Momo, thukpa, laping, sha phaley, thenthuk, khapsey and few other delicacies from Tibet have been favourites among Nepalis for quite a long time. But one dish which has huge potential to be much loved, yet has not received a page in Wikipedia. That dish is Tibetan hot pot, natively known as gyakok.
Gyakok is Tibet’s take on the Chinese, Korean and other East Asian nations’ familial stew that comes simmering in a copper pot with a chimney-like opening on top, and a burner at the bottom for a constant flame. You can drop your desired meat, vegetables, seafood, mushrooms, wontons, dumplings, tofu, or anything else, into the soup and eat it as it cooks. The dish is for those who want their momos and thukpas in one place and can share it with others.
“For a few years, restaurants and hotels in Kathmandu have been promoting this indulgent Tibetan dish during winter. This year, it is Hotel Shangri-La in Lazimpat and its resort in Pokhara bringing out the pot first. They are relaunching Shangri-La Gyakok for the coming winter from mid November until the end of December.
Gyakok can be modified according to guests’ choice: vegetarian or non-vegetarian, rice or noodles and types of meat and veggies. Guests can experiment with the taste and enjoy with a big group of friends or family”, say Shangri-La’s new executive chef Vikram Kumar.
Shangri-La offers plenty of ingredients to add to the pot: mutton balls, shrimp or prawns, pork and chicken, boiled eggs, tofu and seasonal veggies. Side dishes include kimchi salad, garlic cucumber salad and mushroom bok choy. These can be paired with steamed rice, Tibetan momo (steamed bun), or chicken or vegetable momo too. Altogether, the dish becomes a hearty feast that checks all the nutrition requirements to get winter-ready.
Chef Kumar had a taste of Gyakok 10 years ago, and wanted to continue Shangri-La’s annual gyakok promotion. It took him just few days to understand how much Nepalis love momo, and he hopes Tibetan hot pot will be adored equally.
It has been just two weeks since chef Kumar came to Kathmandu, and this is his first endeavor outside of India. “I plan to introduce many rarely available foods, including my signature dishes, and a new menu”, says the chef. “But before that I have to identify with the food culture here and I am looking forward to guests’ feedback on the gyakok.”
Shangri~La Gyakok Festival
18 November- 31 December
Hotel Shangri~La, Lazimpat, (01) 4412999
Shangri~La Village Resort, Pokhara, (061) 462222
Shangri-La Kitchen, Trishna Rana
Buon Appetito, Sikuma Rai
A new Chimney, Sikuma Rai