Explore The Food Lover’s Journey Through Bhutanese Cuisine and Culture

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Bhutan tour package from Kolkata

Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is not only known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage but also for its unique and flavorful cuisine. For those who love to explore new culinary horizons, Bhutanese food offers a delightful mix of bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and traditional cooking methods. For an immersive experience that combines the best of Bhutanese culture and cuisine, consider our Bhutan tour package from Kolkata. Here’s a guide to embarking on a food lover’s journey through Bhutanese cuisine.

1. Ema Datshi: The National Dish

Ema Datshi, often referred to as the national dish of Bhutan, is a spicy stew made with chili peppers and cheese. This dish is a staple in Bhutanese cuisine and can be found in almost every meal. The chilies can range from mild to extremely hot, and the cheese, usually made from yak or cow’s milk, adds a creamy texture that balances the heat.

Key Ingredients:

  • Chili peppers
  • Cheese (usually yak cheese)
  • Onions, garlic, and tomatoes

2. Phaksha Paa: Pork with Red Chilies

Phaksha Paa is a hearty dish featuring slices of pork cooked with red chilies, radishes, and sometimes spinach. This dish is often served with red rice and is known for its rich, savory flavor. The combination of tender pork and spicy chilies makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Key Ingredients:

  • Pork
  • Red chilies
  • Radishes or spinach

3. Jasha Maru: Spicy Chicken Stew

Jasha Maru is a spicy Bhutanese chicken stew that is both flavorful and nourishing. Made with diced chicken, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and a generous amount of chilies, this dish is typically served with red rice. The heat from the chilies is tempered by the freshness of the tomatoes and the aromatic spices.

Key Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Tomatoes
  • Ginger, garlic, and chilies

4. Hoentay: Buckwheat Dumplings

Hoentay are traditional Bhutanese dumplings that originate from the Haa Valley. These dumplings are made with buckwheat dough and stuffed with a mixture of spinach, turnip greens, and cheese. They are typically steamed or fried and are often enjoyed with a side of spicy chili sauce.

Key Ingredients:

  • Buckwheat flour
  • Spinach or turnip greens
  • Cheese

5. Goen Hogay: Cucumber Salad

Goen Hogay is a refreshing Bhutanese cucumber salad that provides a cool contrast to the spicy main dishes. The salad is made with thinly sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, all tossed in a tangy dressing made from chili flakes, lime juice, and Sichuan peppercorns.

Key Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers
  • Onions and tomatoes
  • Chili flakes and lime juice

6. Kewa Datshi: Potatoes and Cheese

Kewa Datshi is another popular dish that combines the simplicity of potatoes with the richness of cheese. This dish is similar to Ema Datshi but uses potatoes as the main ingredient. It is a comforting and creamy dish that is often enjoyed with rice or flatbread.

Key Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Onions and garlic

7. Suja: Bhutanese Butter Tea

Suja, or Bhutanese butter tea, is a traditional beverage that is especially popular in the colder regions of Bhutan. Made from tea leaves, yak butter, and salt, this tea has a unique flavor that is both savory and slightly creamy. It is often enjoyed during social gatherings and festivals.

Key Ingredients:

  • Tea leaves
  • Yak butter
  • Salt

8. Ara: Traditional Alcoholic Beverage

Ara is a traditional Bhutanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented grains such as rice, wheat, or corn. It can be served warm or cold and is often consumed during celebrations and festivals. The flavor of Ara can vary depending on the ingredients used and the fermentation process.

Key Ingredients:

  • Rice, wheat, or corn
  • Water
  • Yeast for fermentation

Experiencing Bhutanese Cuisine

To truly experience Bhutanese cuisine, it’s best to visit local eateries and restaurants where traditional dishes are prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Many tour packages, including our Bhutan tour package from Kolkata, include visits to traditional Bhutanese homes where you can enjoy home-cooked meals and learn about the culinary customs of Bhutan.


A journey through Bhutanese cuisine is a sensory adventure that offers a deeper understanding of the country’s culture and traditions. From the spicy heat of Ema Datshi to the comforting flavors of Kewa Datshi, Bhutanese food is a celebration of bold flavors and simple ingredients. For an unforgettable culinary experience, consider our Bhutan tour package from Kolkata, and immerse yourself in the rich and diverse flavors of Bhutan.

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