The Tibetan Shoton Festival

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From yak to yoghurt, Tibetan fare has become the focus of downtown gourmets during the annual Tibetan Shoton Festival.

In Tibetan language, Shoton (xuedun in pinyin) means 'yoghurt banquet'. So as the name suggests, the Shoton Festival is the festival for savouring various yoghurts. Normally, Tibetan people also stage grand Tibetan dramas and hold a big Buddha display ceremony to celebrate. Norbu Lingka, a garden in a western suburb of Lhasa, hosts all Shoton Festival celebrative activities.

The Shoton (Yoghurt) Festival originated 1,000 years ago and prospered in the 17th century, when nomads and farmers offered yoghurt to monks ending their annual summer meditation retreat. Traditionally, it lasts from the first of the seventh month to the fifth of the seventh month in Tibetan calendar. This year it falls on August 23.

For those who want to try Tibetan cuisine, here we list four restaurants you shouldn't miss.

*Gesang Meiduo Restaurant: for household Tibetan dishes

Tibetan cuisine has two notable features: unique ethnic flavor and clean ingredients from the unpolluted highland.

White yak is Gesang Meiduo's specialty meat. It's said that such yaks live over 5,000 meters above sea level and are quite rare. Fresh meat from 10-day-old lambs is also on Gengsang Meiduo's menu.

Besides meat, various brake tender leaves and sweet Qingke barley wine from Tibet are also worth a try. The relatively dull variety of yoghurt is made up for by live Tibetan dance performances.

Gesang Meiduo Restaurant
Location: opposite the Canadian Embassy, Dongzhimen Waidajie, Dongcheng (on southwestern corner of Xindonglu Crossroad)
Tel: 010-64179269

*Makye Ame: for royal Tibetan dishes

One of the earliest Tibetan restaurants in Beijing, Makye Ame's improved Tibetan fare caters much more to Beijinger's palates and the ingredients all come from the Tibetan highlands.

Yoghurt here is brewed following secret Tibetan recipes. Makye Ame offers yoghurt buffet during the Shoton Festival. Diners can try yoghurt such as zanba pellet yoghurt and ginseng fruit yoghurt all for the price of one bowl of yoghurt.

Makye Ame
Location 1: F2, Jinghuyuan Flat, No.23, Baijiazhuang Dongli, Chaoyang
Tel: 010-65088986

Location 2: F2, No.Jia 11, Xiushui Nanjie, Chaoyang
Tel: 010-65069616


The Tibetan Shoton Festival(Over)
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