The Mein Man: Getting Gyatak at Annapurna

annapurna_600Dish: Gyatak Noodle Soup
Place: Annapurna Cafe, Capitol Hill
Price: $9.95

In the bowl: Egg noodles, a few pieces of lamb, onions, scallions (advertised, but not to be found), tomato, fried egg–and a piece of broccoli.

Supporting cast: Nothing. But you should get an order of naan. (See below.)

What to do: Eat away.

Noodling around: Annapurna Cafe bills itself as serving “the mesmerizing taste of Nepal, India, and Tibet under one roof.”

With that wisdom in mind, my dining companion and I ordered one Nepalese soup and one Tibetan soup. Hers: Kathmandu noodle soup which was a rather bland but somewhat comforting chicken soup. I would have liked to steal the thick noodles from her soup to put in my Gyatak noodle soup, which featured egg noodles softer than I like.

But the broth was good, alive with garlic and onions and a little taste of tomato. The best part was the pieces of oh-so-tender lamb, providing just enough bite to make up for the soft noodles. For some reason, I thought “topped with fried eggs” meant I’d see something sunny side up floating in the soup, but instead it turned out to be omelette strips sitting slightly submerged, but still adding eggy goodness.

If you want more: Annapurna has a decent selection of breads, including roti, poori, kulcha, and paratha. And while there are a few naan offerings, to complement the soup for your comfort meal, I recommend the simple naan ($1.95). If you think you’ll still be hungry, then how about a set of six spinach momo dumplings ($7.25)?

Be aware/beware: Here’s your homework assignment: Find out what “Gyatak” means. I’ve asked a few times (on-site and by phone), and the best answer I get is “something Tibetan.” If you do an Internet search, Gyatak will inevitably lead you back to Annapurna’s website. The most creative I got was putting “Gyatak” into anagram analysis, and all that came back was “tag yak”–which actually sounds like something I might want to do in Nepal, India, or Tibet.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on April 19, 2011.

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