Awesome Thing – Tibetan Shabaley


The shabaley, which doesn’t seem to exist on the Internets at all, although all of the Tibetan restaurants in Toronto’s Parkdale have their own version, is a heftier cousin to the traditional Tibetan momo.

The momo, Tibet’s version of the dumpling, can be steamed or fried, and comes with a variety of fillings, usually vegetable or beef. Momos are approximately 2 inches in diameter and are typically made from one round of dough, expertly crimped in the centre. Shabaley, on the other hand, are closer to 4 inches across, are made from two rounds of dough crimped around the circumference, are always filled with a beef, onion and spice mixture, and are always deep-fried. In terms of appearance, they vaguely resemble an empanada.

Shabaley filling (like most Tibetan food) isn’t spicy but is a unique layering of flavours that is enhanced at the table with soy and hot sauces. The pastry is thicker than the delicate momo wrapper, crisp on the outside while slightly airy inside, and vaguely, but not overwhelmingly, sweet.

Shabaley are usually served as an appetizer, four to an order, but they are extremely filling and reheat nicely the next day if you (ahem) can’t finish them all.

The shabaley pictured above come from Norling Tibetan and Hakka Cuisine (1512 Queen Street West), but most of the Tibetan restaurants in Parkdale include a version on their menus.


2 thoughts on “Awesome Thing – Tibetan Shabaley”

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Tibetan all time delicacy… However, a minor correction, it’s pronounced SHABALEY and not SHAMBALEY…Maybe it’s a typo. You are right that all the Tibetan restaurants serve it but I guess NORLING serves the best Shabaley…☺

    1. Hi Tenzin, Thanks for your comment. It must have been a translation issue, as we copied the spelling with the “m” directly from the menu. It would definitely explain why I couldn’t find much about this wonderful food on Google, though. In any case, I’ve adjusted the post – thanks again for bringing this to my attention.

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