Tibetans develop a taste for the West - Economy & Society - Tibetol

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Tibetans develop a taste for the West
By:China Daily
update:May 15,2019

May 15, 2019 -- Chefs work in the Kyichu Restaurant in Lhasa. [Photo by PALDEN NYIMA/CHINA DAILY]

The spices and sauces the restaurant needs to create authentic Japanese cuisine must be shipped from its supplier in Zhejiang province, and it takes about a week for them to arrive in Lhasa by road, he added.

"I can place an order online - it's very easy - but the logistics costs remain high because of Tibet's location. Maybe the planned Sichuan-Tibet railway will help to reduce these costs for businesses."

In 2006, services started on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the only rail route linking Tibet to other parts of the country.

By the end of February, the railway had recorded 192 million passenger trips and shipped 569 million metric tons of goods. But its freight capacity has been unable to keep pace with advances in Tibet, according to the region's development and reform commission.

As a result, in October, the central government announced plans to construct the Sichuan-Tibet railway.

Aawazman Jubaju, owner of the Third Eye Restaurant, which specializes in Nepalese cuisine, said he can obtain most of the spices he needs from shops in Lhasa run by businessmen from Nepal. When he needs special ingredients from home, frequent flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, make getting hold of them easier than previously.

"There are now two flights from Lhasa and Kathmandu every day. In the past, there were only two to three flights a month," said Jubaju, who has been running the restaurant for 25 years.

As Nepal borders Tibet, Nepalese cuisine has always been popular among Tibetans as well as with tourists. Since the tourist season in Tibet started earlier this month, the number of visitors at the Third Eye Restaurant has soared, Jubaju said.

"In the past, we only had local customers during the winter, which is traditionally the off-peak travel season. But since the regional government introduced a series of measures to promote winter tourism, my restaurant has been packed throughout the year," he said.

For the past two winters, the regional government has offered free admission to top tourist venues, hotel rooms at half price, and cheaper flights. The region received 2.46 million visits from tourists from Nov 1 to March 15, an increase of 84.2 percent year-on-year, the regional Tourism Development Bureau said.

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