Bhutanese Cuisine

Bhutanese cuisine, originating from neighboring countries like Tibet, China, and Thailand, uses stir-frying, stewing, and steaming methods similar to Chinese. The country’s food is mainly fat-based, helping with its high altitude. People typically have three meals a day, consisting of local red rice and “Ema Dashi,” a vegetarian dish with cheese sauce and chili. Popular preparations include “Phak sha paa,” “Noo sha paa,” and “kewa dashi.” The Tourism Commission of Bhutan has issued a notification for restaurants and hotels to offer a la carte services, offering separate prices for each item on the menu instead of buffets. At hotels and restaurants, the full cutlery ensemble is provided, but in local cafes and restaurants, the right hand is used for meals.

Visiting others’ houses in Bhutan involves being offered drinks, mostly tea or local-made wines, such as rice wine. Bhutanese people typically consume dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter and prefer meats like beef, pork, and yak. Popular snacks include “Zow” boiled and fried rice, “Momo” made from raw meats or vegetables, “Barthup” fried noodles or noodle soup, and “shakam eezay” made from dried meats. They often offer refreshments such as “suja (originated from Tibet in the 7th century), tea with butter and salt, and “ngaja” (tea with milk and sugar). Locally made wines include “Chang” and “ara,” distilled from rice, maize, wheat, or barley. Betel nut “doma” is often offered at the end of food or anytime.