Foraging Fun: The Wood Ear Fungus

Mushrooms and fungi are an important part of the Tibetan diet. There are many different varieties, and some are so valuable that they can sell for up to three times their weight in gold. The wood ear fungus (pictured above) is one of the most common of all Tibetan fungi. It grows on trees and can be consumed fresh or dried for use and sale during the cold winter months. It is often added to soups, stews and stir-fries. These mushrooms don't impart a lot of flavour, but they are enjoyed for their unique rubbery, jelly-like texture that lends the dish a slippery but pleasant crunch. They are also rich in dietary fibre, high in iron, and are commonly used in traditional Tibetan medicine to help

Community Is Everything

In Tibet, whatever you consume, you usually have a direct relationship with the person who produced it. This means that people take pride in their work, and also that they are held accountable for upholding high standards. When you know the person who uses what you produce, you try harder not to disappoint them. This helps people to form close relationships within their communities. This way of working also means that whatever you do you do not merely for your own gain, but also for the benefit of others. When you trade your wool for your neighbour's chillies, the result is a community that is deeply interdependent, and this helps to give life a spiritual meaning. The day to day business of

When Vegetables Do The Talking

Money holds very little currency at home in Tibet. In Yeshi's village, people farm most of what they need. Multiple cropping yields two harvests a year. The fields in the video above were used first to grow barley (harvested during the springtime), before being reworked for turnips (harvested autumn). Turnips are grown specifically as animal feed. You can see that the yaks, cows, horses and goats will surely not starve this winter. The pigs also enjoy walnuts and dried peaches, as well as radish leaves and other surplus veg. There is always a surplus, and usually the family uses this to trade for crops from other villages. Walnuts and fruit are swapped for potatoes, radishes and green veget

Julie's Shameless Moment Of Self-Promotion

This one has been a hard to keep quiet! Julie is the proud winner of this year's Yan-Kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia! The award is a travel bursary to support the research and writing costs involved in producing an original work about Asian food. The judges for this prestigious award are all big names in the culinary world, and include Oxford's own Fuchsia Dunlop, a world-renowned expert on Chinese cuisine. Those of you who have been following our blog for a while know that writing about Tibetan food is a personal passion, and my end goal has always been to produce a book that draws on Yeshi’s experiences of growing up in rural Tibet as a way to explore Tibetan food through hi

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