Yakety yak.Last night, we went to eat at a Tibetan restaurant. I have to admit, before going into the restaurant I didn't know much about Tibet--basically just that it is really high and really cold, like a naked hippie in a snowstorm. Now, post-dinner, I don’t actually know that much more. Just one thing, really: if you are invited to dinner at a Tibetan's house--the Dalai Lama, Richard Gere, whoever--you should BYOB. Yes, Bring-Your-Own-Bottle. Because, it turns out, Tibetan drinks are not so good. (Well, the beer, Lhasa--"Beer From the Roof of the World"--was okay. Like Bud but more watery, which apparently is possible.)
As for the rest, drink at your own risk. We had two very interesting drinks. The ever-intrepid Holly ordered a glass of Yak Butter Tea, which is nothing more than black tea mixed with--you guessed it--some fresh (I hope) Yak butter. Probably we should have known something was wrong when the owner talked us out of ordering an entire pot--"not for everyone," were his exact words, I believe--but we oh so foolishly pressed ahead anyway. The flavor is actually pretty easy to describe--like warm, whole milk that has been heavily salted and is just about to go bad. Plus, it was a shiny, oily, yellow color, like an oil slick but the wrong color.
It tasted about as good as you would imagine. I had one sip, Holly had two or three--all but one of those strictly out of politeness--and that was it. So just an FYI: if, at any time in the future, someone comes up to you and asks "How about some Yak Butter Tea?" for the love of God, say no. Trust me.
Myself, I went another route--an alcoholic one, which may or may not mean something, but I'm not really sure because I never took a psych class. Anyway, I ordered a small pitcher of yoghurt wine that I split with my mom (my parents are currently here, for those of you who didn't know), which means that she had one glass and I had the rest. It was not as bad as it sounds, and--believe it or not--it actually got better the more I drank. Probably that was because it was, as far as drinks go, pretty strong, but you never know.
From what I could tell, it was made by mixing some sort of grain alcohol with yoghurt. I know, I know--who would have though? It tasted like peach yoghurt, fruit chunks included, mixed with brandy--cheap brandy: sweet at first, but with that unmistakable hard-alcohol kicker on the end. The entire concoction, which I did--unlike the Yak Butter Tea--end up finishing off, was served in an elaborate wooden decanter and drunk from a fancy silver and gold goblet, as pictured below …
Drink What the Dalai Lama Drinks!
So that covers the drinks. As far as the food goes, however, you're safe--it was really pretty good. Heavily Yak-based, but good. (I'm not sure why I keep capitalizing Yak, but it just seems right.) Aside from a cold dish that consisted of cucumbers covered in sugar, we had: Yak jerky, which were small, crunchy pieces of Yak meat that had been "jerked"--I have no idea what that means, by the way--in some sort of anise and teriyaki sauce; boiled Yak meat with carrots, potatoes, anise, and red peppers served over "hot stones," which ended up essentially being Yak stew dumped onto warm, smooth rocks; and a soupy dish that looked like Ragu but was in fact (again) Yak meat with potatoes, carrots, and some other unidentified vegetables in a reddish-orange Yak marrow sauce that was topped with cheese.
I know--Yak marrow?--but it was actually very good. Tasty, even--especially if you happen to have some yoghurt wine to wash it down with. I don’t know about you, but I think this proves my theory--well, corollary, really--that anything covered in melted cheese just cannot be that bad. (Of course, as most of you know, I also used to live under the mistaken belief that "fried" equaled "good.")
So to sum up: Yak marrow, good; Yak butter tea, bad. Any questions? I didn't think so.
Email. Just an FYI: the DSL connection in our apartment has been disconnected due to a slight misunderstanding--that is, we haven't paid the bill. For two months. I know, I know. Although, to be fair to us, we thought that it was included with our place here at Seasons Park, the Home of Tycoons. (I mean, tycoons have to pay for their own internet access? As if.) Turns out, not so much, so they shut it off. Our phone line as well, since we never paid that bill either--for two-and-a-half months. Which wasn't a mistake, we just thought we'd see how long we could go without paying it--two-and-a-half months, as it turns out--since here in China you have to pay your phone bill at the bank. And, since we were both too lazy to go to aforementioned bank and still have no idea what our phone number is, not having an actual phone in our apartment, it just never got done.
So if you send me an email and I don't get back to you in a prompt manner, the lack of an Internet connection is why. The blogging should suffer as well--no updates until next week, I wouldn't think. Very disappointing for you, I know, but hopefully drinking heavily tonight--it's currently New Year's Eve for me, but not for most of you--will help you forget about it. Or forget that this blog even exists, although I have to say that drinking that much is just not good for your brain cells. Don't look around--you know who you are
Anyway, if I don't reply, just know that I'm not ignoring you on purpose. Although I do, of course, reserve the right to ignore you at some later, Internet-available time. Just so you know.
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