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Yakity Yak. Let’s Talk Yak.


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A couple of years ago, I was dining at the Himalayan in South Minneapolis, and I asked about some traditional yak momos that were on the appetizer menu. The server explained to me that the momo was a type of dumpling that originated in Tibet. Dumplings are my favorite savory food group, so I couldn’t pass them up, and I was glad I didn’t. They were great. Then, about three weeks ago, I stumbled upon yak momos again at Gorkha Palace in NE Minneapolis. Once again, delicious.

In both cases, I asked the servers where they sourced their yak meat, and both indicated that they got them from “the Yak man” in St. Cloud. Yaks? In St. Cloud? Yep.

Hooper’s Yak and Christmas tree farm in St Cloud, MN boasts about 60 head of yak, which turns out to be the largest herd in the Eastern half of North America. And it turns out, the animal is not only tasty, but also more efficient than cattle. You can raise three to four times as many yak per acre as you could beef cattle. Additionally, there are some serious health advantages to Yak. Hooper’s yaks are grazers, raised free from hormones and steroids, and with no antibiotics in their feed. Plus, yak is naturally low in fat and cholesterol. Check out the nutritional analysis* below:
 

4 Oz. Meat Yak Beef Buffalo Pork Chicken
Calories 154 300.71 212.53 195.58 220.09
Cholesterol 49mg 89.31mg 65.57mg 89.31mg 93.84mg
Fats 6.1g 19.42g 7.14g 6.84g 8.69g
Protein 24.7g 29.3g 34.6g 31.4g 33.2g

 

Yak meat is red meat, but it’s more delicate than beef or buffalo, and slightly sweeter. It’s not gamey, but it’s lean, so cooking it requires a bit more care than beef.

Ready to give yak a taste? I’ve seen it on menus at The Himalayan, Gorkha Palace, and Everest On Grand. The Himalayan also recently opened a second location called Himalayan Restaurant II in Fridley.

* Yak nutrition analysis provided by Midwest Laboratories, Inc., a USDA-Accredited Lab.
 

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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