Communities across Nepal, India and China's Tibet and Yunnan coexist with the Himalayan mountains. Himalayan cuisine, therefore, is as diverse as the people who call the mountains their home.
Himalayan food is a celebration of local flavors and produce, and this particular food culture, little known to most local diners, has been brought to Shanghai by Anup Rajbhandari, a native of Nepal.
Rajbhandari formerly worked at venues including Capo, T8, Bar Rouge and Sakaba Malabar over the 13 years he has lived in Shanghai, and he is thrilled to open his very first own food concept, Yak & Yeti.
Customized copper prayer wheels decorate one wall inside the tiny restaurant and bar, adding a strong cultural ambiance. The interior accommodates 26 people with another 12 seats outside for the warmer season.
Rajbhandari brought a chef from his home city of Kathmandu and a Chinese chef from Yunnan Province. The menu mainly serves Nepalese dishes plus a few recipes from different countries along the basin of the Himalayas.
The regional cuisine makes extensive use of spice mixtures, and diners will find most of the dishes served here boast aromatic and bold flavors.
Start your Himalayan journey with Himalayan Nachos (38 yuan/US$5.51). The thin, crispy wafers are often served as a snack. The classic Nepali topping here is made with diced cucumber, carrots, onions, peanuts and Himalayan masala blend. Fresh and tangy, the unique flavor complements the crispy texture of the accompanying papadam.
Pani Puri (48 yuan) is another popular snack in India and Nepal. Crispy, crunchy shells encase a soft mixture of mashed potato, lentils, and onions that have been layered with tantalizing spices. Diners pour a little of the provided flavored water into a small hole at the top, and the entire thing is designed to pop into your mouth in one bite. Intrigued? Explore Pani Puri at Yak & Yeti.
Momos, the iconic steaming dumplings that originated in Nepal, are a classic Himalayan dish. Yak & Yeti offers the authentic taste of momos at 48 yuan, steamed or with sweet and sour sauce. The tapas-style presentation comes as three pieces of momos, with either minced chicken or pork filling. The steamed version is served together with a bowl of Himalayan soup (chicken broth) and two sauces for dipping.
Meat lovers should try the restaurant's Grilled Pork Sekuwa (78 yuan). Pork belly is marinated for six hours with Himalayan spices and fresh herbs then charcoal grilled. Amazingly delicious, it is tender, juicy and charred.
There are other comforting items like Pork Keema Noodles (68 yuan) and Himalayan Pancake (58 yuan), both of which are ideal for lunch or brunch.
The central location of Yak & Yeti makes it ideal for a stop for a cocktail or two, along with bites like Pani Puri or Himalayan Nachos. The cocktail list is curated by Eric Almazov of Botanical Basket, featuring flavors and elements of the Himalayan region.
If you go:
Opening hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-midnight
Average price: 200 yuan per person
Address: 97 Xiangyang Road N.