ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 2: LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh, India

After Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, the taxi dropped us off at the main bazaar.  From there, we walked into an alleyway next to the mosque Jama Masjid which led us to another part of the old city.  At a street corner we saw a two-story house with an interesting facade.  The sign “Lala’s cafe” was hung above the entrance.  We walked up the wood stairs  to the second floor where the cafe was located.  It was hot, dusty and dry outside but inside the cafe it was nice and cool.  We sat down at a cushioned area, ordered two cups of tea and checked out the postcards and handcrafts on display.  We were the only visitors in the cafe until another couple came in and joined our table.  They were Sunny and Ann, an Indian and Taiwanese couple who came to Ladakh for trekking.  We four had a pleasant chat.  An hour easily passed before we decided to move on for our day.  Outside the cafe, we took a few pictures of the small but interesting cafe building, which was once the old Sankar Monastery Labrang saved from demolition back in 2006.  Despite the heat, the street outside Lala’s Cafe was full of neighborhood life: barber shop, tailor shop, cloth dyeing shop, eateries, and of course souvenir shops as well as Buddhist stupas.

Off the busy Fort Road in a small alleyway there was a popular restaurant called Tibetan Kitchen.  Recommended by Sophia, fellow traveler that we met the day before at Gesmo Restaurant, we were keen to try out some authentic local food at Tibetan Kitchen.  Because of the noontime heat, instead of tables at the entrance courtyard we chose a table inside the restaurant close to a painting of Lhasa’s Potala Palace.  The staff were friendly, especially the owner who spoke perfect English with the British ascent.  He suggested us to try the bottom fried lamb momos and hot Tibetan soup.  It was a delightful and tasty meal.

DSC_3775The sun was strong at late morning, prompting us to seek for shelter at Lala’s Cafe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALala’s Cafe is located right below the Leh Palace.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe interior decor of Lala’s cafe was simple but comfortable.  Customers could choose to either sit at the cushioned areas on the second floor or the rooftop.

DSC_3788Lala’s Cafe was once the old Sankar Monastery Labrang but saved from demolition back in 2006.  It stood alone at a street corner when the adjacent buildings had been demolished.

DSC_3793Beside Lala’s Cafe erected a few stupas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA local tailor was busy with sewing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeeking into the window of a barber shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA man dying fabric in front of his shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA snapshot of a passerby walking along the alleyway near Lala’s Cafe.

DSC_3799Tibetan Kitchen was not far from Gesmo Restaurant, where we met the Spanish traveler Sophia the day before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt Tibetan Kitchen, we sat near a painting of Lhasa’s Potala Palace.

DSC_3802The interior of Tibetan Kitchen was decorated with photos of Tibetan landscapes and the Dali Lama, Tibetan flag and Oriental lanterns.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATibetan soup thukpa with wontons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABottom fried momo (dumplings) served with chili sauce.

* * *

Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi

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