplings that are an obsession for folks from that part of the world. At the end of the day though, a dumpling can only be so good, right?  Wrong. Meet kothe momo,thick-skinned beef dumplings that are steamed, pan-fried, and then finally anointed with vegetable broth. Normally a thick skin is less than desirable, but in this case it works. Filled with ground beef and veggies scented with garam masala, they transcend the very idea of momo and have become my ultimate winter comfort food. 64-23 Broadway, Woodside, 347-642-3445



4. Tingmo and Dhopa Khatsa at Namaste Tashi Delek Momo Dumpling Palace
This tiny counter at the back of a South Asian steam table cafeteria serves food from all over the Himalayan diaspora. The dhopa khatsa, a Tibetan preparation of beef tripe, is fiery and just chewy enough. Get a steamed tingmo bread to cut the heat and dredge through the ruddy sauce. Or better yet make yourself a Tibetan tripe sandwich.37-67 74th St., Jackson Heights, 646-203-9938


5. Tsak Sha Chu Rul at Phayul
Tsak sha chu rul, or “beef and Tibet cheese soup,” smells like an especially ripe French cheese, a fact you will notice within moments of a bowl being placed before you. The tangy funk of the cheese is tempered by chilies. Bits of beef and thin strands of noodles lurk beneath the grayish broth. Stinky cheese fans will love tsak sha chu rul. So will adventurous eaters or those just looking to warm up with an especially hearty soup possessed of a strangely compelling flavor. 37-65 74th St, Jackson Heights, 718-424-1869

6. Thentuk at Lhasa Fast Food
Far at the back of Tibetan Mobile past the cell phone cases and chargers lies Lhasa Fast Food. This culinary Shangrila serves thentuk, one of the best beef noodle soups in all of Queens. In Tibetan then means pull and tuk means noodle. These noodles are distinct from the hand-pulled variety found in Flushing. Order a bowl and you’ll soon see why. Instead of stretching elongated ribbons of noodles the cook pulls small chunks of wheat dough into the bubbling broth. The resulting irregular swatches of dough are pleasantly chewy company for the garlicky broth that teems with spinach, red and green peppers,tomato, wood ear mushroom, and of course slices of beef. Bean thread noodles join the Tibetan comfort food party too. Warm up even further by adding a dollop of chili paste. 37-50 74th St., Jackson Heights, 718-205-2339


Photo: Elyse Pasquale/Foodie International


7. Tsel Roti at Dhaulagiri Kitchen
These gigantic rice flour doughnuts have a nubbly crunchy exterior  and are simultaneously nutty tasting and sweet. Excellent with a cup of milky tea scented with chai masala. They’re even better when fresh out of the frying kettle. 37-38 72nd St., Jackson Heights

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