Bhutan Food ,Bhutanese cuisine
Other than being the country amidst mountains, shrouded in mystery, beauty, and adventure, bhutan has quite an interesting platter to offer in terms of its cuisine. Bhutanese cuisine is primarily rice-based and includes a lot of red rice (a type of brown rice but with a nutty taste, the only type which grows in high altitudes), buckwheat, and a high quantity of maize. The source of protein in their diet comprises chicken, yak meat, dried beef, pork, pork fat, and lamb. During the cold seasons, warm stews made of meat, rice, lentils, dried vegetables, garnished with spices, herbs, and cheese are a local favourite. Some of the most popular foods that one must not miss out on are:
EmaDatshi (or chillies and cheese) –Datshi in Dzongkha means cheese, a wide variety of which is used in several types of Bhutanese recipes. EmaDatshi is a sort of stew made of chillies and cheese which might prove to be quite spicy for some. Other variants of this dish are ShakamDatshi (dried Bhutanese beef and cheese) and KhewaDatshi (potatoes and cheese). ShamuDatshi comprises mushrooms and cheese. All the items are eaten with a generous amount of red or brown or white rice.
JashaMaroo or Maru (spicy chicken) – Served with a generous amount of chicken broth, it is made of diced chicken, chilli, tomato, pepper, coriander leaves, onion, garlic, and several spices. It is eaten with rice.
PhakshaPaa (pork with red chillies) – this dish highlights another favourite item of the Bhutanese that is pork. Mountain vegetables such as radishes and spinach maybe added to phakshapaa which is yet again, eaten with rice or datshi dishes.
Suja (bhutanese butter tea) – also known as Po Cha or GoorGoor, it is usually served after meals and is found to be quite comforting in the cold weather. Fermented yak butter made from fresh yak milk is then boiled along with tea leaves and water. It is a frothy drink that tastes more like butter than tea, and its salty taste might surprise some. Butter tea is also relished in Tibet and parts of Nepal.
Ara (traditional alcoholic beverage) –Ara, (also known as arag) is the traditional alcoholic beverage in Bhutan. It is made by fermenting rice, wheat, maize, millet, barley or buckwheat and is creamy, whitish or clear in appearance. It has a very strong smell and taste. Sometimes Ara is also heated with butter and eggs to make it into a more wholesome and a filling beverage. Other drinks like Banchang and Sinchang which are made by fermenting grains with homemade yeast are also quite famous. Sinchang is a cool drink while Banchang is a hot drink.
Although the hotels and restaurants serving Bhutanese cuisine have tempered the spices to appeal to foreign palates, travellers must venture beyond their comfort zones and take their taste buds on a truly unique journey.Traditional Bhutanese food has been influenced by its neighbours, especially China, Tibet, and India. But like the country itself, the local cuisine has been able to maintain its uniqueness. It’s less oily than Chinese or Indian food and spicier than the Tibetan dishes. Since it is a cold country and temperatures fall quite low, a capsaicin overdose is the go-to for the country’s dishes.