Eating in Bhutan

Bhutan is inhabited by different ethnic peoples who still continue to live in isolation, due to the impressive mountains that are part of its landscape. Until the 17th century, the traditional name of the country was Druk Yul, Land of the Drokpa (of the dragon). The fourth hereditary ruler, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, unified the warring regions of Bhutan in 1907. In 1998, the monarchy was voluntarily removed and a constitution was drafted to become a two-party democracy .

Each region of Bhutan has its own flavor. A vegetarian dish called ‘Ema Datshi’, made of cheese and chili is a delicacy. Capsicum annuum is the main ingredient in every meal. Rice is the staple food of the population and is consumed in various forms, from breakfast to dinner. Rice is available in two varieties, white and red.

In the east, the staple diet is ‘whore’ or wheat noodles . Yak meat is a staple for non-vegetarians. Every part of the Yak is consumed. The cheese is made from Yak’s milk and the skin is deep fried and served as an appetizer. Despite being a Tibetan specialty, Momos are a permanent feature in the kitchen. The barter system is still prevalent among Yak herders and rice farmers.

In some parts of eastern Bhutan, slaughter of animals is sacrilege, but if the animal fell off a cliff, it can be consumed. Bhutanese enjoy most of their meals with butter tea or locally made wine .