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Bhutanese Cuisine

If you are looking for authentic and unique cuisine, Bhutan offers you a variety of authentic Bhutanese dishes that are very distinctive in taste and appearance from the cuisine in the rest of the world. Unlike cuisine in the rest of the world, you will find chili in almost every Bhutanese recipe. You will hardly find sugar in any of the Bhutanese dishes. If you are a spicy lover, Bhutanese dishes are the right choice for you. Meanwhile, rice is the main cuisine or the main staple to be taken with any other dish.

Red Rice – Bhutanese Red Rice is not only known for its distinct nutty flavor, soft texture, and beautiful auburn color, but it also boasts numerous health benefits. This rice variety is rich in dietary fiber and essential macro-nutrients, making it a valuable choice for those seeking a healthy diet. Additionally, it has a low glycemic index, which is beneficial for maintaining heart health and supporting weight loss efforts. Furthermore, Bhutanese Red Rice is gluten-free and does not contain wheat, catering to individuals with specific dietary needs. Its versatility is another noteworthy feature, as it can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, including stir-fries, salads, pilafs, and even desserts like puddings.

 EmaDatse – is like the signature cuisine of Bhutan. One cannot leave without tasting EmaDatse. The local term “Ema” literally translates to chili, while “Datse” means cheese. So, the EmaDatse recipe mainly consists of a lot of chili and cheese, supplemented with sliced onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The spicy cuisine can be best enjoyed with rice and drinks like mild curd. It is also a good alternative for those who do not opt for meat.

KewaDatse – is another famous and mostly preferred dish in Bhutan. Prepared from potatoes and lots of cheese, either local or imported, it caters well to the taste of those who do not like much spice. You can also add some or a few chilies if you want your KewaDatse to uplift the taste with a little bit of spice.

Shakam – is another incredible dish that caters best to non-vegetarians. Here, the dried beef serves as the main ingredient, along with a few chilies, either green or red, according to your preferences. Sometimes, you can also add some other vegetables, like radish and beans, for a change. Well-preserved beef is commonly chewy but gives you a better and cleaner taste than fresh beef.

SikkamPaa – is one of the favorite and most stable dishes for non-vegetarian Bhutanese. Well-dried and preserved pork is the main ingredient of the dish. Similar to ShakamPaa, some chilies and sliced radish are commonly added ingredients for SikkamPaa. Warning! Despite being an exceptionally delicious cuisine, its oily nature and richness in fats can be harmful. Avoid excessive consumption if you are health-conscious.

Puta – is a Bhutanese noodle authentically prepared from buckwheat flour. Added with a bit of pepper powder, green garlic, and coriander, it gives you the unique and striking taste of Bhutanese noodle. Puta combines well with the local curd or milk. It is the original recipe of the people of Bumthang and Zhemgang. However, it is one of the main dishes in every household during Bhutanese occasions like Losar (the Lunar New Year).

Hoentay – Hoentay, which originated in Haa Valley, is a different kind of dumpling. While the outer cover is prepared from buckwheat flour, healthy turnip leaves mixed with cheese are used for the inner ingredient. The dumpling can be either steamed or fried, according to your preferences. For those who love spices, dipping your hoentay into eazay (chili sauce) would further enhance the taste. Hoentay is best made by the people of Haa and Paro.


JashaMaru – is a Bhutanese kind of chicken stew. The chicken pieces boiled well and cooked with other spices like chili, garlic, onion, and ginger give you a different chicken menu. Unlike other chicken recipes, it is best for those who try to avoid oily foods.

Hogay – is a kind of salad made from sliced cucumber. Unlike other salads, Bhutanese add some chili powder to make it a little spicy. The sliced cucumber is well mixed with other ingredients such as pieces of onions, pepper, tomatoes, and the local cheese. It can be taken as a side dish along with any other dish. However, it is commonly consumed with drinks by Bhutanese.