The area radiating outward from the 74 Street/Broadway subway station teems with carts offering all kinds of fare ranging from tacos and tortas to the chicken and rice from Sammy’s Halal of Vendy award fame. The most interesting cart in the nabe, however, is Shangrila Express. As far as I know, it’s the only street food vendor of its kind in New York City because proprietor Woeser Dorjee specializes in Tibetan food.
The crescent-shaped beef dumplings known as momos, are the most famous Tibetan specialty and Shangrila’s juicy specimens are excellent, as evidenced by the Tibetan and Nepalese folks who line up at all hours of the day for them. Be sure to ask for some spicy sepen sauce. But recently Shangrila has upped the ante by adding even more items to their already popular cart.
Thanks to my recent exploration of regional Chinese fare, I’ve been getting into tripe, so I was psyched when I saw dopa khatsa, or spicy beef tribe, on Shangrila’s Tibetan menu. A whopping plate of gutty goodness bathed in dark red sauce with a side salad is a mere $4.99. A zingy sauce clings to the nooks and crannies in the chewy ribbons allowing for a dose of heat in very bite. About that heat level: if you’re down with vindaloo then you’ll dig dopa khatsa. It’s just spicy enough to make you keep shoveling into your mouth as a pleasant sweat builds on your brow. I can’t wait to try the shap-tak, or spicy beef fry.
Since the tripe did such a good job of filling me up, I only ate one other item that day: shoko-katsa, a plate of potato chunks coated in hot sauce and toasted anise seeds. It was only $2.99 and, as if that weren’t enough carbs, Woeser offered some pita bread and encouraged me to make a sandwich out of it.
Other new items on the menu include fried momo, and, most interesting of all, laphing, a cold corn flour pudding dressed with garlic, vinegar and hot sauce. Too bad it won’t be available until the end of the month; the menu describes it as, “One way to start off the hot summer.” You can bet your momo I’ll be back to try it.
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