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Tibetans develop a taste for the West

By Cui Jia and Palden Nyima in Lhasa | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-15 08:45

Tourists have lunch in a Westernstyle restaurant in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region, on May 6. [Photo by Palden Nyima/China Daily]

Restaurants and cafes thriving in region

Dorje didn't even pause to lick his greasy fingers after finishing off a piece of fried chicken.

Instead, he started to run around the KFC restaurant in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, just like any typical 5-year-old.

Dorje's father, Sodar Kunsang, said that since 2016, when the first KFC restaurant opened in Tibet, visiting it had become a "must" during the family's annual trip to the city.

He spoke while trying to lure his son back to the table with a spicy chicken wing, a temptation the young boy could not resist.

Sitting by a window in the eatery with his wife and Dorje's 7-year-old sister, the father said: "These chicken wings taste really good and different. Both the kids and my elderly mother love them.

"As followers of Tibetan Buddhism, we come to Lhasa every year to pray at the Jokhang Temple, which is close by. Coming to KFC has become part of our new routine. I can still remember seeing people lining up in front of the restaurant when it opened three years ago. It was a significant event back then," said Sodar Kunsang, who hails from the city of Shigatse.

Liang Juan, head of the Tibet branch of food delivery service Meituan, said it is a misconception that the only food on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau is yak meat and highland barley, as there is a variety of cuisines to choose from. The region is a top international tourist destination, which has helped to create diversity in its food markets, especially in recent years.

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