Bhutanese Food – Top 10 Dishes to Eat in Bhutan

Bhutanese food are very popular among tourist and South East Asia. Check out 10 most popular Bhutanese dishes that you must eat during your trip. The land of dragons and happiness is true to its meaning even through its mouth watering cuisine. The cuisine is marked by its distinct fiery spiciness and full flavored dishes. The flavors are opposite to the serenity of the place and its people. The fieriness is induced in order to beat the chill and stay warm.

Popular dishes of Bhutan

Chilies are considered and expected to be in every possible dish cooked on the surface of this spectacular land. Bhutanese people will definitely not enjoy their meal if it’s missing on its fiery quotient. Rice, specially the red rice is a staple food accompanied by a variety of dishes including veg and non-veg. Common vegetables include radish, turnip, spinach, pumpkin, tomato, river weed, beans and onions. Barley, buckwheat and rice are grown extensively and dishes with chicken, beef and pork are easily found.  Red rice accompanied almost every dish as it is extremely nutritious due to its high mineral value. The rice once cooked turns pale pink and is slightly sticky.


Popular Food of Bhutan

The flavors of Bhutan has a unique blend of Tibetan, Chinese and Indian cuisine but is less oily than Chinese and Indian food, and more fiery than Tibetan food. Many restaurants in Bhutan have mellowed down the fieriness of the dishes but it is advised even once to try the original recopies to taste the real zest of the place. Let’s take a sneak peek on few of Bhutan’s delicacies:

  1. Ema datshi:

Ema datshi is considered as Bhutan’s national dish and it is good enough to say that if you have not tried this dish then you have not visited Bhutan.  Infused with a blend of aromas consisting of cloves, garlic, chilies and tomatoes this dish is filling and delicious. Main ingredient is the datshi or feta cheese accompanied by a variety of vegetables. The cheese is made with local cow or yak’s milk and is extremely creamy in texture. But mind its hotness because this dish is laden with a variety of chilies and can be hard to handle for those who are intolerant to fiery food. The locals eat this stew with red rice and take it nearly every day.

  1. Paksha paa:

Yet another fiery food is the paksha paa which is a non-vegetarian dish cooked with pork shoulder strips and vegetables like Chinese white cabbage, onions, radish and red chilies. The dish is served with a sprinkle of red chili powder, slit green chilies and sun dried pork strips. The dish is best eaten with rice.

  1. Jasha maru:

Jasha maru is a dish prepared with minced chicken spiced with green chilies, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, onion and cloves. The dish is in curry form and is taken with rice.

  1. Hapai Hanteu or Bhutanese Momo:

Momos or dumplings are found in abundance and in every eating joint. This steamed pouch of goodness is stuffed with either minced lightly spiced meat or cabbage and is light on the tummy. Momos are best eaten with a meat or vegetable stock soup and a fiery red sauce which is made with tomatoes and red chilies.

  1. Kewa datshi:

Kewa datshi is the Bhutanese version of the westerner’s gratin. It is generally made with baked potatoes and local yak milk cheese cooked with onions, red chilies and garlic.

  1. Puta:

Puta is a dish comprising of cooked noodles and a curd sauce spread over the dish. The noodles are of buckwheat and is high nutritious. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions are made incorporating spring onions, wild pepper and a variety of meat.

  1. Zow Shungo:

Zow Shungo is a quick dish prepared with red rice and left over vegetables. As per the name ‘zow’ meaning splendid, the dish has oodles of the amaze factor due to its unique blend of flavors.

  1. Tshoem:

Prepared with beef and mushrooms, which are found in a huge variety, this dish is infused with a buttery-garlicky flavor and tasty chunks of meat. It is in rich curry form and is best eaten with rice or buckwheat pancakes.

  1. Red Pilaf:

The red pilaf is interestingly cooked with red rice, chopped onions and other vegetables stirred in butter. A zest of orange juice or kaffir lime is added for a tangy lingering flavor.

  1. Kampuri Biriyani and Fried Vegetables:

Kampuri Biriyani is an aromatic rice and chicken dish prepared with an amalgamation of Indian whole spices, cashew nuts and surprisingly eggplant. The chopped vegetables are sautéed and spiced and served with the rice.

Apart from these mouth watering dishes, the Pho Cha or the butter tea is a common drink to be tasted. The steaming cup of goodness is best enjoyed during the chilly evenings and high up on the rocks.