10 Best Traditional Dishes of Bhutan

Before my trip to Bhutan, I had no idea about the varieties of traditional dishes of Bhutan. I was more focused on the natural and scenic beauty of the place. But when I was acquainted with the delectable food items, I was astounded at the diversified spread. The culinary skills of the Bhutanese locals are amazing and they serve the food to the guests with utmost care and generosity. Let us explore some of the delicious and mouth-watering traditional dishes of Bhutan.

Red Rice

Red rice is one of the most popular traditional dishes of Bhutan; being the staple food of the country. It is highly nutritious enriched with minerals, gluten and wheat-free. The rice is grown in the Eastern Himalayas within the Kingdom of Bhutan; especially in the Paro valley. You can cook it faster than the other varieties of rice. It acquires a reddish tinge once it is boiled.

Red rice - Wikipedia

Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi is one of the popular traditional dishes of Bhutan and the national dish of the country. It is a stew prepared from Yak cheese and chillies. If you have visited Bhutan or happen to read about the place, you will know the livelihood of the people is majorly dependant on the Yak. The main ingredients of the dish are Yak cheese, garlic, oil, onion, split chillies, and tomatoes. It is mainly consumed with red rice.

Datshi - Wikitia

Shakam Datshi

A preparation with beef and is one of the best lips-smacking traditional dishes of Bhutan. But alas I was not able to taste it, since I do not consume beef. The ground beef is dried and preserved especially before preparing the dish. Radish and dried chillies are mixed with beef for an incredible aroma. The dish is the staple food of Bhutan and is enriched with protein. I heard the beef is a bit stringy because of the process by which it is prepared. It is consumed mainly with red rice.

Dried beef with dried chillies (Shakam Shukam Datsi) – Dekilicious

Khewa Datshi

Khewa Datshi is another one of the popular traditional dishes of Bhutan. Just like Ema Datshi and Shakam Datshi, it is consumed with red rice mainly. It is a vegetarian dish. The ingredients used are chillies, thinly sliced potatoes, cheese and butter. Tomatoes may be added for enhancing the colour and flavour.

Kewa Datshi (Bhutanese Dish) Recipe | Allrecipes

Jasha Maru

Jasha Maru is one of the tastiest traditional dishes of Bhutan. I liked the dish specifically because of the diced chicken as its main ingredient. Besides I loved the chicken broth or stew that formed the gravy. The stew is spicy, prepared with chillies, onion, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves and ginger. The Bhutanese serve Jasha Maru with some red rice and chicken broth.

File:Cooking jasha maroo.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Buckwheat Pancake and Noodles

Speaking about breakfast, Buckwheat pancake and Noodles are the some of the best traditional dishes of Bhutan to name. The pancake is known as Khur-le in colloquial language. Wheat and barley flour is combined with buckwheat to prepare the pancake. The Buckwheat noodles or Puta as in Bhutanese language is also a healthy dish served for breakfast. You can either consume them boiled or stir fried. Normally different types of sauces and vegetables are added to enhance the taste.

Pancake - Wikipedia
4 Ways to Cook Buckwheat - wikiHow

Zow Shungo

Zow Shungo is one of the most favourite traditional dishes of Bhutan. The interesting part of the dish is that it is prepared from leftovers of red rice and vegetables. Bhutanese do not like wasting food hence they have invented this recipe to reduce wastage of food. It can be prepared quickly and is healthy and nutritious as well.

Ema datshi - Wikipedia

Suja – Butter Tea

I love tea and have consumed different varieties of tea during my visit to different countries and different states of India. Bhutan was also not an exception. Here they serve butter tea called Suja in the colloquial language. Believe me, when I took a sip of the tea for the first time, I was amazed at the flavour and aroma. Though I thought of satisfying myself with only one cup, in the end, could not resist having one more. Suja is served along with the meals. The butter is churned and prepared from the yak milk. It is then boiled with water and tea leaves.

Butter tea - Wikipedia

Jaju Soup

A popular and traditional soup of Bhutan. Jaju is served along with other traditional dishes during lunch or dinner. The ingredients used are green vegetables mostly turnips and spinach. The soup broth is prepared with milk and butter. If you love cheese you can add to enhance the taste.

Jaju | Bhutanese

Ara – Alcoholic Beverage

Ara is also known as Arag. It is a traditional alcoholic drink, prepared by fermenting rice, maize, wheat, barley or millet. The texture is creamy in nature and the colour is whitish or transparent in appearance. The locals sometimes heat the beverage with some eggs and butter. The aroma is strong even the taste.

Arak (drink) - Wikipedia



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16 thoughts on “10 Best Traditional Dishes of Bhutan

  • May 2, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Buckwheat pancakes are so delicious. My husband is a huge fan of every pancake known to the world.

  • May 2, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    I would love to visit Bhutan! These recipes have made me feel super super hungry. Great, inspiring blog.

  • May 2, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    These are all wonderful Bhutan dishes. This is actually the first time reading about the food in Bhutan and they sure look sumptuous. I especially like to try the buckwheat pancakes and their noodles!

  • May 3, 2021 at 2:42 am

    You are really tempting me to take a trip to Bhutan! I have always wanted to visit. My problem is convincing the family to visit a place such as this- they almost always go for warmth, sand, and beaches.

  • May 3, 2021 at 4:13 am

    Khewa datshi and soup look sooo yummmy. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • May 3, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Those dishes really look good. I can imagine how delicious they are just by reading your description of each dish! The butter tea is really interesting. Never had that before.

  • May 3, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    I have been thinking about pancakes for days. That buckwheat version looks good to me.

  • May 3, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Oh goodness these dishes looks really good and tasty. One of the dishes that I like with these lists is the red rice. It’s really delicious and I love it!

  • May 3, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Those buckwheat pancakes look delicious! They are so fluffy! I am not familiar with most of the other dishes but they do look good.

  • May 4, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    I am a noodle and soup girl! I would try those first!

  • May 5, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    All of these dishes look interesting. I think the pancakes look good to try!

  • May 5, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Ema Datshi looks so delicious! I have a classmate from Bhutan. Let me ask him about these food items.

  • May 6, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    So interesting…the dishes look tempting too

  • May 7, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    i think i will start with the soup. Dishes seem to be a healthy combination too

  • Pingback: 6 Most Popular Types of Biryani in India | Kuntala's Travel Blog

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