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June 6, 2021
Fresh Face: Norbu Restaurant
Foodies everywhere would agree that the ultimate meal must include an interactive variety of textures, tastes, and temperatures; it should also contain flavor combinations never before encountered. With all of this in mind, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the “Thali”—a plate served by Sanya Yeh and Tenzin Norbu at their downtown restaurant, Norbu—has earned itself the title of being such a dish.
A tradition dating back to 2,500 BC, the “Thali” is aptly also known as “Nepalese comfort food.” It contains eight separate tastings of customary dishes, all varying in quality. Sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty samples paint a platter with a circle of vibrant color, with a mound of hot rice and crispy poppadom at its center. It’s a goldmine for the epicurean hungry for something new, and as some Norbu customers have noted, “food for the zen-starved soul.”
“I’m so excited to offer something like this to Lancaster because it hasn’t been seen before,” says Sanya. She and her husband, Tenzin, are no newbies to the restaurant scene, having already opened two successful Bhutanese/Nepali eateries in Carlisle and New Cumberland. They’ve both received high praise for their locally sourced menus, top notch service, and cozy atmospheres. With Tenzin’s Bhutanese roots and a culinary bloodline to match, this response was inevitable.
“We believe in the food. We’re passionate about it. We cook from our hearts and you can really taste it in our cuisine,” says Sanya.
Lancastrians are sure to meet this couple’s enthusiasm when they get wind of the dishes listed on the menu—their “datshi,”, for example, boasts a vegetable base cooked in a smoked cheese sauce, with the additional option of pork belly, tender beef, or shitake mushroom, and is served aside a bed of red rice. It also happens to be Bhutan’s national dish.
In addition to bringing this brand new cuisine to Lancaster, Sanya (a Hempfield High graduate) notes how crucial it is that she and Tenzin give back to the neighborhood. “During the pandemic, there was a huge outpouring from the community. We always try to find a way to give back,” she explains, “whether it be donating meals to hospital workers, buying ingredients from local farms, giving gift certificates to schools—however we can. It’s the most important thing to us.”
Foodies looking for something new will find it at Norbu, located at 38 North Christian Street (previously Character’s Pub).
Find more information on their Facebook page @Norbulancaster or give them a call at 717.208.7293.