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Bhutanese Gastronomy: Most important dishes

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Bhutan being located in the southern foothills of Himalayan mountains range and sandwiched between china and India. The food culture and eating habits of Bhutanese have been deeply influenced and affected by our neighbouring country. However, the Bhutanese cuisine made its own features through its tastes, texture, locally made/grown ingredients.

Most of Bhutanese love spicy foods and for most of the food, we will get to taste the texture of chilies. However, chilies are not the only one that makes our Bhutanese cuisine special. There are lots of essential foods we ate and drinks. The different type of cereals, vegetables, meats, dairy products make our Bhutanese dishes tasty. These ingredients were grown based on the climate and vegetation of our country.

Bhutan
Drakey pangtsho lake

There are many important dishes in Bhutan. Amongst all Red Rice, white glutinous rice, Kharang (made from corn/maize), red chilies (urka),green chilies, Phaksha Paa or Sikkam (air dried pork). Shakam (dried beef), Ema Datsi (cheese chilies), Kewa datsi (potatoes Cheese), Mushroom datsi (mushroom cheese), fried cheese (Cheese fried in butter), Suja (tea made of butter) and wine made of barley are the most popular dishes enjoyed by Bhutanese. Usually we eat rice as our main meal along with the curry made up of any vegetables/meats and ezay (chilies or chilli powder well mixed with garlic/onion, pepper and salt) as a side dish.

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So every traveller who wishes to visit our country should definitely taste those dishes. These dishes are available in every restaurant, Resorts and in majority homes of our country. Most of the Bhutanese dishes are made simple and easy to cook, which involved local ingredients.

In terms of beverages, the people living in villages and especially in an eastern part of country, Ara (locally brewed wine from maize, millet, wheat and rice) are consumed and it was widely used during religious occasions. Besides these, Zumzin (Peach wine), Takin Red wine, K5 blended Scotch whisky and so on, which was manufactured in our country.

Ara is the most common alcoholic drinks as it plays an important role in social and religious culture of Bhutan. The practice of making the distilled Ara is commonly undertaken by women of the household mostly in eastern part of Bhutan. A vital ingredient is the yeast which is produced by mixing the powder of a plant and corn flour.

Ema dathsi

Making Ara

In the first place put the lum fermented cereal mixing with water in the long vessel. Then place it on the stove. Place the small pot inside the large pot to collect the Ara drops. Place a bowl shaped vessel on top of the vessel and seal the joint with a long strip of cloth. Fill the bowl with the cold water. When the water is hot, remove it and pour cold water into it.

Besides that, tourist who visit our country were offered interesting culinary experiences and made best efforts to explore Bhutanese food chain as well. Therefore, to know the difference of taste of Bhutanese food culture from India, Nepal, China and Tibet, visit Bhutan and getting it taste by yourself is highly welcomed.

Preparation of Ara - Bhutanese gastronomy
Preparation of Ara

In short, if you want to know more about Bhutan look at Lho Asia Discovery. 

However, if you want to know more about other countries look at our Blog.

Author: Sonam Cheki (Lho Asia Discovery)

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