Metok Karpo is a gem of a restaurant located near Barkor in central Lhasa. Though it is hidden away in a narrow alley beside the Snowlands restaurant, it is well worth the effort to track it down. The low doorway is on your right hand side if you are walking from the main street, and it is usually full of mostly local clientele due to the appeal of the authentic flavors of the nomadic cooks! Your presence will attract some friendly smiles so be sure to smile in return!
The restaurant was founded by young Tibetan nomadic lady Thupten Choemo in 2008. She is a single mother with a daughter. While sending kids to school in Lhasa is free, there are some expenses for her daughter because they are from nomadic area. Choemo wants her daughter to get a good education. She has never run a business before in her life, but she is very interested in making Tibetan food. Her religion teaches her that everything one does should be done with one’s best effort, and so this spills over into not just her life, but her food as well. Therefore, Choemo believes that to make good food, you must put your heart and soul into every aspect of the preparation.
Once you step inside you encounter a very funky atmosphere reminiscent of a Spanish grotto. The small interior immediately gives it a family kitchen feel complimented by the warm smiles of Choemo. An English menu is offered for the convenience of foreign travelers, and everything on the menu is always fresh. As the hosts do not speak English (or Chinese for that matter), simply point at the menu items that appeal to your appetite!
The menu is not extensive, but is diverse and represents the favorites of the local population. The Lhasa sweet tea brings welcome refreshment after a morning of visiting the sites around Lhasa. Cold beer is also on hand if that is your preferred refreshment. If you enjoy meat, the dishes with yak meat are extremely delicious, but for those who prefer vegetarian, the menu caters to this as well. For dessert there is usually fresh yoghurt available, and it often fits as a perfect way to finish your meal.
In the future, Choemo wants to expand her restaurant, and we wish her all the best as she makes her dream come true. If you find yourself traveling in Lhasa, we recommend you pay a visit to the lovely nomadic lady Choemo for a hearty meal.
Address: Danjieling road No 6-1-14 (Five minutes walking distance to Jokhang temple in Barkor)