Tsampa (Barley)

Tsampa /Barley

Tsampa ( Barley) (རྩམ་པ། ) is one of the main cuisines in Tibet. Tibetan crops must be able to grow in the high altitudes of Tibet. The most important crop in Tibet is barley.  Flour milled from roasted barley, called Tsampa, has been the staple of Tibetan food for centuries. This cereal is an integral part of Tibetan people’s life. Most of Tibetan people grow up by eating Tsampa. If you get the chance to visit Tibet, you must try the taste of Tsampa!

Tsampa ( Barely ) Products

Barley wine/ Beer

We call barley wine “chang” in Tibetan. Tibetan barley wine is brewed from fermented barley grown in the highlands. Some wine is mild, sweet and it has little alcohol. Some wine is very strong. Each glass Tibetan Chang is different from another due to the brewing method and duration. It is the most popular alcoholic drink in Tibet. You can easily get it in any Tibetan area.

Barley Beer

Barley Beer


Tsampa ( Barley )Making Process

  • We have to choose a sunny day to wash and dry the barley
  • Once it is mostly dry, it is ready to roast
  • Heat the sand on the hot stove
  • Pour some barley on top of the heated sand and roast the barley, shaking it together with the sand in a big pan
  • Put the barley and sand to the sifting pan to sift out the sand
  • Finally, grind the roasted barely into Tsmapa flour
It's ready to make the roasted barely into Tsmapa flour

It’s ready to make the roasted barely into Tsampa flour

How Tibetans drink/eat Tsampa ( Barley ) soup and bread?

  • Prepare the butter, dry cheese, sugar and tea
  • Put the butter and cheese in a bowel
  • Pour the tea in the bowel and let the butter melt and the cheese to become soft
  • Drink the tea until you have space to add the Tsampa
  • You can either make Tsampa soup with a spoon or make Tsampa bread with your hand. You can put sugar in it if you want it to be
Tsampa bread/ Barley bread

Tsampa ( Barley)  bread







Comments 2

  1. The first time I had tsampa I loved it! In fact, so far, I have loved all the Tibetan food I experienced in Kham! It is perfect after a long day of hiking! This year, when I return to Kham again for another few months of trekking, I will buy some tsampa, yak cheese, yak jerky, and yak butter to carry on my trek! Kham is my favourite place in the world!

    1. Hi Gina,
      So glad to hear that you love our Tibetan food. I enjoy making Tibetan food at my home. There are a few very good Tibetan Restaurants in Chengdu and in Kandging where you can try some. Such as, Are Tibetan restaurant in Chengdu and Malaya Tibetan Restaurant in Kangding. Good Luck on your trekking!Tsering

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