Tibetan Rapper & Tsampa-eaters

January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013

Are you a tsampa-eater?  If you are then you already know how significant this staple foodstuff is to Tibetan monks, sherpas, and pilgrims - as a center-piece to one's diet, as an offering to the gods, as a way to mark celebrations such as birthdays and weddings, as a way to assist the dead in their transition to the next life, as a unifying marker of Tibetan identity, etc.  But, if you're not familiar with this national food of Tibet then here's the perfect introduction... let Tibetan rapper Shapaley be your guide.



Tsampa is the most ubiquitous of all convenience foods in Tibet.  A mixture of roasted barley flour and yak butter, tsampa is considered by many to be a healthy energy booster, easily digestible, and a growing symbol of Tibetan national pride.  In fact, as historian Tsering Shakya explains in his essay "Whither the Tsampa Eaters," tsampa uniquely represents "Tibetan-ness" in the face of threat.  As Tibetans continue to fight against Chinese rule, the cry of "Rise up, all tsampa-eating Tibetans" can be heard from protesting monks more and more regularly.

Let me know if you find a restaurant in the Triad or Triangle of North Carolina where I can find some good tsampa.  In the meantime, here's a wonderful description of how its made.

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