Nepali Times
Yak Restaurant



My quest for good food led me to a dingy little joint in Boudha, that many had sworn served the best Chinese food to be had this side of the border. No chop suey drowning in tomato ketchup or chili this and chili that which make up most menus at so called 'Chinese' restaurants, Yak serves authentic Chinese cuisine I was warned.

Well, they certainly weren't lying when they said the place was dingy. It is also grimy, sooty, and very basic. This however, did nothing to put me off from giving the place a fair chance, for I have been to enough fine-dining eateries where too much attention was given to décor, and none to the food.

Yak's menu is extensive and offers a lot of exotic items. We decided to play it safe and asked for the cucumber salad (Rs 140) to start with. Spicy and crunchy, this salad was the perfect start to the meal and went a long way in allaying our initial fears. This tiny hole in the wall is the real deal and might just turn out be the answer to my prayers: good food at reasonable prices. And the prices are definitely something to write home about. At Rs 20 a pop for a bowl of rice and Rs 10 for a tingmo, it seemed I had travelled back in time.

The tingmos are the perfect accompaniment to mala tofu (Rs 130), silken cubes of the humble bean curd in a lush red chili sauce. The chicken with fungus (Rs 240), which are basically strips of stir fried meat with woody agaric, holds a crunch and could very well dethrone chicken chili from the top of my 'snacks that go perfect with alcohol' list.

One of the most expensive dishes on the menu is the spicy pork spare ribs at Rs 580 and it is a heaped platter of meaty goodness. The flesh falls off the bone and it comes all spiced with Sichuan pepper, spring onions, fermented soybeans, and chili flakes - nary a drop of tomato ketchup in sight.

Our table was creaking under the weight of all these edibles, and the fried white fing (Rs 170), spinach greens with mushroom (Rs 160), chicken fried rice (Rs 120) were yet to come.

Yak Restaurant is a place to go to with like-minded foodies who are ready to overlook the dirt and grime and who understand that to seek out good food, you have to explore dark and seedy alleys for the pleasure of digging (or in this case chopsticking) into bowls of gastronomic delights.

How to get there: Walk clockwise around the Bouddhanath Stupa until you see an alley beside a huge gumba. Walk through the alley pass the street-side shops until you see Yak Restaurant on your right.

1. Tashi Lama
In taste, there are genuine taste and the artificial taste, just feeling good on the tongue is not real taste, we need to find out how this taste was produced. As for the genuine good taste, the cook should be good, and taste should be produced from the varieties of herbs, spices and food stuffs and with skill full methods of cooking, genuine good and healthy taste is produced. Majority of restaurants with Chinese cuisines uses MSD mono sodium glutamate, which has a artificial taste, could be nice on tongue but bad for health, which could even lead to cancer.  If the food you eat contains MSD, you would feel thirsty after sometime, which means that food contains MSD. So beware of such food with artificial taste. Beware of MSD in the food you eat!

2. Yak No-More visitor
I agree with Tashi Lama. I have also been to this place and have eaten a few times. The food taste good but must tell you they do use lots of MSG. The place is a real drab and if you look at the kitchen it is really dirty. They also use cheap rice. The vegetables are washed using a water collected in a big container. Must be pumped from underground. If they only prepare food under good hygienic condition and use no MSG but pure herbs and improve the ambience, it would be a good place to take your family during weekends. 

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)