Laphing: Are These Cold Noodles Actually From Tibet?
- Jasmine Kaur
Updated : September 04, 2022 02:09 IST
Distinct from the thin and stringly noodles, laphing is a thick and cold noodle dish that is popular across China, Tibet and Nepal today.
You ask for laphing in Delhi and you’ll be pointed in the direction of Majnu Ka Tilla. This Tibetan colony lies in the far north of the capital city and boasts of a variety of restaurants and street food carts, serving authentic Tibetan food. One of the most popular items from the Tibetan fare in this locality is laphing. Laphing, which shouldn’t be confused with the verb laughing, is a traditional Tibetan snack that is made from mung bean noodles and spices. The thick and flat noodles are rolled up into cylindrical shapes and cut into smaller pieces so that they can be eaten with ease. Usually filled with roasted sesame seeds, garlic and ginger and slathered with red chilli paste, Laphing is a spicy affair.
The thick noodles are prepared from a starchy base of either potato flour or maida. This is kept for resting overnight after which the noodle sheets are rolled out. The interesting bit about this Tibetan snack is that isn’t actually Tibetan. The word Laphing is derived from Liangfen in Chinese which translates into cold noodle. The break-up of the word la meaning cold and phing referring to a jelly-like texture combines to form this cold noodle dish.
Popular in north China, this summer special snack travelled from provinces like Gansu and Shaanxi to the Tibetan plateau and finally, made its way into Nepal through the Tibetan refugees who entered the country. Today, laphing has become a popular street food in Nepal as well as some metro cities like Delhi. Unlike the broth-based soupy noodles, laphing is generally a dry dish (comes in soupy style too) that comes in several varieties, ranging from yellow, which is the most commonly eaten one, to white and even purple.
The stuffing of laphing can vary between roasted sesame seeds, garlic, dry red chillies, crushed peanuts and more. Often times, a chilli oil is prepared and served at the side as a jhol (soup) for the dish. Try making this Tibetan (or should we say Chinese) street snack at home with this easy recipe.