The Tibetan couple Tsering Dekey and Wangdue Dorjee, with all their aim to promote their traditional food, have started ‘Tibet Foods’ selling the quality Tsampa and Ney-Thuk.
Don’t we aspire to taste the cultural food of the places we visit? And, when it comes to Himalayan food, we definitely want to give it a shot during our trips to the Northside. However, sometimes, it might also become difficult to devour the authentic traditional cuisines of these areas due to less availability. But what if the food reaches the comfort of our homes without us venturing out? The Tibetan couple, Tsering Dekey and Wangdue Dorjee is making this possible with ‘Tibet Foods‘ – an online outlet to deliver the best quality traditional Tibetan food, Tsampa and Ney-Thuk.
These staples, which are well-suited for Diabetic patients, are much popular food items in the Tibetan community. The couple makes these from Himalayan whole-grain blue barley, sourced from the highland of Spiti, Zanskar, and Ladakh, 4200 mt above sea level. “One can eat these as an instant meal without cooking with milk /water. Adding some sweetener can bring taste better or it can also be cooked as a meal like soup, or even can be used in baking bread or pancakes,” Tsering Dekey says.
Peeping into past
Dekey was always fond of Tsampa since her childhood. “My mom use to make different recipes out of Tsampa, like Tsampa porridge, Tsampa soup, Tsampa paag etc,” she says. The mother of two daughters, Dekey says that the food was much helpful for her during her pregnancy. “I was having severe nausea with vomiting when I was pregnant, I did not feel like eating any of the food, but Tsampa was one of the food that I ate most during that period,” she adds.
On the other hand, Wangdue Dorjee never ate much of Tsampa until when his parents were diagnosed with Diabetes. “All the doctors including Sowa Rigpa doctors ( Tibetan herbal Doctors) and Allopathic doctors, suggested my parents eat Tsampa as the main diet to control their blood sugar. That’s when I saw how this helps to maintain blood sugar and that’s how I also started with Tsampa,” Dorjee says.
Wangdue Dorjee is a Member of Tibetan Parliament in exile, CTA(Central Tibetan Administration), Executive member of Welfare Society of Central Dhokham Chushi gangdruk, India where Tsering Dekey is a former public relations professional. Before their marriage, when Dekey was working for her startup yakoooh.com, they happened to talk about how Tsampa was helpful for Dorjee’s parents and after their marriage in 2017, they thought of offering the Himalayan food to people.
Both of them started selling Tsampa and Neythuk in a few shops in Dharamshala and Manali back in 2019, which later found its place in their online store, ‘Tibet Foods’. Initially, the duo tried to reach out to Tibetan families, where eating Tsampa is more than a 2000-year-old tradition. Tsampa is synonymously known as Tsampa eater or ‘Bhod Tsamzen’ (in Tibetan), which is also associated with the religious activities of Tibetan families making it a common dish in festive season like Losar (Tibetan New year), and even on funerals.
As time passed by Dorjee and Dekey started getting good responses from vendors and direct customers, but the sales got slow when the COVID-19 hit the country. However, even during the crisis, they were able to send their products to different Tibetan and Himalayan communities in South India, Darjeeling, Gangtok, and Kalimpong. Now, when the situation has almost gone back to normal, they are planning to launch Tsampa Cookies and Barley Tea, along with Tsampa with high protein seeds mixed, Tsamdhur (Tsampa Smoothie in powder form), Neythuk Muesli, Neythuk Chocolate Muesli, and Tsampa Bars.
“We have so many Tibetan elders and leaders who have appreciated the concept of our business,” says Dekey. They receive the orders through calls where customers do not forget to appreciate and share about the quality of their products. But what is more motivating for them is when people appreciate them for promoting and preserving Tibetan culture through traditional food.