Himalayan cuisine? Yes, there’s such thing. Do I know much about it? Not at all! But with a group-buy voucher, CC and I decided to check out Yak & Yeti in Kitsilano. It’s actually a sister restaurant of Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen on Davie Street. I went there last year but didn’t find it too memorable (and didn’t even write about it!)
So, what does Yak & Yeti serve? This is what their website says: “Yak & Yeti Bistro selects the best of the high altitude cooking primarily from Nepal, Tibet and India combining it with a host of other cuisines thus creating a unique fusion. Yak (the large Himalayan-dwelling animal) is known for its strength and endurance while Yeti (the giant snowman) is a mystery to most of us. The culinary creations at Yak & Yeti Bistro are thus expected to be just as enduring and mysterious but you will have to first taste it to believe it.”
We were quite intrigued by the menu and frankly we had no idea what to expect until the dishes arrived at the table. Not having a clue about its authenticity, let me try my best to describe each dish.
According to the menu, the Yak Momo is a meat-based favourite street food of the Himalayas. They looked and tasted like Chinese shumai. Not 100% sure if these dumplings are actually made of Yak meat (I thought they call it Yak Momo because of the name of the restaurant; now I realized it may be referencing the animal) but the filling tasted like ground beef. This dish came with 2 dipping sauces, mint cilantro and a tomato-based sauce. We both preferred the mint cilantro sauce with the dumplings, which complemented the garlic, cilantro and other aromatics that were already in the filling. Not listed in the description, this dish also comes with a small-sized Y & Y Soup. More to follow.
Had we known that a small Y & Y Soup is included with the Momo, we wouldn’t have ordered the full size version. We just wanted to try it and the small size would have been enough. It’s kind of like a mixed bean soup filled with the fragrance of cilantro and spices. There are noodles in the soup, which was unexpected; they were soft but it’s normal for this type of noodles.
As if the noodles were not filling enough, the soup also comes with a Tingmo. It’s a Tibetan steamed bun with tumeric brushed on top, hence the yellow colour. It’s similar to Chinese mantou, and comes with the same mint cilantro dipping sauce as the Momo. I thought it’s a bit dense.
In addition to the two starters, we also ordered two entrees. First, the Masala Fish has the reminiscence of an East Indian curry, except that this wasn’t spicy. The sauce was tomato-based and was herbacious. There was a good amount of flounder/sole pieces in the curry. It comes with some Basmati rice, which was perfect for this saucy dish.
The Chicken Sizzler was still sizzling when it got to our table. It had a huge amount of assorted vegetables on one side, and chicken breast chunks on another. And you guess it, more carbs! There was a bedding of the same soft noodles as found in the Y & Y Soup, which was much needed since I found the sauce to be a bit too salty for my liking.
Even though I’m known to be a big eater, there was just too much food for me and CC to finish. We didn’t end up ordering any dessert and we did pack some food home.
Knowing that this type of cuisine is not commonly found in Vancouver and may not be well known to most people, I wish they have done a better job describing each dish and detailing all components in the menu. We ended up having too much to eat simply because we didn’t know that the Momo comes with soup, or that each entree comes with some sort of carbs. It may be safe to assume rice (or other carbs) is likely included with each entree, but it would’ve been nice if they just clarify that.
The server also didn’t do a good job explaining the dishes. I specifically asked about some of the dishes and was looking for a more detailed description, but the server just gave me some vague responses as if I should’ve known about each dish or he’s just not interested in educating his customers. What a missed opportunity!
Overall, I actually quite enjoyed the flavours of our dishes. They use a lot of spices in their cooking but it’s not over-powering or spicy, and you can still taste the ingredients. I thought the dishes are reasonably priced so you can try a few things without breaking the bank. I just wish they would do a better job educating the customers, then I would’ve learned much more eating there, instead of Googling about them after!
Lastly, if you bought a group-buy voucher, it is required that each person orders an entree. I would suggest to maybe order one starter to share among 2 people. Don’t do what we did haha!
Yak & Yeti Bistro
2958 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver