“Ever had yak?”


I can honestly say that I have. Now. I hadn’t before we went to dinner with friends Saturday night, but I have now had yak meat and I’ll eat it again in a heartbeat.

We spent Saturday afternoon with friends of ours that have been in GZ for over a year. I have known T & D for as long as I’ve known Anders. T is a fraternity brother of Anders from RPI. Anders and D started working at P&G the same day and shared an office for a while in the beginning of their careers. We go way back. They called us and asked if we’d be interested in going to a market with them and then an early dinner. “Of course,” we said. The market is a story in itself so I’ll skip that but let me say that I only bought one handbag. I know my family will be shocked but I only bought one. I could easily have walked out with 100 but I only bought one. I had to keep reminding myself that we’re in an apartment and only have so much room.

Dinner was going to be at a Middle Eastern restaurant but they were closed due to being on holiday. So T asked, “Have you ever had yak?”. Ummm no, never had yak. So Plan B was a Tibetan restaurant around the corner. It looked so authentic when we pulled up, from the prayer wheels to the prayer flags. We sat outside because the inside was full up and it turned out to be wonderful. The tables and benches were huge and clunky and had big cushions. T & D ordered for us but not before we had fun with the menu translations. Andrew always loved taking photos of funny translations on his trips and he would have had a field day here. There was: a bowl of fragrant, meatofasheep (all one word), something about mouth rubs and cheeks,and so many others.  We were going to take photos but forgot and then it was too dark. Don’t worry, we will definitely be going back and will be sure to take some.

The first dish to arrive at the table was big yak stew. The amount was big not the yak itself but then all yaks are big aren’t they. I can’t tell you how good it smelled and it tasted even better. Yes, yak is delicious and no, it does not taste like chicken. It tastes like a mildly gamey beef and it was so tender. It was served in its cooking vessel which was a big metal pan that almost looked like a paella pan. There were potatoes, peppers, onions, and other veggies all topped with a very thin pancake.  It was spicy which was a surprise to me, don’t know why but I didn’t think it would be. The bottom of the pan was caramelized with all the good bits of the ingredients and there wasn’t a drop left when we were done. We also had sautéed broccoli, sautéed choy (I don’t think it was bok as there is more than one kind of choy), barley pancakes that were served with yogurt sauce, and yak meat and cheese pizza. It all got washed down with a good German dunkel. Gotta love a culture that knows its limits. There was way too much food otherwise there would not have been any left. It was one of the best meals I’ve had and the atmosphere was terrific.

How much do you think it cost? Total bill including 3 beers and 2 sodas. Go ahead and guess, I dare you.

$68 and no tipping in China.

Oh yeah, we’re gonna like living in China. We have eaten at restaurants 4 times since moving here and have not had one Chinese meal. We’ve had German, Spanish, Tibetan, and Middle Eastern. It’s like being in Geneva where there is just about any cuisine you could want.

2:45PM – 100 degrees


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

6 responses »

  1. Had a blast with the variety of restaurants in Beijing, we didn’t eat Yak, I also avoided the donkey and the weevils! The head on the fish we could deal with, but the head on the poultry was a little more difficult, especially when it is cut off and presented as a delicacy, not what you want staring at you throughout the meal!

  2. Did you wonder where I and all my smarty pants comments were????? John took some vacation days and we went and visited Brittany and I had no access to a computer. I know exactly what you are thinking. I was staying with my 23 year old daughter who absolutely owns a computer!!! Well, your thoughts are correct, however, since she didn’t have work off, we spent time in her apt. while she wasn’t there and she put passwords on her laptop so we couldn’t get on! Emily was the most annoyed. Brittany has a studio apt. and don’t think for one second that I would enjoy having the 6 of us(dog included) stay in her one room for more than an hour! Dog and Emily stayed with Brittany, The rest of us stayed at a lovely Marriot across the street. And I had no computer. One of the first things I did when I got home was rush to the computer in the office (that I share very nicely with the ENTIRE family, unlike my daughter) and read your new posts. I will comment about everything in a few hours when I have some time. (I need to digest that fact that you and Anders both needed an ultrasound – I am assuming of the abdomen ?????) and that you ate yak. Are there any McDonald’s around. Go there and report back. I remember finally finding one after a week and a half of being in Germany and thinking I had died and went to heaven. I would most definitely starve to death if I lived anywhere but in the US. I had to be the most annoying child growing up, not willing to try a thing. My kids are constantly trying to get me to taste fruit. I have NEVER eaten a grape, watermelon, apple, strawberry, cherry etc. I ate a banana or an orange every single day for my school lunch. (along with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Tastycake krimpets). That is my extent of fruit. Oh I do love any sugary coated strawberry candy though. Now, Children and Youth do not need to be notified. I did not raise my children the same way. In fact, Britt would be eating yak right along with you and Johnny’s favorite foods are Macintosh apples and red seedless grapes. Emily is the third child…… I got tired. She isn’t as limited in her food choices as me, but very close. Morning to you!!!!!!!!!

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