Tibet Kitchen (Toronto)

Tibet Kitchen toronto
Title photo courtesy of JJJIFFY
As a foodie, I’m proud of Toronto’s offerings. Where else can you try dishes from across the world without them becoming Westernized and the authentic aspects of it lost? Recently, there seems to be a rise in Tibetan cuisine and its dishes that are heavily influenced by Indian, Nepalese and Chinese fare. So, my friends and I headed to Parkdale to dine at Tibet Kitchen, intrigued to see what their menu offers.

Wanting something rustic and adventurous – a dish Anthony Bourdain would order if he visited - we tried gyurma ($5.99), a blood sausage made with yak or sheep's cow's blood. Really, there was nothing exciting about it. I imagined there would be a smooth iron-richness to the sausage, but all the taste was masked by the rice mixed throughout, leaving the sausage mushy and bland. Who knows, if it contained more spices and was stir-fried with some onions and bell peppers, it may be something I’d enjoy.

From Tibet’s Indian influences there was chicken pakora ($8.99) on the menu. Essentially a chicken fritter, it contained a nice balance of spices but the batter does make this a heavier dish.

Personally, I found the jasha katsa ($8.99) to be a better fried chicken alternative. The chili chicken is still deep fried but only lightly dusted with flour and mixed into a rich blend of spices. Tibet Kitchen offers the dish dry or with gravy. They graciously accommodated our request to have it dry but provide the gravy on the side. For me, the gravy would have been too thick if poured onto the chicken, but was a great dip for the steamed buns included with the Mongolian pot.

Yes, the Mongolian pot ($24.99) is a tad pricier than everything else on the menu; but, it’s an entire meal in itself since it’s accompanied by a big bowl of steamed rice and platter of soft steamed buns (tingmo). The dish is Tibet Kitchen’s take on hot pot, except the ingredients arrive bubbling away already cooked. There were a variety of components to the dish including meat balls, carrots, shrimp and broccoli all simmering in a star anise spiked soup. 

A popular dish you may have heard of is the Tibetan version of dumplings: monstrous momos. The pan fried form ($6.99) is more aptly described as a bun. They are rather good with a slightly crispy golden exterior and doughy wrapper. The steamed momos ($5.99) is where you can get a better taste of the beef or chicken filling. The dough is soft and strong enough to hold up against a rough jostle from my chopsticks.

Thenthuk ($6.99), a hand-pulled noodle soup, is relatively simple dish with flat noodles, beef slices and spinach. The fresh pasta is silky and soft – you’ll want to eat it quickly to avoid having it get too mushy. Unlike ramen, pho and others, where the bone broth adds a lot of flavor, the soup in this dish was rather bland and with the simply boiled beef and spinach doesn’t give the dish the heartiness I was expecting. At the same time, it’s not as salty and lighter; ideal for warmer months.

If any dishes lack the spiciness you’d like, an unassuming jar of sepen hot sauce is available at the table. Just use it sparingly as it packs a concentrated punch, my friends found it out the hard way. Luckily, Tibet Kitchen has glasses of cooling mango lassi ($3.99) to help counteract the heat if you don’t heed my warning. 

Hospitality and friendliness is said to be the cornerstone of Tibetan customs. Certainly, we experienced plenty of that during our visit. The owner took the time to speak to us, providing details of the lovely artwork adorning the walls when we commented on them – brought over from Tibet with a recent addition from a New York artist. The cuisine isn’t fancy, but is comforting and delicious. What a great time it is, to be a foodie in Toronto.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1544 Queen Street West
 Website: https://tibetkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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