Bhutanese Gastronomy & Culinary Experience
Bhutan is one country that detests McDonaldization. For centuries, the kingdom remained isolated from the world and hence Bhutan escaped the chain of the fast-food revolution.
Bhutan is one country that detests McDonaldization. For centuries, the kingdom remained isolated from the world and hence Bhutan escaped the chain of the fast-food revolution. Believe it or not, there is no Macdonald, KFC, Subway, Starbucks and other food franchised restaurants and cafes in Bhutan. Tourist travelling to Bhutan go in awe when they find no eateries like the ones in the rest of the world.
However, Bhutan offers rich, diverse and very interesting culinary experience. There is different cuisine from different local places. Most meals are basic, simple, endemic to the regions, easy to cook and involved mostly local ingredients. What the Bhutanese are essentially in love with is spice which comes across so boldly in a variety of their dishes. Vegetarian tourists could breathe a sigh of relief about their food options. What is interesting to note is that despite the existence of many popular meat-based dishes, a significant number of Bhutanese people are vegetarians.
Recently, to celebrate the 112th National Day, the group of millennial from Trongsa Poenlop Thundrel Club came up with the Traditional Food Village whereby they presented 20 different dishes from 20 dzongkhags of Bhutan. For many Bhutanese people, it was an eye-opener seeing varieties of food at one roof from all over Bhutan. Ideally Bhutanese consider ema-dashi and rice and the staple meal but in fact, the varies of dishes presented originated from various grains grown in Bhutan.
If you are one foodie person who loves to binge pizza, you must try Bhutanese Pizza locally known as Maeng-gay from Wangdue Phodrang. Instead of typical dumpings, the people from Haa is well known for ‘Honetey’ aromatic buckwheat dumplings stuffed with turnip greens, cheese, spinach and other ingredients. In the southern region of Bhutan, Lhotsampas mark their auspicious day by serving ‘shell roti’. A traditional homemade, sweet, ring-shaped rice bread/doughnut from rice four originating from the Indian subcontinent is another local favourite. Bhutan is seeing the modern culinary scene, fusion and intrusion of the foreign cuisine have made its presence now.
In terms of beverages, people living in rural villages brews some of the best alcoholic beverages from rice, maize, millet and wheat. In Bhutan not only people consume alcohol but in eastern Bhutan, it is the main item used during liberation (serkem) and other religious occasions. There is also Bhutanese manufactured wine such as Zumzin, Raven and other, due to its popularity, the made in Bhutan winery’s and alcoholic beverages are sold online such as at Natural Bhutan.
The famous chef late Anthony Bourdain travelled to Bhutan to cover Bhutanese food story for his show ‘Parts Unknown’. Many food lovers have come to know about Bhutan and Bhutanese culinary & gastronomy experience through his show. Thus, tourists are also equally paying attention to explore the Bhutanese food chain when they are in Bhutan.
DrukAsia, one of the biggest tour company in Bhutan offers Culinary Tour Packages. For more details, Contact them.
Writer: Tshering Denkar