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Find about traditional food of Bhutan and Bhutanese cuisine.

Bhutanese Cuisine

Bhutanese cuisine is as varied and splendid as its landscapes and scenic beauty. Cooking methods are given immense importance in Bhutan and every region has its own specialty. Rice is the staple meal with vegetable or meat dishes cooked with chili and cheese often accompanies the meal as a side dish. Chili dominates all Bhutanese food and if you do not like spicy-hot flavor, be sure to point that out very clearly before you order a meal in Bhutan. The famous traditional vegetarian dishes in Bhutan are ‘Ema-Datsi’ (literally meaning ‘chili and cheese’ and the hottest of all the dishes), ‘Kewa-Datsi’ (comprising of potato, cheese and chili) and ‘Shamu-Datsi’ (made up of mushrooms, cheese and chili).

‘Matar-Paneer’ is a North-Indian dish readily available here for vegetarians. You may also like to taste ‘Cheese Momos’, small steamed buns with cheese, potato and onion and buckwheat cakes that are considered a specialty of the Bumthang area. People of Bhutan also relish Yak meat along with pork, beef, fish, poultry, goat and corn dishes. Daily food of upland people often consists of corn or rice, yak cheese, meat soups and spiced chilies. Tea is quite a popular beverage in Bhutan, though people often prefer butter tea or ‘suja’ to sweet milk tea. Local beer made from cereal grains, such as rice or corn, is called ‘ara’ and is very popular among village folk.

Attention to detail and using just the right amount of spices is considered important in Bhutani cuisine. In rural areas, people often use red rice variety as opposed to white rice variety popular in urban areas. Visual attractiveness of the dish is considered important and balance between colors and proportions are paid attention to. Cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes. Wheat noodles of the east and dried and coarsely ground corn kernels known as ‘Kharang’ from the south are some of the traditional Bhutanese dishes. People also eat ‘Thukpa’ or porridge and in traditional feasts, hot eggs and butter are served and ‘Ara’ is poured over them. In the Kheng region, people eat raw meat people with special drinks. During weddings or traditional Bhutanese gatherings, local cuisine is preferred.

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