In case you didn’t know, the Himalayan Yak is a large, bovine creature with long, shaggy hair that resembles a cross between a bull and a buffalo. It also lends its name to a great Tibetan/Nepali/Indian restaurant that I just ate at in Jackson Heights, Queens. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, this is the only restaurant in NYC that serves yak among its other delicious and exotic offerings.
I’ve had Tibetan food before, of course, but have always played it pretty safe sticking to the Momo (steamed dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables), noodles or other dishes that seem to have had their origins in China. The Yak, however, boasts a prodigious menu that will especially have any adventurous eater salivating in their soup. Ever heard of Bhutan, a dish made with goat intestine, liver, heart and stomach stir-fried with butter, green chilies, onions, tomatoes and Nepali herbs? How about Cheley, or Tibetan style sautéed beef tongue? I certainly hadn’t, and my interest was piqued. In fact, there were so many must-try dishes on the menu that I am already counting the days until my next visit there.
As I was waiting outside for a friend, I happened to run into one of the chef’s, who also gave me his personal recommendations. This is what we ended up having:
Sadeko Bandel is sliced, roasted wild boar served with lemon sauce dressing and black pepper. With it’s thick band of fat, it resembled pork belly and did not taste much different from pork—excellent.
Dhoepa Kkhatsa is beef stomach (tripe) sautéed with garlic ginger and spices. The sauce was killer—tangy with a bite. Tripe, of course, is kind of an acquired taste because of its somewhat slimy, rubbery consistency, and gamey flavor. The best tripe I’ve had was in France, where it had been stewed so long that it practically melted in your mouth. This dish required some serious chewing, but it was good!
Sha Bakleb are pan-fried Tibetan bread patties filled with minced beef and served with dangtsel (salad). These disk shaped dumplings are the closest thing I had to familiar Tibetan food such as Momo. When you cut them you get a burst of juice. Mmmmm!
Tasty food; fast, friendly service; and the very relaxed, dimly lit ambience of the place made me feel right at home (though it wasn’t ideal for the visuals). Believe I’ll be back for more.
If you’re looking for something different, I suggest you seek out the Himalayan Yak.
The Himalayan Yak
72-20 Roosevelt Aveune
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Thanks to Dawa for the recommendation!