Try famous foods of Bhutan and learn more about their origins

Are you a foodie, and like to explore cuisines of different places? Well! You are most welcome in Bhutan. 

Come and try our unique and delicious cuisine, which we know will be a great experience for you.

Like any other country in the world, Bhutan has some fantastic food to share with the world. 

One must know that Bhutanese are fond of spicy food, and most of the famous foods of Bhutan are found spicy to foreigners.

Not only do they find the famous food of Bhutan spicy but much tastier than one would expect, and even tourists who are not fond of spicy food couldn’t stop themselves from eating more.

Take a look at Bhutan’s top 10 famous foods you can miss in 2022. Contact Norbu Bhutan to treat your palette to Bhutan’s most famous food

1. Ema Datshi

Ema datshi is spicy yet delicious, and it is also a famous food of Bhutan

Ema datshi is a famous food of Bhutan, and every Bhutanese household often cooks it.

On every occasion, you will see varieties of food on your table eaten with rice, and ema datshi will be there in your option too.

To cook ema datshi, the main ingredients required are chili and local cheese, because ema and datshi are the local names of chili and cheese.

 Other necessary ingredients are garlic, oil, onion, and tomato.

Most Bhutanese eat these dishes calmly like other dishes, but tourists need to run for water!

Recipe For Ema Datshi, The Most Famous Food Of Bhutan

It is not complicated to cook ema datshi, the famous food of Bhutan, as it requires limited ingredients.

  1. First, heat the pan and put butter or any other edible oil.
  2. After the butter melts, add sliced onion, tomatoes, and chili.
  3. Pour water into your pan depending on how much gravy you want, and close the lid. 
  4. After a few mins, when peppers become tender, add cheese
  5. Turn off the flame and spread the local cheese well.

Finally, mouthwatering ema datshi is ready to serve!

2. Shakam Datshi

You will love the very tasty shakam datshi, a famous beef dish, made in Bhutan.

Bhutanese people love cheesy food. You will find cheese in almost every dish we make and shakam Datshi is also no exception.

Shakam Datshi is also a famous food in Bhutan and is quite similar to ema datshi because both are cheesy, made with the same ingredient, and eaten with rice. 

However, the only difference is, in shakam datshi, there is dried beef locally known as shakam. 

It is this beef-cooking manner that distinguishes it from Ema Datshi. 

To make shakam, people here cut the beef into pieces of more than 10 inches and dry it for more than a month.

Recipe For Shakam Datshi

  1. To make this famous food of Bhutan, Rinse the chopped beef, transfer it into a pressure cooker, and add 200 ml water, oil, and salt. Cook it for 15 minutes.
  1. Add 100 ml water, dry red chilies, garlic, tomato, onion, and cheese. 
  2. Cover the lid and cook further for 5 minutes. 
  3. Lower the heat, and stir gently to blend the cheese well. 

Shakam datshi is served with red rice, another famous food of Bhutan. However, with changing times, people have started to eat this dish with white rice as well.

3. Kewa Datshi

Kewa datshi is one of the famous food of Bhutan, loved by all age groups

By now, you must know that cheese is inseparable from Bhutanese dishes.  

Nevertheless, there is one vegetable Bhutanese people love and cook most of the time, and that is potato, locally known as kewa.  

Ever since George Bogle, a Scottish adventurer and diplomat, gifted potatoes to Bhutanese people in 1775, it has been our main vegetable. 

Kewa datshi is a famous food of Bhutan, and the Bhutanese children mostly love it.

A true kewa datshi is spicy for foreigners, but the taste is also addictive. However, if you can’t eat spicy food, you can modify the dish by adding fewer chilis.

Recipe For Kewa Datshi

  1. Put two spoons full of oil in the pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add chili peppers and garlic and keep stirring until you see the chili turn golden. 
  3. Add onion, and stir it frequently till it turns transparent.
  4. Add chopped potatoes and mix them well with other ingredients in the pot.
  5. Pour a good amount of water into a pan covering your potato and add chili pepper powder and salt.
  6. Cook until potatoes are soft, and you can add extra water as required but maintain the gravy thick.
  7. Finally, add cheese. After it melts, distribute evenly.

Now your kewa datshi, a famous food of Bhutan, is perfectly ready for you to try.

4. Momo

Momo does not originate in Bhutan, but it is still a famous food of Bhutan

Momos are dumplings that are popular in many countries in southeastern Asia. They are traditionally steamed but can also be deep-fried or pan-fried. 

Momo is a famous food of Bhutan because you will find them on every restaurant’s menu. 

Steaming hot momos are served with a spicy sauce, locally known as ezay, and the sauce is made mainly with chili powder.

Sometimes, the family gets together and makes momo for the whole family.

Are you wondering what they stuff in momo that makes them taste savory?

The momo is stuffed with mixed veggies like cabbage, carrots, and onions. If you are non-veg, you can add beef, and it goes well with it.

Recipe for the momo

  1. Make a dough by mixing flour and salt. Cover it with plastic when you work on the filling.
  1. Chop cabbage, carrots, and onion, and mix them well in a big bowl.
  2. Add oil, salt, and cottage cheese.
  3. Take out the dough from the plastic and roll it into a thin circle.
  4. Fill them with one tablespoon of veggies from the bowl.
  5. Fold the edges with beautiful shapes and put them in a steaming dish for 10 to 15 mins.

When it is ready, eat the savory veggie filling, and you will fall in love with momo.

5. Hoentay

Hoentay is another famous food of Bhutan, originating from Haa Valley in Bhutan

Hoentay looks like a dumpling, but the ingredients used are different. 

They are made during the Lomba Celebration (the region’s New Year) by the Haa and Paro valleys residents in Bhutan. 

Hoentey is specially made just for this celebration where the families get together for the event and exchange Hoentey they made.

According to the Bhutanese Calendar, Lomba falls from the 29th of the tenth month until the 3rd of the eleventh month.

Buckwheat dumplings are only cooked once a year during the Lomba festival, and that is why you won’t find them in a lot of restaurants in Bhutan.

However, they will definitely serve you if you make a particular request.

Hoentey is made from sweet buckwheat or refined flour dumplings stuffed with a mixture of turnip leaves, amaranth seeds, cottage cheese, and butter seasoned with chili powder, onion, and ginger. 

They can either be steamed or fried like momo and served with chili sauce (ezay).

6. Lom, Dried Turnip Leaf

The dehydrated turnip leaves are a much loved and famous food of Bhutan

Bhutanese enjoy eating rice with dried vegetable curry. So, they often dehydrate and preserve vegetables that are not grown due to the harsh winter conditions in many areas of Bhutan.

Lom is dried turnip leaves, and they are among the few vegetables you can preserve and eat throughout the year. 

Lom is a famous food of Bhutan, and it complements well with beef and pork.

However, it can be cooked simply with just onion, tomato, and chili. Lom is better with no gravy!

This dried vegetable has a flavorful taste that no one can deny.

7. Goen Hogay

Goen hogay is a classic Bhutanese cucumber salad, and it is also a famous food of Bhutan.

Goen hogay tastes cold and spicy, and Bhutanese eat it as a side dish when eating rice.

The inclusion of fresh chilies, coriander (cilantro), spring onions (scallions), and Sichuan pepper distinguishes the Bhutanese dish from its European counterpart.

It is easy to make goen hogay as you don’t have to use flame.

  1. Peel off the cucumber and slice them. Put it in a large bowl.
  1. Scrape out the seeds and discard them. 
  2. Add chopped tomato, cilantro, onions, and chili pepper.
  3. Sprinkle chili flakes, salt, and a crumble of local cheese.

This famous food of Bhutan can be made at home. You can also find it in a restaurant under the salad menu.

You can eat it as a side dish to a regular meal or snack, but Bhutanese eat it as “Chang-pa,” side dishes when drinking ara(local wine) or other alcohol.

Alcohol tastes best with goen hogay!

8. Puta, Traditional Noodle

Puta, a homemade noodle made from buckwheat, is a famous food of Bhutanese cuisine

Are you a noodle lover? Noodles are pretty popular in every country in the world.

Puta is a type of buckwheat noodle that can be grown at high altitudes and is a famous food of Bhutan originating from the Bumthang region.

Puta contains fresh and healthy homemade buckwheat noodles, and it is a delicious rice alternative made by cooking wheat noodles with sauces, vegetables, and meat. 

Recipe Of Puta, Famous Food Of Bhutan

  1. First, make a dough by mixing buckwheat flour with cold water. 
  1. The dough is thoroughly mashed and then put into a noodle machine.
  2. Put the noodles in boiling water.
  3. After cooking the noodles thoroughly, put them in a large bowl.
  4. Heat the oil and fry spring onions and chilies in a separate pan. 
  5. When the hot sauce is ready, pour them all over the noodles and stir with a wooden prong to ensure the sauce is well mixed. 
  6. Finally, season the noodles with Sichuan pepper, salt, and other spices. 

You have two different options when eating Puta, you can either eat as a dry puta dish without any additional ingredients or as a wet dish with milk or buttermilk.

This famous food of Bhutan will taste great without a doubt!

9. Khur-le

Khur-le is a type of pancake usually eaten in the morning and is a famous food of Bhutan

Khur-le is a Bhutanese pancake prepared from buckwheat, wheat, or barley flour, famous as a morning dish.

Khur-le is served with main Bhutanese dishes such as ema datshi or shakam datshi, or just with ezay (chili sauce). 

They have a spongy feel but are yummy and more satisfying than a white wheat flour pancake. 

They are the kind of pancake you want to eat when it’s cold outside, and they are significantly simpler to cook.

Recipe On How To Cook Khu-le

  1. make the batter by mixing buckwheat flour and cold water. 
  1. You can also add eggs if you want. Make sure your batter is soft and smooth.
  2. Heat the griddle, pour a small cupful of batter in the center, and spread the batter.
  3. When the batter has dried up, flip khu-le and cook the other side.
  4. Store the cooked khu-le in an airtight container to keep them warm.

When you are ready to eat, your khu-le will be warm and yummy.

10. Phaksha Paa

Phaksha paa is a traditional way of cooking pork, and it is still a famous food of Bhutan

Phaksha paa is another applaud-worthy dish of Bhutan best made with dried pork. Bhutanese mostly cook this dish when they get together with families and friends.

Phaksha paa is also a famous food of Bhutan and is mainly cooked with radish and dried chili.

There are several ways of cooking this meal by adding different vegetables, including spinach, radish, or lom (dried turnip leaf).

For added flavor and texture, some Bhutanese cooks like to add aromatic buckwheat dumplings stuffed with greens or cheese to phaksha paa.

Recipe For The Phaksha Paa

  1. First, boil the pork in water and sprinkle a pinch of salt. 
  1. Use a pressure cooker for cooking your pork because it will reduce the time for cooking.
  2. Once dried pork is cooked, drain 95% of the water and transfer the pork to the pan. 
  3. Add any vegetables and red chilies. After you’ve blended everything, cover it with a lid and set it aside to soften the chiles.
  4. Add the ginger paste when the chillies have softened. 

Finally, the famous food of Bhutan, phaksha paa is ready.

Bhutan has varieties of famous foods which you shouldn’t miss out on, or else you will surely regret it. 

Almost every famous food of Bhutan is spicy and delicious that foreigners love to eat.

You must know that most foods mentioned above, like ema datshi, shakam datshi, phaksha paa, kewa datshi, goen hogay, and lom are eaten with rice.

Rice may not be an everyday meal for other countries, but for Bhutan, it is compulsory, and almost all Bhutanese eat rice three times a day.

Are you looking forward to visiting Bhutan to explore nature and food? Check out famous Bhutanese cuisine: A culinary guide with Norbu Bhutan decide when to visit.


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