In New York, when you order Himalayan butter salt tea, more than likely you'll be served a pot of bocha (or pocha) made with butter from a cow, perhaps a sheep. This is just as well: Yak butter is not only difficult to obtain but also legendary for its rancid aroma. As for the tea itself, one can brew a palatable bocha using loose leaves or teabags, but back home in the high country it's more common to pluck an appropriate portion from a pressed-tea "cake."
Pu-erh, the famous fermented tea associated with nearby southwestern China, also is commonly sold in cakes of various shapes and sizes; nowadays they're typically compressed by machine. The irregular domes seen here, however, suggest that they were pressed by hand. Much more than this I can't tell you, owing to a language barrier; the shopkeeper hails from Bhutan. --Eating in Translation
KPTL Express Vegetable Grocery
45-45 47th St. (Greenpoint-47th Aves.), Sunnyside, Queens