Must Try Food While in Bhutan for Travelers

Food in Bhutan

Posted on 15/01/2020


Our biggest strength as a company is our passionate team members. We strive to be an informative and reliable partner for our guests to offer them a hassle-free experience while planning their trip to Bhutan and ensure a memorable trip during their stay in Bhutan. Wondering how many foods are there in bhutan or want to taste some Food in Bhutan? You will be taken through some of the best and popular dishes of Bhutan or Food in Bhutan but, firstly let’s have a shore overview on Bhutan Soul Tours and Travel.

Why travel with Bhutan Soul Tour and Travel?

  1. Our team is led by an experienced leader with over three decades of experience organizing tours to Bhutan for international tourists.
  2. We ensure that our guests are guided by some of the most seasoned certified tour guides in the country to ensure, quality time during their stay in the country.
  3. Our guests are chauffeured in well-maintained cars with an experienced professional driver to ensure their safety.
  4. Our dedicated support staff strives to respond to all your queries and ensure that we deliver on the expectations of our guests.

Food in Bhutan

At the outset, preparing any Bhutanese dish can seem like adding all the ingredients in a pot and cooking it until it’s ready to serve. While that is true in certain cases because those dishes are celebrated in their simplicity most other dishes require a good amount of culinary skills gathered with experience. The locals believe that certain people are gifted with hands that are capable of squeezing out the flavor from any ingredients. In this article, we take a look at some of the classic Bhutanese dishes that are popular and taste great.

Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi translates to Chili with Cheese. It is the de facto, although unofficial, national dish of Bhutan. Very rarely will you find a local who does not enjoy eating an Ema Datshi dish. It is a fairly simple dish requiring few ingredients. According to the elders, the traditional classic Ema Datshi dish was prepared with fresh green chilies, locally churned butter and cheese, and garlic.

The chilies are cut open to ensure seasoning and chopped garlics are added and it is sprinkled with a generous amount of crumbled fresh cheese and a good dollop of butter and finally a good amount of water to cook and bring all the flavors together. However, over the years, every household has come up with its own version of cooking the dish and adding additional ingredients such as onion and spring onion, and the dish is either cooked with thick cheese gravy or with runny soup that has the essence of the cheese. The dish prepared with dried red chili is also very popular.

Sha Kam

Sha Kam is sun-dried meat and occasionally smoked for extra flavor. It is popularly sourced from cow and yak meat. The two popular ways of preparing dried meat are Sha kam Datshi, which is literally the non-vegetarian version of the Ema Datshi, and Sha Kam Paa. Preparing Sha Kam paa can take up to an hour. The meat is paired with other vegetables such as radish or cabbage and red chilies are a classic combination. The thorough cooking process ensures that the flavor of the meat is infused with vegetables and chili. Other spices such as garlic and ginger is necessary ingredient.

Si Kam

Si Kam is air air-dried pork belly. Like Sha Kam, the pork belly is also prepared with chili and cheese with gravy or as Si Kam Paa however along with the regular vegetables such as radish and red chili, dried turnip leaves are also added with the air-dried pork belly. During the 90s, every household in the villages would raise a pig to source meat for the annual religious ritual. Grand feast is an essential part of the celebration and air-dried pork belly and pork sausages are a popular choice. Just before slaughtering the pig, the household would get another piglet to ensure continuity.


Hoentey is a buckwheat dumpling indigenous to the Haa district in western Bhutan. Traditionally the dumplings are prepared to celebrate an annual local festival. The buckwheat dumplings are stuffed with dried turnip leaves, cheese spices, and a very generous amount of butter. The dumplings are then steamed to cook the stuffing and some prefer fried Hoentey.


Puta is a buckwheat noodle popular in the central region of Bumthang Valley. The noodle is cooked and then stir-fried with spices and eggs. The noodle has a similar texture to the Japanese soba noodle. While preparing the dish was quite simple, preparing the noodles was quite labor-intensive in the olden days. Some households still have their wood-based simple technology that could process the buckwheat dough into noodles.

Khoo lay

Khoo Lay is a buckwheat pancake. It is also a regional dish of Bumthang Valley. The hot pancake is served with butter on top and Ema Datshi. The high-energy and protein buckwheat pancakes helped people carry out intensive physical fieldwork.


Ezay is a popular condiment that goes well with almost every Bhutanese dish. The texture varies depending on one’s preferences; either it is served as a chili salad or a dipping sauce. Ema Datshi involves various ingredients like chili, onion, tomatoes, cheese, coriander, garlic, cucumber, and Sichuan pepper.

Come on, Bbook a flight to Bhutan, or contact Bhutan Soul Tours and Travel to have some taste of Food in Bhutan.

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2 thoughts on “Food in Bhutan

  • mp3 says:

    I got what you mean , thankyou for posting. Woh I am happy to find this website through google. Alyss Briggs Kathryn

    • smiledigitally says:

      Hey, Alyss
      Hope you found something meaningful in this piece of content moreover, hopping to see you traveling to Bhutan soon, Bhutan Soul Tours and Travel awaits for you… Contact us for more information

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