I like to think of myself as a semi-seasoned New Yorker, but after my latest trip to the world’s second most expensive apple, I was reminded that I still have much to learn about living in New York. One skill that I will probably never fully master is being a true New York foodie of Anthony Bourdain proportions. However, thanks to this trip, I can take comfort in being at least a bit more versed in NYC cuisine.
It’s no secret that New York is full of the most obscure hole in the wall, mom and pop establishments, but Cafe Himalaya might just be the one to rival them all. Located in the East Village, the cafe is an adventurous eater’s heaven. I was introduced to it as a Tibetan restaurant, but the cafe also carries a variety of Indian, Nepalese and other Asian fusion dishes. Thanks to its incredibly affordable prices (especially affordable by NYC standards), you can try a variety of dishes way under your average budget.
Whether it's the avocado salad, chasha shamdey, tsel gyathuk takpa or any other combination of letters that are impossible to pronounce, you really can't make a poor choice. However, if like myself you are a carnivore looking for explosive flavor, there is just one item on the menu you should be interested in: beef momos. Most Asian cuisine lovers have treated themselves to a dumpling or two before but the Tibetan beef momos are an amplified version of your average dumpling. Momos use meat with a mix of seasoning greens wrapped in dough and fried to perfection. Luckily for all you animal lovers, they offer a vegetarian option which substitutes the meat with potatoes for an equally lavish flavor.
The homelike atmosphere rarely found in the fast-paced East Village is the most appealing part of Cafe Himalaya. The space is quite small, your fellow diners sitting right next to you. However, the small size adds to the intimate environment. And if the menu items and venue were not offbeat enough, Cafe Himalaya is strictly BYOB (bring your own bottle). Thank goodness for the Whole Foods conveniently located a block away.
Who needs to study abroad when you have a little piece of Tibet just a Greyhound ride away?
Image Courtesy SteFou! via Flickr Creative Commons.
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