Tibetan Vs. Indian Food: Is Tibetan Food Similar To Indian?

Tibet and India are two nearby regions with their own cuisines that are both similar and separated from each other.

So what is the difference between Tibetan food and Indian food? The best way to figure it out is by comparing these two cuisines side by side.

Don’t worry, our article will do it for you and then you can determine if you prefer the food from Tibet or India.

What is special about Indian food?

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Indian food is one of the most famous types of cuisine in the world.

Indian restaurants can be found outside India, from Asia to many European countries or America due to a large number of Indian immigrants throughout the world.

What makes Indian food special is all about spices.

Some common combinations include cumin and coriander seeds or garam masala with red pepper powder and cinnamon sticks.

Every family has its own secret recipe for a variety of dishes, but there are also some signature dishes that can be found across the country, including curries, rice, chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, and naan bread.

The main protein in Indian food comes from poultry and red meat like lamb, goat, or mutton, seafood like fish and shrimp, and legume vegetables.

They do not or rarely eat pork and beef because of their diet restrictions from the majority of Hindus and Muslims.

The traditional way of cooking is grilling in the tandoori oven and stewing.

They also use dairy products like ghee, butter, and yogurt to marinate and or as a cooking ingredient to add texture and flavor to their dishes.

Indians have a habit of eating with their right hands rather than using utensils.

Left hands are considered to be used for “dirty” things, so keep in mind this tradition when you travel to India.

What is special about Tibetan food?

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Tibet is known as “the roof of the world” due to its highest plateau.

Tibetan food has been strongly influenced by Chinese and Indian cuisines because of its proximity to these countries.

There are many dishes that you can find in this mountainous region, but some of the most popular foods are steamed or fried dumplings filled with meat and vegetables, yak meat, noodle soups, and dairy products.

They also use various spices like garlic, ginger, saffron, turmeric, pepper, or fenugreek to make their food bolder in flavor.

Due to their harsh climate (mainly rainy, snowy, but dry), Tibetan diets often include yak meat, which comes from yak, a kind of animal belonging to the bovine family that can survive under Tibetan climate thanks to their extremely thick and long feathers.

Yak meat tastes similar to bison but much more nutritious and healthy.

They also make use of dairy products (cheese, milk, butter, yogurt) from these animals or goats and sheep.

Their vegetables are mainly potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, or peas.

Tibetans also enjoy tsampa which is roasted barley flour mixed with butter tea that offers a very pleasant taste and many nutrients.

What are the differences between Tibetan food and Indian food?

There are many differences between Tibetan food and Indian food despite their geography proximity:

Tibetan food is more like Chinese food

Tibet is currently governed as an autonomous region of China.

Therefore, no surprise that Tibetan food is heavily influenced by Chinese food rather than Indian food.

There are some Chinese staples that are also featured in Tibetan cuisine like dumplings, noodles, and rice.

Tibetan’s most popular kind of meat is yak meat, while Indians eat chicken and lamb

Another difference between Tibetan food and Indian food is their meat options.

Tibetans mainly eat yak meat, but they do have other options like beef, pork, chicken, goat, or mutton.

However, yak meat is still the primary choice for Tibetan meals.

On the other hand, Indians don’t eat pork and beef, their popular types of meat are chicken, lamb, and goat.

Tibetans rarely have seafood whereas Southern Indian diets mainly include seafood

Tibet is a plateau, therefore, they don’t have access to the sea so there is no seafood in this country.

If they have, most of the seafood is imported.

On the other hand, in the south of India, where people have access to a rich source of fresh seafood, their diets are mainly made of fish, shrimp, prawns, or crabs.

Tibetan food includes much more dairy products than Indian food

Another different feature between Tibetan food and Indian food is their use of dairy products.

Although Indian cuisine also includes dairy products like yogurt, butter, and ghee, not every dish has these ingredients.

Meanwhile, dairy products play an important role in Tibetan cuisine because they last long.

Cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt are widely used in both savory dishes or beverages like tea.

Tibetans eat their food with chopsticks whereas Indians eat with their hands

The ways that indigenous people eat also differ from each other.

Tibetans use bamboo chopsticks to eat their food like Chinese, while Indians have a tradition of eating with their right hands.

What are the similarities between Tibetan food and Indian food?

Despite plenty of differences between Tibetan food and Indian food, there are also some similar features between the two cuisines, as listed below:

Tibetan and Indian food are flavorful due to their use of various spices

Both cuisines use a lot of spices like garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, pepper, or turmeric to season their dishes.

Therefore, they are not likely to have bland or milk food in these cuisines, but bold and flavorful instead.

They both offer many vegetarian options

India and Tibet are both known for their vegetarian population.

Therefore, their cuisines offer many meat-free options that are made from rice, barley flour, wheat flour, and vegetables besides many meat-based dishes.

Which one is better?

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Hopefully, reading this article has helped you be able to distinguish between Tibetan food and Indian cuisine.

Now that you know more about these two cuisines, it’s time to make a decision.

Do you prefer the taste of Tibetan food or Indian? If your answer is not clear yet, give both a try and you will know what your taste buds enjoy more.

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