We live in Tibet, enjoying the most brilliant sunshine and the freshest air, every day can personally appreciate the ancient customs of the qinghai-tibet plateau. Here, a bowl of barley wine and a cup of buttered tea are filled with highland flavor. This is the history steeped in time, this is the culture of life. We are here, writing the passage of time; We are here, recording the changes of history. Into life, into culture, we are here, listening to the echo of history.

On a leisurely day, I followed the directions of the map to find an old teahouse. Through a narrow alley, see an old tibetan-style house appeared in front, looked up, the sign is writing the name of the restaurant. The familiarity of memory to present events one by one. Reality and dream overlap, which seems to be a premeditated arrangement of the weird road.

Inside, the teahouse is divided into three patterns. One outdoor, two indoor. Teahouse is the most conspicuous is that one zhang zhang is long square desk and chair, decorate pallet, with decorate delicate, the maggie amie of decorous style, gang pulls meiduo to compare, it appears shabby, untidy. Man in it, time in the past. Years, became this teahouse the thickest native sound, a memory card that Lhasa person comes 100 years.

The people who come to the teahouse are mostly local people and mostly men. Tea houses are famous for hidden noodles and sweet tea. Hidden noodle essence is highland barley surface, smooth and resilient mouth. Often that bowl hides a face to still did not go up a table, already smelled its flavour first, make a person can not help salivating. Tibetan noodles are only supplementary to the food, to the teahouse, the most important thing, or drink sweet tea.

People who drink sweet tea here bring their own cups. After finding a place to sit down, the tea drinkers place change and empty cups on the table. Young and wise aja will come with a thermos bottle and fill your empty cups with steaming sweet tea. Before you leave, aja will take 60 cents of your change for the sweet tea.

In the teahouse, the theft was almost nonexistent, despite the mixed crowd. I was thinking that there must be some invisible moral force binding each other’s actions, making each other understand each other without words.

The life of sweet tea

The Tibetan people are addicted to tea as their life. There is such a record in the annals of food and goods of the Ming dynasty, “the Tibetan people cannot eat tea as their life without it in a day.” In the history of Tibetan tea, sweet tea differs from buttered tea and barley wine. It is an imported product. There are various theories about how sweet tea was introduced into Tibet. Some say that when the British invaded Tibet, they left the habit of drinking sweet tea in Tibet. Some say it is influenced by India and Nepal, because those two countries are the home of sweet tea, where it is very common to drink sweet tea. When people come to your home, they want to treat them with sweet tea, and there are tea houses selling sweet tea on the street.

In the past, the feudal nobles of old Tibet began to subdue elegance and taste, taking drinking sweet tea as a daily necessity. Sweet tea has entered the upper class families in Lhasa at an extremely fast speed and become a necessity and hospitality drink. In the 1920s, sweet tea houses appeared in the streets of Lhasa. Only aristocrats, businessmen and rich people are eligible to enter the sweet tea house. Almost every woman in Lhasa can make sweet tea. Before the mid-1980s, sweet tea house was always forbidden to women. If any woman went to sweet tea house, it would not only spread all over the city quickly, but also leave a stigma of flirtatious woman in an instant, which would bring trouble to her family. But with the democratic reform and opening up of Tibet, the shackles on women were broken, and now tibetans can not only drink the local butter tea, but also make sweet tea a necessary part of daily life.

Today, after many years, tea houses of all kinds are scattered all over Lhasa, and sweet tea houses are still doing a brisk business. Old men and women who have passed their time will go in and drink a few cups, and the pilgrims will rest there or eat some dried bread or other food brought from their hometown with sweet tea. And for those who are also going to the teahouse, the sweet tea house may be very different from the old one, but it is still the center of the press.

Steal the day

Teahouses attract a large number of tea customers, except for sweet tea, is that there are many entertainment here, everyone can enjoy the fun here. The most common, is to play poker, chess. The Tibetan people who love to play have already introduced it from India and incorporated it into their daily entertainment. The sweet tea and “gerrang” are both foreign. This drink and play seem to have nothing to do with each other, but complement each other.

On the days of wedding, housewarming and hanging out in linka, the cozy people always play “geerjan” while drinking sweet tea and enjoying themselves very much. In the past, some tea houses in Lhasa had people playing “geerang”, but the number was not large. The visitors of sweet tea houses in Lhasa were pure tea drinkers. Since the reform and opening up, a variety of entertainment products in the teahouse active, has occupied the market. Of course, these entertainment items are used by teahouses to attract customers.

Seven or eight years ago, every teahouse used a stereo to play TV episodes and pop songs, so that tea drinkers could drink more tea while enjoying music. “Geerrang” by its tactics many changes, high technical, considerable strong characteristics generally fall into the teahouse. In the heyday, big teahouses can be placed on more than a dozen, in addition to the people playing, other tea fans around those who play the most exciting opponents, some planning, some shouted loudly, very lively.

Teahouse and restaurant, is a multi-dimensional imaging body, rich and vivid state of life in a city. Perhaps, for the tea guest, if he is not in the teahouse, it must be on the way to the teahouse.


According to historical records, sweet tea and its production techniques were eventually introduced into Lhasa from Nepal through yadong, xigaze and other places, and the introduction time was not more than 100 years ago at most. At that time, nepalese traders brought sweet tea from the mainland to Tibet through trade routes, and at the same time, the techniques of making sweet tea and the etiquette of drinking sweet tea were also spread. Of course, at the beginning of the introduction of sweet tea, only in the upper class in the family popularity, and then gradually tend to civilian.

Nepali sweet tea has a slightly stronger flavor, as local people add various spices to the tea to enrich its fragrant taste. After being introduced into Tibet, people in xigaze and Lhasa did not like the mixed flavor of tea, and gradually formed the local sweet tea flavor — a kind of light but suitable for local tastes.