Bhutan is one of the most pristine and stunning countries in the world. There’s no question that this nation of rich culture and customs will captivate visitors with its enchanting natural marvels and sacred traditions. However, not many individuals are aware of the alluring flavors that this destination offers. Whether it’s the main course or side dishes, Bhutanese cuisine will take your taste buds on a thrilling ride of flavors.
10 Bhutanese Dishes That Are A Must-Try
Considered among the most native culinary styles globally, Bhutanese cuisine is one that you should definitely experience while in Bhutan.
1. Ema Datshi
Ema Datshi is a traditional Bhutanese stew made using the readily available Yak Cheese and plenty of chilies. Bhutanese individuals have a fondness for chilies and cheese, which is why almost every dish you encounter in Bhutan may turn out to be cheesy and spicy. Also referred to as the national dish of Bhutan, Ema Datshi consists of Yak cheese, Garlic, oil, split chilies, onion, and tomatoes. This dish is usually enjoyed with red rice.
Where To Eat: The Place in Chang Lam, Thimphu
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2. Shakam Paa
Shakam Paa is a magical Bhutanese dish prepared using ground beef, dried chilies, and radish. The beef in this dish has a slightly chewy texture since it is first dried and preserved before being utilized. Shakam Paa is an excellent protein source and is a staple in the Bhutanese diet. The technique of drying and preserving beef is also a customary aspect of Bhutanese cooking.
Where To Dine: Dorji Troy Restaurant in Zangdopelri Complex, Thimphu
3. Jasha Maru
Another one of the famous Bhutanese dishes is the Jasha Maru. Prepared using chicken, garlic, onion, ginger, tomato, and onions, this dish is ready to tantalize your taste buds. Regarded as one of the spiciest dishes in Bhutanese cuisine, caution is recommended before indulging in this offering. It is ideally complemented with red rice, like any other authentic Bhutanese delicacy.
Where To Dine: San Maru Restaurant in Norzin Lam, Thimphu
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4. Phaksha Paa
Phaksha Paa can be a gravy or a stew. Prepared with pork, Phaksha Paa encompasses an intricate blend of spices and chilies, along with some mountain vegetables, all cooked in oil or butter. The pork is first stir-fried and then incorporated into the dish. This is a staple Bhutanese dish that is also served with rice.
Where To Dine: Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant in Pedzo Lam, Thimphu
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5. Zow Shungo
Bhutanese never waste things that can be utilized in one way or another, this meal is a perfect illustration of that Bhutanese culture. Zow Shungo, another one of the sought-after dishes of Bhutan is created from remnants of vegetables and red rice. This dish, a beloved choice among the people of Bhutan, can be effortlessly prepared and it also aids in reducing food wastage.
Where To Dine: Baan Thai located in Norzin Lam, Thimphu
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6. Shakam Datshi
This is another version of Ema Datshi that is also prevalent among the locals of Bhutan. Created using dehydrated Bhutanese beef, the cooking procedure for beef is slightly distinct while everything else remains similar to Ema Datshi. It is this method of beef preparation that sets it apart from Ema Datshi. Just like in the case of Ema Datshi, Shakam Datshi pairs best with red rice.
Where To Dine: Karma Restaurant in Phendey Lam, Thimphu
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One of the most commonly consumed Asian dishes, Dumplings are also a vital element of Bhutanese fare. Bhutan offers some of the finest dumplings worldwide; furthermore, it is recommended to relish the dumplings of Bhutan. Bhutan serves a wide variety of dumplings, which can be filled with beef, pork, cheese, or even chilies.
Where To Dine: Zombala 2, Phendey Lam, Thimphu
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Another staple in Bhutanese cuisine, Puta is a complete meal in itself. The noodles in Puta are wholesome and are made using buckwheat. Serving as a fine alternative to rice dishes, Puta consists of these wheat noodles cooked with sauces, vegetables, and meat. While the noodles are usually boiled, they are presented stir-fried in oil.
Where To Dine: Sonam Trophel, Paro, Bhutan
9. Goen Hogey
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While most traditional Bhutanese dishes are rich in meat, this one stands as an exception amongst them. Goen Hogey is, indeed, one of the lightest Bhutanese dishes available. Created using sliced cucumbers, chili flakes, onions, datshi cheese, and cilantro, this dish is essentially a cucumber salad. It provides a refreshing experience and is commonly enjoyed with Sichuan pepper zheng.
Where To Dine: Chig Ja Gye, the eatery of Taj Hotel in Thimphu, Bhutan
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In Bhutan, Yak is the primary origin of milk, wool, and dairy commodities, which is why their drinks are also created from Yak Milk. Tea is imbibed globally and particularly in Asia, nevertheless, in Bhutan, the tea differs from that which is consumed in other nations. The tea consumed in Bhutan is made from fermented Yak butter and Yak milk, which is also exceedingly helpful in combating the intense cold, as in the case of Bhutan. This is one of the most favored beverages consumed throughout Bhutan.
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Bhutan is an extraordinarily distinct country, not only are the culture, tradition, values, and people of Bhutan distinct from other countries, but the cuisine of Bhutan is quite dissimilar as well. So make certain you savor all these dishes to the fullest on your upcoming journey to Bhutan!
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