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8 Delicious foods to eat when you visit Bhutan

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Bhutan is a nation of many colors and flavors! Not only does it offer bewitching places to explore but also offers delicious culinary delights that reflect its culture, tradition, and endearing customs. Bhutan offers numerous dishes that are a blend of unique, lip-smacking flavors. Many of the spicy and tangy flavors take your taste buds on a truly unforgettable journey.

Traditional Bhutanese dishes are inspired by its neighboring countries – China, Tibet, and India. They add a little twist to it to create a unique local cuisine. However, it is way less oily than Chinese or Indian food and spicier than Tibetan dishes.

So, if you are planning to visit Bhutan this winter, avoid eating only at hotels and restaurants; instead, hit the street and don’t miss out on the following famous Bhutanese dishes.

Ema Datshi

In Bhutanese, “Ema” means “chilies,” and Datshi means “cheese.” Together, Ema Datshi is like a stew made from chilies and cheese that tastes a bit spicy and creamy. Being a national dish of Bhutan, it is undoubtedly the most popular and widely eaten dish in the country.

To make this delicious soupy dish, they slice some chilies vertically and remove the seeds—mix cheese, garlic, water, onion, tomato, and some oil in it. The cheese in Ema Datshi is homemade from the curd made with cow or yak’s milk. The remaining water from the cheese is then used as a stock for this dish.

Kewa Datshi

Kewa means “potato,” and Datshi means “cheese”. Kewa Datshi is a delicious thick gravy-like Bhutanese dish made with potatoes, chilies, and cheese. In this dish, thin slices of potatoes are sautéed with some yak milk’s cheese and lots of butter. Sometimes they add tomatoes and onions to give this mouth-watery dish a tangy-sweet punch!

Red Rice

For Bhutanese people, red rice is a staple ingredient, just like bread for Americans. The rice paddy fields in Bhutan’s Paro valley are cultivated and irrigated with mineral-rich glacier water, making their red rice rich in manganese and phosphorus.

The red color of the uncooked rice is due to its cancer-fighting antioxidants and flavonoid, anthocyanin. After cooking, the color fades to pinkish-red, and the texture becomes gooey and sticky.

Jasha Maroo or Maru

Another dish worth trying in Bhutan is Jasha Maroo. It is a non-vegetarian dish made with a mix of chilies, onion, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves, ginger, and finely diced chicken. Sometimes you can find beef in it as well. Often considered a stew, there’s actually a hearty amount of chicken and veggies in it. Like most other Bhutanese dishes, Jasha Maroo is served with red rice.


Suja is a Bhutanese Butter Tea that is frequently consumed among the natives. Also known as Suja or Po Cha or Goor Goors, this tea is usually served after meals and is quite comforting in the cold weather. It is made up of fermented yak butter, which is boiled with tea leaves and water. The hot bubbly texture of every sip of this yummilicious tea tastes more like butter than tea, and its salty taste might surprise some of you!

Zow Shungo

A delicious vegetarian dish loaded with vitamins and minerals, Zow Shungo is made from leftover vegetables and red rice and can be prepared very quickly and easily. It is one of Bhutan’s most popular dishes as it is a healthy alternative for kids and saves a lot of food from getting wasted.


Popularly known as Buckwheat Noodles, Puta is a traditional Bhutanese noodle made up of buckwheat. It is a healthy alternative to the regular noodles and is generally served boiled but can also be stir-fried in oil.  The noodles are often spiced up by adding a variety of sauces and sautéed vegetables. Serving as a healthy alternative to rice, buckwheat noodles are one of Bhutan’s staple foods.


How can we forget Momos? It’s a universal favorite, isn’t it? Momos or dim sums are one of the most famous and beloved dishes, that originated in Himalayan Regions like Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. They come in the form of dumplings or steamed buns typically stuffed with minced beef, pork, cabbage, or other vegetables and fresh cheese.


All these delectable dishes must have got you drooling! Wait not, it’s time to prepare a checklist and book your tickets to Bhutan! Connect with our partners at HI Tours to have a splendid holiday plan.

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