Tsampa is barley flour that has been cleaned very well and roasted before being ground.  It is the staple food of most people in Tibet. When I ask Tibetans about the food in Tibet, they always tell me about tsampa. They tell me that it is the BEST food for health. If you eat tsampa in the morning you won’t need anything for lunch or dinner (claimed one monk from Tibet). Tsampa will give you the energy and stamina you need to make it through the day.

Tsampa is also a natural fast food. You mostly eat tsampa by mixing it with tea, sugar, and butter until it is a consistency that you desire. One way is very dry and you form the tsampa into little nuggets in your hand, called pak. The way my family makes it is more wet and a paste-like consistency that you eat with a spoon. All the restaurants make tsampa porridge, which is tsampa, lots of warm milk, honey, and bananas. It is very soupy. Nomads in Tibet could make tsampa very quickly in the morning before they had to start their work.

I’ve been told that a little tsampa will go a long way, for example, 5 kg could last someone 30 days. This is also a reason why it is a vital part of the Tibetan diet. Nomads travel a lot so they need to have food that can last them a long time. I’ve also been told that many Tibetans brought large bags of tsampa with them when they made the journey to India. They had a long way to come and they weren’t sure if they would be able to find tsampa once they reached India.

Thankfully, there is tsampa here and Tibetans still eat it. They don’t eat it as much as they used to in Tibet, but they still regard it as the best food. I’ve been told that it is also still regarded as a fast food and parents will feed it to their children for breakfast when they are running late in the morning. Some Tibetans I’ve met don’t like tsampa, but I believe they are the minority.

Tsampa is a part of the Tibetan history and culture .


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