Do you know that Bhutan is not just for nature or peace lovers? Well, I didn’t. I thought that like any other Asian country, Bhutan will have similar flavours that of Nepal or Tibet. But I was wrong. My entire concept of Bhutanese cuisine changed when I reached the Land of Dragons on my birthday vacation.
Guess what? I wanted a quiet time out with only myself. So, I packed and went on a solo journey.
Many people think that Bhutan means Naga food or Chinese flavours. But my first day at a restaurant forced me to think that I am actually very lucky to have decided to come to Bhutan and taste such authentic and unique taste of the foods.
Bhutan has wide range of cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, and Continental too. So, a traveller can taste anything. But I would personally suggest going for local dishes. They are nothing that I have eaten before. Of course some dishes are crossovers from Tibet with new additions, yet the distinct flavours, ingredients are super delicious.
Now let me get into the Bhutan flavours straight away.
The most popular Bhutanese dish that is made up chillies and cheese. Yes, that’s right- chillies! Ok, do not feel alarmed that it is spice overloaded. It is nothing but super delicious and not a spicy dish. Eating in Bhutan and you cannot miss Ema Datshi. This dish is prepared either with green or red chillies sliced with local cheese and butter also. And the best part is this typical Bhutanese dish as many versions that change as per cooking style and varies from region to another. You can get less rich Ema Datshi as well as spicy ones.
You have already realized that this Datshi thing is common, right? It is the name of the local cheese that is widely used in various dishes. This Shamu Datshi is the dish prepared with mushrooms and cheese along with a saucy soup that comes with melted butter. In one word YUMMY. This dish is eaten with rice.
Momos Or Dimsums
From the street food corners to the big restaurants, momos or dimsums are famous and available. Who does not love momos, right? I am a big fan. You can have both veggie and non-veg versions of momos. But what set the Bhutanese momos apart is the chilli sauce called ‘ezay’. A piping hot plate of dimsums with ezay can uplift your mood anytime.
It is a traditional dish or a salad preparation made with cucumber, tomato, cilantro, onions, sichuan pepper and of course the datshi cheese. The whole salad is a very refreshing addition to your cuisine. Sometimes oil or dressing sauce is also added. If you think you are having too much spicy and rich Bhutan dishes, try Goen Hogay. The tangy, zesty flavours of the fresh veggies will give you a unique change of taste.
This traditional Bhutanese beverage is made up of fermenting rice or maize. It looks like a clear, creamy liquid. If you plan to indulge in a local alcoholic drink, then must try ‘ara’.
Chhurpi cheese or Durkha
This is the local made cheese from yak’s milk and has a number of varieties from hard, bland to white, sweet. This is a famous cheese in the Himalayan region and is found in many places in Bhutan. They are mostly hard and brown in colour. But once you get the taste of it you will crave for more.
Our taste buds need some break from the usual foods we eat. And Bhutan gave me the perfect taste that left me craving for more. If you plan to visit Bhutan, do try these wonderful dishes and let m know how you enjoyed. For Bhutan trip, consult with Crazy Wanderer.
Special Thanks To: Chef Sunil Jaj & Binay Singh
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