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May 10, 2016 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Yak Dung: a documentary exploring an unexpectedly essential substance in the traditional life of Tibet (SLYT).
posted by Rumple (5 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My brain definitely transformed "Yak Dung" into some kind of phrase in Tibetan I couldn't possibly know the meaning of, right up until a second before I clicked the link.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:41 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Taste's good, like a cigarette should!
posted by Captain l'escalier at 2:47 PM on May 10, 2016

It's the buffalo chips of the Himalayas!
posted by TedW at 2:50 PM on May 10, 2016

posted by Oyéah at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2016

What a marvelous post, Rumple, thanks. Such fabulous landscapes. Lovely to see those cool looking shaggy beasts and have a glimpse of the rural life in modern Tibet.

The female yak is usually called a dri (pronounced dree) or nak. The yak is usually the term for the bull. When yaks and cows mate, they produce an animal called a dzo, which are also common in Tibet and among Tibetan dairy farmers.

For 6 years I lived with Tibetans, refugees in Himalayan India, who escaped the invasion of the Chinese in 1959. So I ate Tibetan food a lot during that time, including what was initially gag-worthy Tibetan tea, made with rancid yak butter, milk, salt and strong black tea, all churned up. It's really more like drinking soup, which is what I told myself to be able to swallow when cups were ceremoniously offered to me. I got used to it and then to really like it.

Tibetans and Himalayan people in India, living near the Tibetan border, the Ladakhis, the people from Lahaul and Spiti, use yak dairy products a lot. The dried yak cheese, chhurpi, is common as a snack all year round, especially in winter. It's available to be bought in America now, although the yak cheese is mostly used for dog snacks.

One of the cool things about yak milk is that at such high altitudes the ground is covered in herbs of all kinds, mixed with the grass, so the milk is quite herbal in fragrance and taste. And the yak dung produced is also herbal, so when it's used as a fuel for cooking or heating, the smoke smells wonderful.
posted by nickyskye at 10:29 AM on May 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

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