The decor at Yang Jinma is more refined than that at other Tibetan eateries in Beijing, with colourful Tibetan art objects well displayed. There are performances here every night that are among the most professional showcases of Tibetan culture in Beijing.
Authenticity continues with the food. Grilled yak rib seasoned with cumin and salt is beautifully presented in a wooden lacquered box accompanied by a Tibetan dagger; this is no ceremonial knife, but sharp enough to slice through the meat. Steamed chicken soup is packed with chicken, snow lotus (a bitter-tasting flower), juema (a sweet-tasting bulb-like tiny root) and wolfberries.
Snow lotus and juema are medicinal plants indigenous to the Tibetan grasslands 3000m above sea-level. Both are unbelievably tasty. Xiaguo tangjie ban jingu consists of golden mushrooms mixed with xiaguo tangjie, a grassland herb available only in April and May. The distinctive flavour is an acquired taste, but popular with regulars.
Beef strips with shredded carrots, a popular Tibetan dish, is a well-balanced combination of sour, spicy, sweet, and salty. Lhasa beer – which describes itself as ‘beer from the roof of the world’ – is a perfect accompaniment.